When my first book came out a few years ago, I was taken aback by the pre-orders. I sold over 100 copies of MOLLY FYDE AND THE PARSONA RESCUE before it was even a physical book. This was partly because of the free samples of the first chapters I had slathered everywhere and partly because I spammed every friend and relative I knew (and some that I didn’t). The result was a huge outpouring of generosity and curiosity. Even those who didn’t read YA or Sci-Fi, much less a combination of the two, were getting a copy to support a struggling artist.
That book did fairly well for a first release from a small press. It also ended on a killer cliffhanger, so I assumed everyone who bought the first book would want the sequel. I ordered boxes of MOLLY FYDE AND THE LAND OF LIGHT appropriate to this irrational exuberance. I had a handful of signings lined up in my hometown, signings at venues that brought a crush of people the first time around. The first hint that my writing was crap came when I saw the much sparser crowds who turned up for the sequel. It dawned on me (eventually) that a lot of those first sales were sympathy buys. The book had probably never been read by some of those supporters. The first chapters had turned off many of the rest. And I sat there with unopened boxes of THE LAND OF LIGHT and chatted with the few people who did read the first book and loved it.
Three years later, I still have over a dozen of those books. I’ve had to order copies of everything else, as that experience made me wary of expecting any sort of continued success. So while I run out of BLOOD OF BILLIONS and FIGHT FOR PEACE and have to wait for more to come in before I can fulfill orders, I just reach for the next copy on the LAND OF LIGHT pile, thankful for every one that I sell.
But I noticed something this week, as I fought to catch up with orders for signed copies. I only have a dozen or so of the second book left! The success of WOOL has translated to more and more people checking out the Molly series, which has brought a trickle of signed copy orders, which has meant me going to the printer for more of books 1, 3, and 4 . . . and my large stack of irrational exuberance dwindling.
All this comes as Jasper Schreurs puts the finishing touches on the new cover for the second book, and I realize how sublime the timing. As I run out of one, I’ll be ordering new editions of another. And watch: I’ll assume nobody wants any. And because of a mistake made years ago, which is only now ironing itself out, I’ll keep under-ordering copies of the books with the new art, never able to capture again that hopeful naiveté that followed the frenzied (and sympathetic) rush for THE PARSONA RESCUE…