Heat of the Moment
Author Name/Publisher: Jessica Hall, Onyx
Mass Market Paperback, U.S., $6.99 cover price
Publication Date: 10/01/04
Current Released to date: 24,162
Reserved against returns: 0
Current returns: 6,431
This is the first royalty statement on this novel, and HotM did modestly well. I prefer to see my sell-through a little higher, but considering the state of the market, the genre, and romance's short shelf life, I won't complain. In romance I'm definitely midlist, and these days a midlist writer is lucky to sell 5,000 copies. The book is still selling, however, so I hope to earn out my advance. A good if not stellar performance (to see a scan .jpg of the actual statement, click here.)
If you look at it from the promote-or-die angle, this book should not have sold this well. There was no publicity for it, and like most of my books, the small first print run kept it out of the front of the store. At the time I was tied up with hurricanes, cancer surgery and launching Darkyn, so like most of my other books, I did zero promotion for this one.
Given the circumstances, I'd say that the novel sold as well as it did due to three factors: the Jessica Hall name, the story, and word of mouth by my readers. Our pal Tam always talks about stories needing to resonate with readers; judging by the fan mail, this one did.
HotM was a good story for me personally for a couple of reasons. It was the first book I wrote after I unplugged from the internet: no distractions. I fell in love with Terri and Cort in my previous JH novel, where they were secondary characters. I had just hooked up with an editor who got me, so I relaxed and finally wrote a romance the way I wanted to. It was a rush, too; one of those novels that just pours out of you. My editor in turn did a brilliant job on her end and drew even more out of me with a light but dead-on revision. I felt as if I came into my own with this book.
After seeing the statement, I don't know what Jessica Hall's future is. I have two more JH novels outlined: Some Like it Hot, Caine and Moriah's story, and Dark Side, a standalone with Jo Edgeway, who has been mentioned but has yet to make an appearance in the JH novels. My editor and I have talked casually about doing another book in the near future. I'm a romance writer at heart, so I don't want to walk away from the genre, especially now that the Sisters of the Immaculate Love Scene are trying to censor it.
I also have to be realistic. Romantic suspense is a hard sell and extremely competitive, and I'm doing a lot better in other areas. Publishers buy what works. HotM worked, but not as effectively as my SF and vamp novels. I'm at the mercy of chains ordering to the net, an over-crowded genre, and a writing schedule that makes psychosis look fun. There are other things I want to do.
On that slightly depressing note, any questions, comments, thoughts?