I admit it: I thought ebooks were a fad. In 2010 I had been beating my head against the wall for three or four years after my last book deal with a New York publisher. I couldn’t sell a book to save my life.
So my husband and I began putting up all the books we’d gotten the rights back to. I thought it wouldn’t work out. But I liked designing the covers with him.
And it didn’t work out. At least not at first. My best bud and fellow New York Times Bestselling author, Carol Davis Luce, was also putting up a book. We launched our first books on Amazon in the fall. And I promptly sold about one book a month for three or four months. One. Not a very good business model, right? Eventually, Carol and I started selling about seven books apiece. It was an arms race, sort of.
With very few arms.
Everything changed the following February. I was looking at my numbers and all of a sudden I had sold 300-plus books in the course of an hour! What was that all about?
And it didn’t end there. My books started selling like hotcakes—if hotcakes were on the internet and were strapped to a rocket. By June I sold 10,000 books in the Laura Cardinal series. I got up to 300,000+ before I stopped counting. My friend Carol was doing just as well. It was the Wild West and we were like those homesteaders who put up stakes in rich bottom land and ran cattle on the range, ready to build a dynasty.
And it lasted a long time. I joined other authors in various promotions. And we all sold like flapjacks at a church breakfast.
But the thing was, for most of that wild and crazy time, I didn’t write at all. It was like watching the stock market. I sat around eating cheese crisps for lunch, my face ten inches from the computer, hitting refresh on the browser, watching as my numbers went up and up and up.
I wasn’t an author anymore. I was an e-trader.
After a while (a good LONG while) the numbers started to fall off and it wasn’t as much fun anymore. Nobody likes to go downhill, and there was no way I could sustain those kinds of numbers.
Then I sold The Shop in a two-book deal to Thomas & Mercer. But that meant I needed to write another book. It was a tough one to write, because I really missed sitting on my ass eating cheese crisps and watching my numbers. But finally I got into the story and wrote the best book I could. Icon was born.
I look back on those days and think of it as a haze. As if I’d been swallowed down the rabbithole.
But I have to admit, those cheese crisps tasted darn good at the time.