Dan Brown is a best-selling author. People buy his books. That’s what makes him a "best-selling author." Being the best-selling salesman does not mean that you are a salesman whose books sell as if written by Dan Brown. This is all very complex. Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than …well….just about everything on Earth. My books only sell well to the people who buy them — women who date serial killers because it’s a makes a statement. The statement is "I’m out of my mind!"
I do keep track of my sales — or someone does. Writers get royalty statements which make perfectly clear why you can’t pay your bills — they send out books, the store sends some of them back, but as they dont know how many will come back, they TAKE A GUESS and deduct that from what you are paid. Why can’t they take that guess BEFORE they ship out the books? I’ll tell you why. Because if they are wrong and send out too few, then they will lose sales. This happened with my book MURDER IN THE FAMILY when it was on the second tier of NYT Best Seller list. It was heading for the top when, yes, they ran out of books. You can’t be in the top 10 if the book is on backorder. What i dont understand is why my first royalty check for MITF was three times more than the royalty checks for my next three books combined – and the sales are consistently THE SAME for all of them! Yes, it must be the GUESS HOW MANY WILL BE RETURNED factor. This is all too confusing for me, as you can tell. It could be worse — i could be a musician, song writer, or other fictional character. Brian WIlson was owed $33 MILLION in back royalties from Capitol Records. "OOOPS, sorry Brian we somehow didn’t notice that $33,000,000.00 we didn’t pay you."
When it is easy to overlook $33 million in royalties, it’s a miricle that I get anything at all.