“Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

By Holly Lisle

Quote from Twain. Some numbers from Midnight Rain. ‘Cause you know I was to the point of reinventing myself because of my fear of the numbers on Midnight Rain, and the fact that I’d heard it hadn’t done as well as everyone hoped.

How well did it do?

In its first reporting period, it earned out its own $25,000 advance plus all but about $2000 of Last Girl Dancing‘s advance.

In its first reporting period, it sold over 50,000 more copies than any title of mine has ever sold before in a first period, and about that many more than most of my titles have sold lifetime.

It had an acceptable sell-through. Not earth-shattering. I was hoping for the 80%-97% sell-through that most of my other books have averaged, but the fact that this was essentially a first novel, that it was shelved where most of the people who have been my readership for the last fourteen years will never have found it, and that a LOT of copies were printed make that kind of sell-through nearly impossible. It’s almost certain to have sold almost entirely to readers for whom this was the first introduction to my work.

So Midnight Rain didn’t do as well as everyone hoped? No, it didn’t. When you’re hoping for break-out bestsellerdom, it didn’t do that.

It did, however, do well for a first novel. If I can find any sort of repeat readership from the folks who liked it, and who I hope went out and bought Last Girl Dancing because they liked it, I might have something solid to build on.

No gimmes here. I’m not out of the woods — you’re only as good as your last book, and Last Girl Dancing is, in suspense, my book of the moment.

Still, the Twain quote in the title seemed apt. I’m still alive as a suspense writer. Still kicking. And almost ready to send the outline for the third book off.

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