Before I tell you all about my upcoming book signing at Barnes & Noble in Columbia, I should tell you who I am and what I write.
I started out as an author of hardboiled mystery fiction. My first novel, Identity Crisis, introduced my lawyer/sleuth Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. I like to think of her as being like a female attorney version of Philip Marlowe—tough, but with enough empathy to act as the proverbial “white knight” for her clients. Sam is a person of sardonic wit and little patience for BS.
The novel was first released in 2005 by a small press that (much to my dismay) went under nine months after the book came out. Total bummer.
Of course, I tried to find another home for that novel, only to have agents tell me that they’d never be able to convince a major publisher to pick up a discontinued series. Which was interesting considering it was one single book (the first of a planned series that didn’t even exist yet) and had been in print less than a year. Seemed like it had made a microscopic blip on the publishing world’s radar, if you asked me. But, of course, no one asked me.
In 2009, I decided to self-publish the book. My major objective was simply to get the work “out there”. My thinking was that if people saw the product and liked it enough, self-publishing the book could actually help my career.
That was the year I also discovered ebooks. And when I also learned that you could self-publish non-exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle platform, I figured, “Why not?”
What followed was nothing less than astonishing. By the end of 2010, I was making great sales and pretty fair money as an author (thanks in large part to the exponential growth of ebook sales). I released my second self-published novel, Least Wanted, in December 2010. I also decided to quit freelancing so I could channel my energies entirely into writing and marketing my books. This was due in part to health reasons. I have a chronic health condition that drains my energy significantly. If I was going to write and market anything, I decided it should be the fiction I’d always wanted to write.
This was not an easy decision on my part. However, in 2011, it paid off big time when Identity Crisis became one of the first wave of indie-published books to hit the New York Times bestseller list. I was flabbergasted.
In addition, both my first and second novels became Kindle Top 100 bestsellers that year. In the U.S. and the U.K. And that blew my mind. I couldn’t believe I’d established a way to make a living off my books.
It also turned out I was wrong. Those stellar initial results were fleeting. And those lovely algorithms (or whatever) that had helped me achieve them? Well, they set me up for a Big Fall.
A number of factors played into the precipitous drop in income I suffered with the onset of 2012. Without boring you with the details, suffice it to say that my goals have changed since those early, heady days of ebook success.
I write my novels for people to enjoy. I feel no compunction about saying that I’m as interested as any writer to be paid for my efforts. But when it comes to finding my readership, I’d much rather attract them based on who and what I am, plus the quality of my writing, than the happy, accidental result of low price and good algorithms.
This is why I still love bookstores and doing book signings. Say what you will about the convenience of selling books online. It really doesn’t replicate the joy of making an IRL (in real life) connection with an actual reader.
And my signing? It’ll be at the Columbia Barnes & Noble on Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 11 AM to 4 PM. If you like mysteries, I now have four of them I can sign. An actual series! (Plus a young adult novel and a thriller.)
So please save the date. Come on by, if only to support a local author and (struggling chain) bookstore. To learn more about me, come visit my website: debbimack.com.
PS: If you read this blog, you probably already know about this awesome news!