Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Level of Expectation

Beginning authors frequently believe they will sell many books. That is rare. Despite intense marketing efforts, sales numbers for initial novels are generally not exceptional. I only say that to tamp down the level of expectation. I am on novel #10 now, and none have broken any records for wonderful sales. In fact, I figure I write novels for about one cent per hour. This is not a business in which most of us can make a living. So, for most of us, writing is done for our own pleasure, not to enrich ourselves or our publishers. Publishers take a risk on every author they accept. They invest time in editing and cover art. Nothing is free, and nothing is risk free. Therefore, when a publisher accepts a new author, it is a statement of faith that they believe the author has the potential to sell at least as many books as it takes to pay the editor and cover artist. That is encouraging. There is also the possibility that, someday, a book will make a splash on the book market…but the odds are not good.

All that said, I will say that my latest book could be one that will make a splash. It is the only book I have written that had nearly 100 orders before the book was printed. I have the physical books now, and am in the process of collecting for each sale and book distribution. This is new for me, and I hope I don’t botch up anything. I am also inserting a letter in each book asking the recipient, if he or she enjoyed the book, to please review it on Amazon.

The reviews I have so far are outstanding. Only one has been posted on Amazon so far, but several people have contacted me with flattering words. I hope there are many readers over time. Even though new authors, like myself, write for pleasure, it would be great to be recognized for the work it takes to put something in print as well.

Here’s the back cover blurb for the new book. Try it. You’ll love it (it’s on Amazon under my name, James L. Hatch).

"Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives" chronicles the struggles of Harold Whittington and his brother, Otto, from birth through the Great Depression and on to WW II. Otto joined the Army and subsequently endured the surrender of Bataan and the Bataan Death March. During Otto’s 3.5 years as a Japanese POW, he was a slave conscript for building roads in the Philippines. Few POWs survived that duty. Later, after a harrowing trip from the Philippines to Japan on a “Death Ship,” Otto was a slave in the Japanese steel mills. Somehow Otto survived two near beheadings, beriberi, malnutrition, malaria, and torture—and twice the steel mills where he labored were targeted for nuclear destruction. Otto could hear the B-29 circling overhead; only the weather spared him. While Otto struggled through severe torture and sickness, Harold joined the Navy and searched for Otto throughout the Pacific theater whenever his supply ship put into port. After the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Otto escaped the POW camp and made his way to a small POW collection point outside Manila. His exit from Japan was also remarkable because the aircraft just ahead of his exploded about 100 feet off the end of the runway. Harold subsequently located his brother in Manila, although, after years of torture, Otto did not recognize him. Harold and Otto returned to the USA after the war. Otto became an attorney and Harold became a professor of sociology at Temple Junior College. The incredible lives of these men, fraught with daunting labor, terror, and pain, serves as a poignant example of why they, and others like them, are called “The Greatest Generation.”

James L. Hatch    

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

You're so right about newbies expecting to make a fortune on any book, much less the first. Writing is the only career I can think of where non-authors believe that there is no learning or apprenticeship period. No one expects a pianist to play Carnegie Hall the first time out or a dancer to be chosen for an esteemed ballet company during their first year learning their craft. But for an author? Many believe that if they read books they can write them and succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Congrats on the good news on your latest book, James. May you burn up the net with your sales. :)