Writing Books/new author


Hi. Can you tell me what is considered successful for a book by a new author? Is 250,000 copies sold completely unrealistic for a first book? Thanks

Hi, Danielle!

Sorry for the delay in responding. I've been deep into edits on our next book and forgot to put myself on vacation mode here.

250K is an AMAZING debut for a new author, even for a major house. It's not completely unrealistic if the book takes off. But for a regular release, yeah. It doesn't happen very often.  "Successful" depends a lot on your format and the genre/category (for example, you don't say whether it's a novel or non-fiction you're writing.) A successful hardback debut might only sell 10,000, where the very same book in mass market paperback could sell through a first print run of 50,000 or 100,000. Again, so much depends on the book and the publisher. Obviously, the more advance money the publisher paid the author, the more likely they'll try to print a lot of copies to recoup their investment. But, again, there are the "Twilight"s of the world that just spring up and catch the public's imagination. It does happen, but *expecting* it could set you up for a disappointment.

Hope that helps. Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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