Today I received my royalty check from the University Press of Kentucky for this past year’s sales of Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder. The book has been on sale since June 2012 and continues to generate revenue. In 2014 the book sold 209 copies. It is only available in hardcover and lists for $35.00. It’s not cheap and the subject matter is fairly specialized. Overall, I am pleased with this year’s sales and the continued interest in it, but it is worth making a few observations given that I am fairly close to finishing the next project.
Most importantly, I regret not working closely enough with the publisher to create a marketing plan tailored to my social media presence. Complimentary copies were mailed to the usual suspects for review and ads were taken out in the popular academic journals, but very little of this focus reflected my particular audience. This was a missed opportunity. Second, the book should have been brought out in paperback at some point before the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. My contract included a provision for a paperback version. I understand that small academic publishers operate around a number of restrictions, but this book had the potential to sell many more copies overall. In fact, I have no doubt that if it were brought out today in paperback it would do quite well.
I also want to work with a publisher over a longer period of time. Sure, there is the excitement of the initial media blitz, but I am interested in ways to maintain interest over time. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reminded of the connection between an attractive and professional website design and book sales. The book has sold a number of copies since the new design went live.
I am confident that this next book project is going to have wide appeal. At this point I am just beginning to think about a potential publisher. While I value the reputation of the university presses my primary audience has never been the academic community. I want the next book to enjoy much more visibility and I want to work with someone that is willing to think creatively about the best ways to publish and market the final product.
For now I am going to enjoy spending my royalty check. As always, thanks to all of you for purchasing a copy.