· Running with the Enemy
· Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine
· My Splendid Concubine
· 26. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 26 of 26
· 25. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 25 of 26
· 24. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 24 of 26
· 23. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 23 of 26
· 22. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 4, Episode 22 of 26
· 21. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 21 of 26
· 20. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 20 of 26
· 19. Runing with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 19 of 26
· 18. Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 18 of 26
· 17, Running with the Enemy - Chapter 3, Episode 17 of 26
· It is Time – Relief for Victims of Lone-Wolf Killers such as James Holmes
· Living on the thin side of Black Ice
· Getting Oriented
· Learning to Love and Hate while teaching ESL in the Middle Kingdom
· The Release of The Concubine Saga is another Cheap Marketing Ploy
· The Story behind the National Debt
· Using Alchemy to Disarm Psychological Vampires
· Learning what Win-Win Really Means
· Review for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
· In Defense of Tiger Mothers Everywhere
· The birth of a child called Prose
· The Luxury of Heartache
· Learning from Death
· Putting Cupid's Arrows on Ice
· The Never-Ending Book Promotion Blues
· Walking the Path of Dead Explorers
· LIttle No More
· Honorable Mention at 2013 San Francisco Book Festival
· Please support this vital Amazon.com petition
· Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech
· A Goodreads Giveaway for Runing with the Enemy
· News to Share December 2012
· Historical Novel Society
· Midwest Book Review for Our Hart
Lloyd Lofthouse, click here
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Blogs by Lloyd Lofthouse
5/11/2008 3:19:30 PM
I've always considered success for an author tied to how many people bought and read the book and enjoyed it, which translates to mean: “If you don't sell tens of thousands of copies, you are a failure.” After all my wife’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have sold hundreds of thousand of copies over the years if not more than a million. All of her books have been optioned for film. None have been made, but heck, at least someone in Hollywood noticed.
By that definition, more than five months into my promotion, I’m a failure. My Splendid Concubine has sold less than one hundred copies world-wide.
When I told a long time friend of mine that I wasn‘t a success, he said, “Shame on you.” He explained why too. After I listened to him, I thought, Maybe I’ve been wrong all of these years. Maybe there are more ways to measure success than from sales and money.
So, after thinking about “Shame on you” for a few days, I made a list—I’m big on lists.
Back in March I had my first Author Event at Clayton Books in Clayton, California. There was a full house with standing room only. I have a page on my Website with pictures. Two women in the audience read the book before the event. Both spoke up and said they enjoyed Concubine. The event went for an hour and twenty minutes and no one got up and left or fell asleep. The same thing happened at the second event at Bay Books in San Ramon, California. There is a page on my Website with pictures of this event.
The owners of Clayton Books and Bay Books read Concubine and liked it enough to host author events and recommend my novel to their customers. My wife said that it was an honor and high praise to have book people recommending Concubine like that. She said it was the independent book store owners that turned her first book, Red Azalea, into a success.
Since my Website (www.mysplendidconcubine.com) went on-line back in November 2007, several thousand people have visited from more than thirty countries and most of the states in America. Some have returned time and again. Over three hundred visited the page on my Website that lists with links where Concubine can be bought. I’m thinking, at least they went that far.
The first media review for Concubine was written by Cool Han in China for ForeignerCN.com. It was a glowing review. I linked to it from my Website. There is a counter at the bottom of the page at ForeignerCN.com for that review and more than four hundred people have visited that page. Maybe they are still thinking about buying a copy. I can dream.
Concubine’s second media review came from the Midwest Book Review. It stunned me, because it ended, “a must read for historical fiction fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre.” It would be nice if all of those people that visited the buy page for Concubine would follow that advise.
The third, from Historical Novels Review, arrived two days after the Midwest Review. Again, it was a positive review with a note of caution for the squeamish: “Some readers may be uncomfortable with the frank sexuality of the novel, as well as Hart’s simultaneous romantic relationship with both Ayaou and Shao-mei, but those who are interested in unconventional romances with an out-of-the-ordinary setting will find plenty to enjoy.”
