Back in the paper stone ages, I had a nice start to my writing career. My first paperback The Red Church got a second printing and was picked up by the Mystery Guild Book Club as an alternate selection and sold a lot of hardcovers. My next book, The Harvest, sold even faster out of the gate, but it wasn't as good (I'd written it before The Red Church). At the time, bookstores were getting five to 10 copies of each book. I could go into a store and see a block of Scott Nicholson on the shelves.
I can still remember the chill that went through me when I got my royalty statement. Sales had declined by nearly two-thirds. And I could not do much about it, because the stores would be making future orders based on The Manor's (lack of) performance. Meaning I would have an uphill fight to sell even that many copies on subsequent books. However, things did get a little better and They Hunger, the last book of the contract, was on the upswing (it's still in print, actually, for reasons I can't understand at all).
Despite my agent's best efforts and support, the numbers were a difficult obstacle to overcome, since New York works on perception--New York thought it already knew what I was, a low-performing mid-list writer. I can't really blame the industry. I guess they have to use some criteria, because so many books are of equal quality and they spend more energy weeding out books than they do selling them.
But, damn it, it was my book! I took my shot but a couple of months under a stacked system of disposable products wasn't worth sitting there with an out-of-print book for six years.I was so fortunate to be able to revive it, revise it, give it a new proof, cover, and title, and completely re-invent it. I am not saying I am a better publisher than my publisher, although I have a goal of selling more copies in a month than the publisher sold in seven years. I am saying I care a billion times more about the book than the publisher ever could--they have other books, other writers, other business pressures. I only have one me.
I revised it, got great editing and proof help from Neal Hock at Hock's Editing Services and a great cover from Neil Jackson, support from a bunch of great book blogs, and published it in every major ebook market. It's out there for all the world to love or hate or ignore.
I only have one career. I only have one book named Creative Spirit. Hell, the title pretty much sums up the theme of the book. You can't keep it down. This sucker is crawling out of the grave. It may not change the world, or prove that anyone did anything wrong back in 2004, but it is back! The manor is dead but creative spirit lives forever.
Welcome home, kid.