Two Months of Total Immersion
I launched my two latest books, ‘Total Immersion: Ten Years in France’ and ‘Haircuts, Hens and Homicide’ on 17th February, the day that would have been Dad’s 99th birthday if he’d still been with us. It seemed an auspicious day. And it was. I had hoped to sell a few copies each week, and I’ve far exceeded that I’m delighted to say. In the first two months I’ve sold 214 copies of Total Immersion and 22 of Haircuts, Hens and Homicide. That’s not bad going at all for either of them, and whilst it might not seem like much for HHH, that book is a cozy mystery and so there’s an incredible amount of competition. I’m hoping sales will improve as people who enjoy my non-fiction give my fiction a go. Talking of which, I’ve even sold a couple of my Chistmassy romcom ‘Fa-La-Llama-La’ since TI came out! TI has been as high as no. 4 in the essays and travelogues category on Amazon.fr. It’s been more or less in the two 20 ever since, which is really rewarding. Here’s when it was at no. 11 in that category, flanked by Peter Mayle and Bill Bryson. What prestigious company!
The big surprise has been the boost that TI has given to its prequel, ‘Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France’. I published this in 2012, did no promotion whatsoever for it apart from one short blog tour, and pretty much left it to its own devices. It sold about ten copies a month on average. But suddenly its doing really well. On 1st April it was at no. 1 in all three of its categories on Amazon.fr! It’s been bobbing around in the top 3 of the humour category and the top 20 of the other two so since then.
So, I think that’s pretty good proof of the theory that one way to get book sales is to keep writing books. Readers who like one will try another one. I’ve been doing some Tweeting about my books, not a lot though, but I imagine I’ll have to knuckle down and do a bit more promotion as the months go by to keep the momentum up. I’m rather getting used to being a bestseller! Now, I do have a bit of a niggle. In one category on Amazon.co.uk on the Kindle store, namely ‘Non-fiction, Travel, Continental Europe, France’, there’s a bit of cheekiness going on. A lot of fiction is finding its way into that list. Today, for example, in the top 20 books there are 10 that are novels. Novels set in France, yes, but still novels. Next come another 4 novels at nos. 21-24 and then, at no. 25, my ‘Heads Above Water’. By my reckoning therefore I should be at no. 11. Humph. I’m still an official bestseller, that’s true, but pushed off the all-important front page on that category. There will also be many genuine non-fiction books that are being kept out of the top 100, and thus from officially being able to label themselves bestsellers. It seems a bit much that certain mainstream publishers, i.e. large companies with marketing departments and budgets etc, are muscling into non-fiction territory with books that are fiction, presumably in order to claim bestseller status for them in a less-competitive category. One of the publishers is one of Amazon’s own imprints. You think they’d play by Amazon’s rules, wouldn’t you. There is simply no way a novel can also be non-fiction. Fiction and non-fiction are the two main, definitive categories of writing and always have been. You’d be pretty hard pushed to accidentally muddle the two up. But let’s not dwell on that. I shall continue to enjoy my success with my books for as long as I can make it last.