“So how are your book sales going?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot these days. I guess it kind of replaces, “So how ya doin’?”

And even though I can’t answer the question about book sales because I don’t really know (see below), I don’t mind the question. At least it tells me people remember I wrote a book.

Here’s the reason I don’t know how sales are doing: I get a statement from my publisher, Belle Bridge Books–my only true source of sales numbers–just twice a year. And I won’t see the first statement until later this summer.

Most of the sales of EYEWALL will be eBooks. With Amazon dominating the market there, I can check to see how the novel is doing relative to other titles, all three-quarters-of-a-million of them that Amazon peddles.

In relative terms, EYEWALL has stayed pretty much in the top 10 percent of all Amazon eBooks sold. But I have no earthly idea what that means in terms of number of copies sold. Is it two a day, or twenty? I don’t have a clue.

Again, it’s a relative number. That means it can fluctuate based on what titles around my novel are doing, not necessarily how well (or poorly) EYEWALL is selling. For instance, EYEWALL can get bumped up in its relative ranking if books positioned above it drop off in sales, or it can pushed down the list if the sales of titles below it increase.

I can check on this relative positioning hourly if I wish. I don’t, but I do peek in every two or three days.

Another tally available to me is a weekly total for the number of print editions sold. But it’s just an estimate. It’s based on figures from BookScan, a Nielsen company that tracks the sales of print books across the U.S. BookScan covers about 10,000 retailers. But it doesn’t monitor all of them, especially small, independent book shops and new establishments.

For instance, I know that a lot of copies of EYEWALL have been sold by Peerless Book Store in Alpharetta, Georgia, where my launch party was held. But Peerless is not in the BookScan database.

And, as I said earlier, since most of EYEWALL’s sales will be in eBook format, I’m not that concerned with the number of print books sold.

Another question that comes my way frequently is, “Will I see EYEWALL on the shelves of my local bookstore?” The answer is, “No… except at Peerless.” EYEWALL is a print-on-demand book. That means when you order it–and you can order it through any bookstore–a copy is printed and shipped. Well, I’m sure BelleBooks, of which Belle Bridge Books is an imprint, has copies stashed away someplace, but not a lot. By not having to warehouse hundreds or thousands of copies, costs are held down. That’s why eBooks are cool. They don’t take up space and don’t require a physical distribution mechanism.

BelleBooks, even though it’s home to over 100 authors, is a small publisher. It can’t compete with the big Northeast houses like Simon & Schuster or Random House (and all their imprints) for shelf space and promotion in bookstores.

Anyhow, I’ll remain blissfully ignorant of EYEWALL’s sales numbers and just tell you when asked how it’s doing, “Okay, I guess.” It’s garnered a lot of great reviews on Amazon, so I’d like to believe that translates into respectable sales.

Thanks for asking.

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