My trail memoir, Between Each Step, released 11/15/20, which means today it turns 1 month old!
And because my book is now our bootstrapped side business, we’ve been busy bees during this first month. Justin has been a serious rock star partner—he has played the simultaneous role of secretary, office manager, sales manager, accountant, shipping manager and publicist. He crunched the numbers and gave ourselves a couple of milestones and specific goals. We’ve said this before. It’s not about making money (news flash, a book is not a money maker). But we made an investment in this book, and we have to at least recoup our investment.
We’re pretty impressed to have personally sold 220 in one month (okay, maybe Justin, AKA the Hammer, AKA the one with lofty and audacious goals, was hoping for more by now, but we’ll get there). We have nothing to compare it to, but I’m ecstatic. I feel like I’d like to sell 500 in my lifetime, but again, I’m not sure where I even came up with that number. To be clear, this doesn’t count what Amazon has sold. We won’t know that until the quarterly royalty checks roll in. Justin still checks Amazon incessantly, hoping to figure out the algorithm. I just would rather not bother.
More than anything, it’s WHO bought it from us personally.
Justin & I have essentially been nomadic since 2011. We lived on trails, on the road (4 different vans) and temporarily called 8 different states “home” in the last 9 years. So to say we met a lot of people in the last 9 years is an understatement. Before that, we lived in places much longer, which obviously makes it easier to foster friendships.
We have been floored with how many people in our “network” from all the different walks of our life purchased books directly from us.
We’ve mailed books to 37 states!!! Unsurprisingly, New Jersey was the top purchaser (26 books), followed by Alaska (24), Colorado (21) and California (20).
Every time we receive a book order, it’s like a walk down memory lane.
I’m pretty sure we covered every facet of life: family, childhood neighbors and friends, high school, college, our 4 years in Arizona, our 4 years in Danville, VA, our 4 years in New Hampshire, our time on the Appalachian Trail and working at Bears Den Hostel & Trail Center, working at Backpacker Magazine (and that whole extended world), the island in Massachusetts where we were caretakers, Fenton Ranch in New Mexico where we worked as educators/caretakers, the Leave No Trace community, the van life community and of course the Te Araroa hiker community.
Besides friends and family, a good bit of sales came from all the folks we met in 2017 when we did our Te Araroa Speaking Tour. That definitely makes sense; we spoke at 31 locations around the US (I think 7-8 in California along), and people who attended were either interested in Te Araroa or New Zealand in general and wanted to stay in the know about the book’s release.
One other surprising group of purchasers: Justin’s sister. Jamie has a large network of friends herself, and so many of her friends have become our friends! Nearly all her friends have purchased a book from us! (Jamie loves shoutouts on the blog, so there you go, SIL!)
Now, we still have about 130 books sitting in our 300-square-foot cabin waiting to be purchased, and I do believe we’ll continue to sell beyond month one. Word of mouth is the best marketing out there! If anyone knows people in Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and South Dakota, those are our missing states from the stats.