My agent, god bless her, sent me this the other day:
“This from a blog reader in the Netherlands to me today:
Walked into the biggest bookshop in Utrecht at the weekend to find Jeff Somers’ The Electric Church standing centre-stage on the main display rack. Read the first page and was completely blown away. Bought it immediately.“
Thinking back on the way my first novel, Lifers, disappeared under the waves years ago, to have my book sitting on a shelf in the freakin’ Netherlands is pretty cool. To have people in the freakin’ Netherlands buying my book after reading the first page feels almost hallucinatory. Thank god for heartless capitalist conglomerates that rule the world with a rusty iron fist! Or something.
Lifers was published by a tiny, tiny company, of course, which offered exactly zero marketing and PR support. They sent out review copies (heck, the New York Times reviewed it) and put it in their catalogs, but that was about the limit of their support. I knew that going in, and thought I’d be able to do a lot of homespun promotion. I did my best – I put together a little reading tour which was pretty successful as far as those things go, I got some press. Still, I think at the height of my efforts you could count the number of bookstores stocking the novel on two hands, and as you can probably guess, Lifers-mania never exactly swept the nation.
The difference between rubbing yourself raw dragging yourself from bookstore to bookstore to do readings and beg for shelf space and waking up one morning, pouring yourself a nice cup of coffee and bourbon, and discovering your book is in a store halfway across the world is startling. And pleasant. Carry on.