Well a few posts ago I told you how I miraculously sold more books than Stephen King (in a 48 hour period)!
I apologize for the maudlin post but Dust has been out for ten years now. I launched the book on September 21st, 2001 in Saskatoon's Western Development Museum: 1910 Boomtown. It was the first time I'd launched in such a big and perfectly-themed venue (I wish I could find the pics but they are in storage somewhere). Here's a pic of the museum interior.
I honestly had no idea how successful the book would become and am still surprised by its reception. It went on to win several awards including:
*The 2001 Governor General's Award for Children's Literature *The 2001 Saskatchewan Book Award for Children's Literature *The 2002 Mr. Christie's Book Award (this came with $ and cookies. Mmm) *Nominated for a 2004 Edgar Award.
Here I am with Adrienne Clarkson, once the Governor General of Canada. She's presenting me with a leather-bound copy of DUST.
There are a few things you may not know about the novel. Here's the first draft of the Canadian cover:
The American version is about 5 pages longer. Because it came out in 2003 I was able to have one more crack at the book and I fine tuned it a bit more and added a few smaller scenes, including one at the end that helped explain the townspeople's reaction to their "forgetfulness" about their children disappearing. It's a particularly poignant scene.
There have now been 13 movie companies that have shown interest in the rights, including 4 major Hollywood studios. So far no one has come up with the money to make the movie (or pay off my mortgage).
Work on a graphic novel was started with Christopher Steininger but, as of yet, it has not been picked up by a publisher.
The book continues to be popular in Canada and I've received hundreds of emails and letters about it. It eventually went out of print in the U.S. and was never sold to any other countries.
With the advent of ebooks I was able to re-release the book in the US as an ebook (and in the U.K., too).
So it is good to have the book come back to life. It was briefly the #12 bestselling horror novel on Amazon U.S. and the #2 bestselling horror novel on Amazon UK. If only it would stay in those positions I could finance my own movie! : ) It has been rather fun for me to see the book gain a new readership.
So there you have it. A decade of Dust. Happy birthday! Here's to another ten years....
Q: Arthor, I read your book DUST. Tell me the symbolism in it. I have a paper due tomorrow so I need to know now. A: I will tell you the symbolism. But first I'd like you to cut my lawn. It needs to be cut now. I'm waiting.
Q: I have an idea for a book that you should write. It's my life story. Some really interesting things happened, so far. I can't tell them to you because you might steal the ideas. I'm too busy to write it. A: I'm not busy at all! Would love to sacrifice a year of my life writing your book. Is 2071 too soon?
Q: Why does your book suck so much? A: This may seem hard to believe but writing a book that sucks takes years of work. First I take anything that is remotely interesting or exciting out of the book. Then I add all the boring characters and have them sit around doing nothing. Finally, I inject suckiness into the prose using a special method taught to me by a suckiness master. It's like becoming a kung fu master, without the exercise. Glad to know my hard work has paid off.
Q: Really, I'm not joking, what is the symbolism in your book? I need to know. I got an extension. A: My lawn still needs cutting.
Q: I have some really great ideas. How do I stop people from stealing them? A: I don't want you to feel paranoid, but I'm reading your mind right now. Those are amazing ideas. If you want to prevent others from stealing your ideas wear a tinfoil hat.
Anyone else have questions? Post them below...
Here's my monthly update on the ebook sales experiment. The totals below are from these six books. They are sold on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and iBooks. Feb: 12 March: 43 April: 377 May: 274 June: 182 And here's the handy dandy chart (you knew there'd be one, didn't you?):
As you can see sales were down for the second month in a row. This was partly due to Amazon having a massive ebook sale for the first two weeks of June. My sales picked up again after the sale was over, so I'm pleased that they reached the "heights" that they did in that short of a time. Again the majority of my sales were on Kindle (about 80%) with Nook being in second place at 10% and Smashwords and iBooks at the bottom.
One side note that doesn't show up on the chart above is the number of sales at 99 cents compared with the sales at $2.99. I sold 141 copies @ .99 cents. Since I make .35 cents per book that totals $48.85. But I sold 18 copies at $2.99. Since I make 2.09 per sale (70% royalty) that totals $37.67. So there's more money in the 2.99 books. They just have to start gaining momentum. I also gave away 49 copies of Draugr on iBooks and Smashwords, so I made nothing on them. But, of course, I see them as promo.
I'm not totally thrilled by the # of sales, nor am I disappointed. Things are steady and this month I have an ad for DUST in Kindle Nation Daily so that should help with sales. Also, though the extra money that is trickling in is nice, this whole experiment is about knowledge. I have learned so much about the ebook ecosystem and still intend to write a novel for ebooks only. I am curious about the summer sales. I know people read more during these months, but do they buy more? Or are they all on the beach (out of wireless range?).
Either way, it's fun to watch.
I'm extremely pleased to announce that The Hunchback Assignments has won Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire 2011: Roman jeunesse étranger (The Grand Prize of the Imagination, Youth foreign). This is the most prestigious fantastical fiction award in France and it is proof that my novel's translator, Marie Cambolieu, is brilliant. The official award website is here if you want to see the other categories. The book is called Les agents de M. Socrate, Tome 1 : La confrérie de l'horloge in France and is released by Le Masque (loosely translated as The Agents of Mr. Socrates: The Brotherhood of the Clock). The award was presented at a festival in Saint-Malo, France. I nearly was able to attend in person, but had to stay home to watch the NHL Playoffs (I'm kidding, of course, great effort was made to fly me out there but the scheduling didn't work out). Instead I sent a short video of my acceptance speech:
The other award nominees in the same category were:
Roman jeunesse étranger
Autres titres retenus en première sélection :
If you'd like to see a few photos of the event just click here.
As you can tell, I'm very excited about this award. Last night, at dinner club, we raised a glass of French wine in honour of Grand Prix de l'imaginaire (and had Beef Wellington, which also fit the theme since Modo used the name Wellington as a code name).
I do a great number of school readings. And when I get to the end of my presentation I say, "Now it's time for the dreaded Q&A. You ask the questions and I'll attempt to answer, though I don't do mathematical questions." Often I get asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" "From a factory in Pennsylvania." Or "Which book that you wrote is your favourite?" "Dust...because it made the most money for me."
But here are a few of the questions that I didn't expect:
"Do you own a tractor?" From an Aussie student on Skype (I was wearing a John Deere t-shirt at the time).
"Does your wife think you're funny?" No.
"Are you in the military?" Huh?
"Did you have any friends in high school?" Sometimes.
"Do you wear briefs or boxers?" Hmmm, I think this student may have received a talking to after I was gone.
"Are you evil?" This was in a "bible belt" area school. I had just read the first chapter of DUST. "Uh, do you mean do I write horror scary type stuff?" "No...are you evil?" I actually had no answer. Other than a demonic chuckle...