About Me

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thank You Fellow Time Travelers

SPEAKER — Joseph Comm, an Oak Glen High School graduate, gave a presentation on his book, Images of America: Rock Springs Park, at the April 2011 Alpha Tau Chapter meeting.

This month I challenged myself to do a blog-a-day and today marks the final day of July and my 31st post for the month. Where did the time go?

It has been a lot of fun looking for interesting and varied stories about my favorite amusement park and, this month especially, I got a lot of help from readers.

Rather than do another history story or talk about my adventures on the road, I thought for this 31st blog post I would share some insider information about the post-publication process. (Try saying that five times fast.)

About a year and a half ago, I finally worked up the nerve to ask my editor about how royalties are paid for an Images of America book. I know it’s cliché, but for me it was truly never about the money, and that’s good, because she explained that I would see approximately $1 for every book sold. That was great news for my students who were worried that I would quit teaching and become a fulltime author. “No,” I explained, “We’re not talking Harry Potter money, here.”

It is the hope of the publisher that a proposed book will sell, at the very least, all the first print copies, which today is 1,200 books. Images of America: Rock Springs Park sold very quickly and within a few months I was told it was going to a second print.

When I order a set of books from the publisher the box of 10 - 20 books is protected on top with an unfolded leftover cover of a book which didn’t quite meet its quota; like a birdcage lined with your book. Ouch! I fear seeing my cover when I open a shipment one day. RIP Nashville Broadcasting

Besides semi-annual updates from Arcadia or hearing from fans of the park who tell me they picked up a copy, there is one other way I can determine how the book is doing. And it is found in Amazon's unblinking sales rank, the 24-hour barometer of book sales.

I went my whole life without knowing about the Amazon bestsellers ranking system, but alas, it’s on my radar now and something I feel compelled to periodically check. The Amazon Bestsellers calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com.

Timothy Fish in “How Amazon.com Sales Rank is Calculated” explains it best:

Few people understand how the Amazon list works or its relative importance in the publishing industry. Amazon's method of ranking books remains something of a black box with the fancy word algorithm used to describe it. Amazon.com does not give specific details of how they do this, but the general idea is that they base rankings on the sales within a sliding twenty-four hour period. The rankings are published on an hourly basis, but the actual rankings are updated with each sale.

For me, all this data just adds to the fun of the post-publication experience. I’m still having a blast researching, meeting new people, and giving book talk slide show presentations, not to mention posting here about Rock Springs. It is an enjoyable hobby for me and not work at all.

As soon as I think I’ve seen every postcard or picture or read every article on the park, a new piece of the puzzle is discovered or a new mystery is presented. It is my hope that readers enjoy reading about them as much as I do finding and sharing them.

Scot Campbell of Toronto, OH, sent me this delightful photo of himself and his girlfriend, Sally Hughes Porter, on the Pretzel Spook House Ride in June 1962.

I love this quote from the Queens Tribune in New York about the Images Series: "Reading any one of the series of historical captioned photo books from Arcadia Publishing is like traveling through time."

So, thank you fellow time travelers for coming along on this adventure with me!

Coming Soon: If you’re from the Tri-State Region you are probably familiar with Kennywood Park’s yellow directional arrows, but did you know that Rocks Springs Park had arrows, too?

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