In a post back in April, I shared with you some of the surprising paths that my earlier book, Once upon a Mulberry Field, had found itself on since its release in 2014 (click HERE to read again). As the author watching its progress, I felt like an empty-nester watching his grownup child making his/her way into the world—with a mix of awestruck pride, nervous excitement, and sometimes, disappointment. I had done everything I could to nurture it and give it the best preparation before its launch, and now that it’s been released, it’s truly out of my hands—following uncharted paths to far-away destinations.
It is with the same palpitations that I’ve followed the post-launch progress of my second book, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees: A Travelogue of Vietnam. Just as a parent hoping to have learned from the first go-round and done a better job with his second child, I was curious to see if experience actually paid off. As all parents can attest, however, every child is unique in his/her own way, and experience, oftentimes over-rated, can only stretch so far. My second book, indeed, is a non-fiction book with pictures and a totally different creature from Mulberry Field, which is a historical novel. Right off the bat, that requires a different printing outfit with a whole new process altogether. But why don’t you judge for yourself.
The first weekend immediately after the launch, Tamarind Trees already managed to surprise me: As sales in the U.S. were just beginning to ramp up (following an extensive social media and email campaign), the book scored a first-ever sale in Italy, followed by sales in Australia and France. In France, it raced up the chart to No. 2 in Books in English and Foreign Languages in the category History-Southeast Asia, and to No. 4 in the category Travel-Reference and Tips. Who knew? Even though it didn’t stay there very long, it gave me such a thrill.
Meanwhile, all was quiet on the UK and Canada fronts and remained that way until just yesterday, when I first saw the book’s ranking recorded on amazon.ca, indicating sales in Canada at last. Back here in the U.S., as sales begin to build up, I’ve noticed the continuation of a somewhat puzzling trend with my books. The paperback version of Mulberry Field has always outsold its Kindle version by a ratio 3:1, which flies in the face of what I’ve heard from my writer friends, namely that the bulk of their sales are in eBooks, not paperbacks. Now, with Tamarind Trees, despite the fact that the pictures in it can be enlarged and displayed in beautiful high resolution on color e-readers, the paperback edition still outsells the Kindle/epub versions by a wide margin. Maybe that’s saying something about my support base?
It’s still quite early in the life of the book to tell how it will fare down the road, and holiday shopping is further confusing the overall picture. But no matter in paperback or electronic format, I dearly wish to see my new baby, Rain Falling on Tamarind Trees, do well. Of course that’s only possible with your help and support, so I hope you would mention the book to the readers (and in this case, the travelers and history buffs) in your life. And please don’t be shy about leaving a short review on my amazon book page: Word of mouth still means a great deal in this book world of ours.
Thank you so much for your support. I wish you and your family Peace, Love, and Great Health; a Wonderful Holiday Season, and a Prosperous New Year.