2500, or don't quit your day job
That's the amount of copies Fire in the Heart has sold. You can look at it in a positive way--Yippee! 2500 people have bought my book! Or, like this: Dang! I still haven't earned back my advance. And Geography sold even less! Why am I even doing this?
It's times like this that test a writer's soul. Yes, like the park ranger I once was, who was "paid in sunsets," you can tell yourself you are "paid in appreciation." The emails and responses I have gotten from former firefighters and present ones have been priceless. At the same time, you are basically writing for free. You'd better love it a whole lot.
I've never been one to go around spouting that "I must write or a part of me dies." I like to write, and some stories seem to want to be told, but let's face it, most authors do want some monetary gain from it. It's not the only reason you write, and shouldn't be, but who among us likes to create and not get something out of it that helps pay the mortgage? A friend, an exceptional photographer, can ask for $800 for one photo. It would be nice to have earned more than approximately $1000 for Geography. But it's all in the value. People can, and should, share books. They should be able to get them from libraries. But....herein lies the dilemma.
Me? Well, I was happier when I didn't know how the book was selling. I don't think I will ask again until next year. By then, I will hopefully have crawled out of the advance hole and have something else to show for it (I still owe the publisher at this point).
Time to get back to work.