"You're only as good a your last book (sales)" has been a mantra in the print book world for a long time. I got it barked at me after publishers refused any promotion help. And it's part of a vicious circle: the less money publishers give as an advance the less they have to lose if *your* promotion doesn't live up to their expectations.
My co-writer for Implant had two science thrillers out already when we wrote our book. Both books had print runs of 200,000 copies. The first book sold 105,000 copies. His publishers were happy. The second sold 90,000. They were not so pleased. He had sold ~195,000 books and they still declined to pick up the option for the third.
The whole game of numbers revolved around shelf space. There was only so much. Not true any more. Publishers are slowly waking up to that.
I'm very tuned in to my numbers now as an indie. Strangely, they've increased every single week this year.
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