October 2020: One Month


Unlike the preceding month, October was more memorable, as I helped launch quite a few books. There was one noticeable trend, despite performance for said launches being mostly strong: page reads were down. Like, a lot. 20% – 30%. Whether that was election-related or happened to be randomness, the trend was nonetheless clear: for whatever reason, not as many reads were being generated.

Look, when this happens to you, there’s no other way to describe it: it sucks. Especially when a book hits all expectations in terms of rank / sales performance, even exceeds them, but is still affected by outside (unknown) factors. But there’s a term that announcers, coaches, and players sometimes use to describe basketball: it’s a game of runs. One team gets hot, scores a bunch of points, the other team calls timeout, regroups, then comes back. The momentum seesaws back and forth, with guys adapting over the course of the game and finding new ways to score and stop the other team.

Likewise, a career is a game of days, weeks, and months. There are good streaks and bad within those. The positive glow fades; the negative sting drifts away. But only if you let it. Often there is no reason why a book does not do as well as expected. I have no explanation for the figures, other than that they definitely happened. One could conjure up a million explanations, but the truth is that no one outside of perhaps Amazon has an inkling of the reason why. And perhaps the reason is opaque to even them.

Trying to dig too far into why is the way that madness lies.

A day is just a day.

A month is just a month.

A release is just a release.

You can’t win the game in the first quarter. You can’t lose it, either.

It’s how you string these moments together over time where the game is won or lost. And sometimes? You can play a really good game, your best game in fact, and still come up short.

But here’s the other thing about this metaphor: there’s always another game around the corner. Because a career isn’t just one game. It’s season after season, a twenty or thirty or fifty year endeavor. And that means there’s plenty of time to make that next run. Regardless of what happened just before.


  • TOTAL WORDS: 9,253 fiction words
  • URBAN FANTASY ORGANIC SUBSCRIBERS:  2,069 > 2,081 (+12) (+355 on year)
  • NON-FICTION ORGANIC SUBSCRIBERS: 2,231 > 2,368 (+137) (+865 on year)
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