500,000

What’s a number? Just a number, right? I’ve probably said it here before, but I’m going to say it again: math and I don’t really get along. I mean, who’s really interested in all those numbers?

But the one above interests me just a little now. Why you ask? Well I’m’a gonna tell ya! But first, I’ve got a story to tell…

You’ll remember that back in September I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). My goal was to meet agents and editors and to learn about the Christian book publishing industry. I didn’t learn as much as I’d hoped, but I did learn some—enough to keep me interested anyway.

What I did learn was that everything I know about operating in the comic book industry doesn’t matter a hill’o’beans there. Pitching a project in comics is far different than pitching one in the Christian book publishing industry. For instance, one of the things agents/editors would like to know is your publishing history. That makes sense to me. But they’d like to know your sales figures.

Hmmm. While I could tell you some of the numbers off the top of my head, I don’t know most of them. Arrow is my best selling single issue and it sold right around 50,000 copies. So, I figured if this was something they needed to know, I needed to try to find it.

My first work was published in 1989. That’s 20 years ago. Since then, 77 comic books I’ve written or co-written have been published. That doesn’t include the newspaper and magazine articles. So I listed all 77 in an Excel spreadsheet and over the course of a couple of weeks starting keying in numbers as I could find them—which wasn’t easy. In fact, I couldn’t/can’t find many of them still.

But I had a “running total” at the top of my spreadsheet and the number caught my attention. So, I decided to go back and “best guess” the numbers I couldn’t find. For instance, Battletech #0 sold 19,409 copies. #3 sold 17,252. I can’t find the figures for #1 and #2, so I had to guess. I guessed on the low side and put 17,500 for both #1 and #2 (though #1, BEING a #1 was likely much higher).

So, after I finished keying in all the best guesses, I scrolled back to the top to see what the number was:

502,153.

That’s right, Five Hundred Two Thousand One Hundred and Fifty Three copies of works that lists me as writer. That’s ½ a million copies. That’s not how many copies are “in print” as there are hundreds of all them printed but never sold. Still, half a million copies is a lot of books. Then, add the newspaper and magazine work.

Okay…that number might not mean much to you, but it surprised me and I’d really never even considered what it might be.

I guess now I can add on my resume “over half a million copies sold.”

Maybe it’s not a big deal…but I like the sound of it. J

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “500,000

  1. BJ

    I think it is FABULOUS. By the way, as you already know…your son loves math:-) It is his favorite subject.

  2. Can you see me turning green?
    (BTW – WHAT are you doing up at 2:30 a.m.? I was up, but only to let the dogs in. Then I went BACK to bed like any sane person.)

  3. 500,000!!!! That’s incredible!

    I’d say that with numbers like that you’ll get the attention of agents and publishers. For me, my number is:

    0.

    Hmmmm….. not even a magazine or newspaper article. Okay, so I’ve written my own comics, and a few stories in school. Add those unpublished ones up and I get to:

    20?

    Lets just say I’ve got an uphill battle here.

    Keep writing, Roland! What you need to do now is figure out how to master this new medium and you are off and running! Any book you put out can list that figure of 1/2 a million, and that alone could sell your books.

  4. Keep sharing the writing journey.

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