With the aid of Google Maps, Photoshop, and my own extensive record-keeping, I’ve put together map of every location in the world that I’ve sent a book to. The US/Canada side of the map is accurate right down to the estimated position of the reader’s town/city within his State (if you squint hard enough). On the UK front, I had to zoom in for accuracy, because I’ve sold a lot more books in the UK than elsewhere. You’ve heard me boast in the past about selling over 1,000 books; if the map looks a little sparse, that’s because I only have records of the books I’ve sold directly to readers using my website and eBay, without the intermediary of a bookshop.
I put this map together for my own amusement and encouragement. It’s heartening to see my books straying so far away from home, not only scattered across the United States, but in such far-flung places as Australia and Japan. In the USA, if you spot some of my dots being wider than others, that’s not a slip; it means that one reader close to another bought a book – by coincidence or recommendation who can tell. In the UK, there’s a beautiful burst of activity, and it’s particularly nice to see five books ending up on off-shore islands: Angelsey, Isle of Man, Isle of Lewis, North Uist, Shetland.
My main sales strategy is to offer a competitive retail price by eliminating the online bookshop from the equation. I don’t tell my potential readers to bugger off to Amazon, where they can scowl at an overpriced paperback. I sell my book directly to them, cheaper than the competition and autographed to boot. I think this map offers a good illustration that, for self-published authors, the simple author-reader sales model works.