I have pages on a Website for Authors. This Website is called Authors Den. More than 1.4 million people visit this site each month. My pages at Authors Den are being visited by about two hundred people a day. The majority visit my Blog. The second most popular pages are my articles. Twenty or thirty people check out the blurbs and reviews for My Splendid Concubine each day. No one buys. I wonder what they are afraid of. The Concubine does not bite.
I got out of the Marine Corp in 1968 and started college that same year. By 1970, my first novel length manuscript was completed. Since 1968, I’ve written more than a dozen book length manuscripts, attended writing workshops out of UCLA for eight years, earned an MFA in writing, and here I am forty years later still plugging away. It is a wonder that I haven’t given up. I’ve had a half dozen agents try to sell my work to publishers. I’ve had editors like my stories—I’ve got positive rejections like, “We loved your novel. All of the editors read it. However, we regret to inform you that we aren’t publishing fiction anymore.” Go figure.
The publisher for My Splendid Concubine is iUniverse, a print on demand publisher. POD publishers are looked down on by traditional publishing houses. It’s difficult to get a POD book into a brick and mortar bookstore. With that in mind, it might surprise readers that the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain owns forty percent of iUniverse. In addition, iUniverse has a process to recognize industry standard books and novels. When the editor reviewing a manuscript likes it, it earns Editor’s Choice. That editor also recommends it to a panel of editors to consider for a distinction called Publisher’s Choice. The odds are heavy against earning even Editor’s Choice. Remember, I’m big on lists, so I did some research to see what my odds were. Less than five percent of the books iUniverse publishes earn the Editor’s Choice distinction and less than one percent earn Publisher’s Choice. My Splendid Concubine earned both. I’ve read two other novels from iUniverse that were also awarded Publisher’s Choice: High Spirits by Dianne K. Salerni and The Confederate War Bonnet by Jack Shakely. I’ve read thousands of books in my life and these two were equal to the best I’ve read. I consider it an honor to be in the same league as these two authors.
Now I come to radio talk shows. An author I’m acquainted with published a book with Pantheon in 2006. Pantheon is one of the big boys. This other author’s book has fifteen, five star customer reviews on Amazon.com; it has been reviewed by Booklist, the San Francisco Chronicle and Newsweek. (I should be so lucky) Her publisher sent her on a tour of America and Europe at great expense. However, according to sales numbers, her book was a flop. Her agent can’t sell anything else she has written to another traditional publisher like Pantheon. You see, traditional publishers measure success by sales and profits. It wasn’t always that way. Publishers would sacrifice for a good book they felt deserved to be published and relied on the heavy hitters to make the profits that paid the bills and kept the presses running. This author couldn’t get the talk shows interested in her topic. On the other hand, before the Olympics roll around in August, I will have been on more than thirty talk shows that broadcast out of hundreds of radio stations across North America with a few broadcasting via satellite to the world and millions of people. The Pantheon author succeeded by landing a traditional publisher. She earned reviews from the mainstream media, but she couldn’t score a talk show—not one.
We live and learn but first we have to get out there and take risks so we can learn from the results. Since my friend said “Shame on you,” I have come to the conclusion that there are other ways to measure success than from just the money made. Although, if I had a choice between the success list I’ve written here and the money, I’d pick the money and laugh all the way to the bank.
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More Blogs by Lloyd Lofthouse
iLook China - Monday, February 21, 2011
Time Well Spent - Friday, May 23, 2008
Serving in Vietnam Earned Benefits - Sunday, May 18, 2008
FIRST INTERVIEW - Friday, May 16, 2008
MEASURING SUCCESS - Sunday, May 11, 2008
Another Week On the Promotion Road - Tuesday, May 06, 2008
The Choices We Make - Wednesday, April 30, 2008