Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway Award Certificate

Happy Labor Day! I thought it an appropriate day to discuss the fruits of labor—or sometimes lack thereof—in the book publishing industry.

Readers’ Favorite Book Awards

First, the good news. I recently found out that Confessions of a Middle-Aged Runaway was a finalist in the Non-Fiction – Travel category of the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Not a winner, but still, I’ll take it. It’s a little boost that makes the hard work of the business of writing feel worthwhile. It’s a lot of work to write, publish, and promote a book, and getting even a little recognition such as this assists with the most difficult task for authors: helping readers find your books among the millions of other books.

One of the perks of being a finalist, honorable mention, or winner of the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards is that they publish the results in Publishers Weekly. In case you’re not familiar with this publication, it’s an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents and is also read by wholesalers, distributors, and educators. It’s the place to be mentioned if you’re in the business of producing books.

The book awards results are sent out to 100,000 industry professionals through two Publishers Weekly e-newsletters, plus a press release that goes out to 250,000 subscribers. The press release is also sent to more than 35,000 journalists including the Associated Press and top US newspapers like USA Today, search engines like Yahoo and Google, and popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In other words, it’s a lot of exposure!

There is also an awards ceremony in Miami that takes place during Miami Book Fair International that all finalists and award winners are invited to attend. All finalists are brought on stage to be photographed and media attends the event. Learning sessions are also provided following the Friday night Meet and Greet. It sounds like a fun event.

Book Sales Figures—Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial

Now for some discouraging news. I saw a post about the Penguin Random House/Simon & Schuster Antitrust Trial where someone testified that out of 58,000 trade titles published per year, half of those titles sell fewer than ONE DOZEN BOOKS. It was also revealed that 90 PERCENT OF TITLES SELL FEWER THAN 2,000 UNITS. That’s pretty astonishing, and you wonder how they stay in business with those kinds of figures, but they apparently make so much money off the bestsellers, they can still be profitable. Jane Friedman speculated that those figures were from Bookscan, which only reports print retail book sales and not ebook or audiobook sales or sales outside of retail stores, but still. Wow.

I guess I’m doing better than most with my book sales. My book is far from a bestseller, but the recognition and sales it has received are still something to celebrate. Still, knowing there are people out there who read and enjoy my book is the biggest reward of all. I thank all of you who have taken the time to email me or have posted a review letting me know you liked it. It means a lot to hear from you.

8 thoughts on “Book Awards and Book Sales Surprises

  1. Congratulations, Heidi! You’re making such major strides now! I’m so impressed! I’m really, really happy for you.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see you become a major bestseller!

    Was it hard to join this contest? I’ve only applied for two awards and won the silver on one. The other one I applied for too early, (an e-book award) before I’d worked out all the electronic glitches, so that one did not get an award, but it should have if I’d waited.

    I haven’t applied for any others and I should be doing this. I’m not in your league, but I should make more of an effort to get out there with recognition like you have😊Way to go!

    I’m going on a local community television program next week. It’s a small thing, but small things can lead to bigger things and I’m thankful for the opportunity. It’s with two other local authors, one of whom has been a columnist with the Auburn Journal forever: Susan Rush. The other author I’ve yet to meet but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    I decided not to attend the World Ranger Conference in Tucson in November. It was going to cost a lot of time and expense to go there for a week during a time of year when I had too many other things happening. It was a tough decision because they told me I could be on the author panel and lead a separate breakout session. I may regret it later, but it just didn’t feel right to go, and in the end I had to go with my gut on that one.

    The only other irons in the fire for now are a brief presentation and book signing at my 50th high school reunion in Sonoma (which will be sweet) and an author presentation at the Friends of the Auburn Library, both in November. So I need to get moving soon and get some more things planned😊

    I’m well into writing my second book and expect to have something for you to look at later this year, if you are still willing to do it. No pressure; I just really value your insights. You have an amazing ability for understanding how to make a book work, Heidi. That’s what I’m looking for.

    Right now it is just a collection of rough and tumble ranger stories … very different from the sweet stories in the first book and more like something out of COPS meets the Lone Ranger. I got into pretty wild stuff working at places like Folsom Lake, Auburn, and the South Yuba River, to name a few. It’s wonder ai wasn’t killed a dozen times over with some of the things I walked into. But I want these stories to be told. I want my family to know. I want others to realize what the life of a park ranger can really be like. It was a series of adventures and most definitely not a walk in the park, so to speak. I think you will get a major kick out of reading these stories. One advance chapter was just published in the local paper last month.

    Jordan Fisher Smith, one of the guys I worked with at Auburn, wrote the NYT best selling book Nature Noir. It may become a film. His book is absolutely outstanding. He has been a good confidant for me with my first book.

    But my book will be different, even though we worked in the same setting, because it is about what a woman ranger had to go through during a time when there were very few of us out there. It was tough. I wasn’t big and strong like the men I worked with. But I felt like I was. I had to be tough. I remember one day when we took some group photos of the Auburn Rangers with me and 5 others (one was a game warden). I was shocked when I saw the finished photos later and realized how much smaller I was, because in my head I was as big as they were. It was back in the 80s before digital photography. Too funny.

    I still have those photos and some others that are also great, of me out in the field doing real ranger stuff. I think my book will resonate with women. Anyway, I know your insights will be valuable. But I also understand that you are a busy person, so no pressure. Just let me know if you think you may still be interested.

    Congratulations again, Heidi! So impressed with you!

    Love, Rose 916-201-1763


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rose! You’re doing a tremendous job of promoting your book, and congratulations again on your silver award! There is a lot to respond to here, so I’ll address it in an email. Thanks so much for the comments!


  2. What an incredible honor to be nominated for the Reader’s Favorites Book Reviews and Award Contest . I hope that you plan to go to the ceremony as it would be wonderful to be recognized in person for such a great honor. I know you labored a long time to write your book so it is wonderful to be recognized for your efforts. It is also great that your book sales continue to increase as more and more readers find out about it. Congratulations, Heidi!

    Liked by 1 person

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