John's experience jibes very well with mine, although--being in paperback--I'm in a slightly different place in terms of selling through my advance. Which is to say, based on the limited information at my disposal (get back to me in September; I'll have some real news for you then) Hammered is doing pretty well for a first novel. Quite possibly, better overseas than in America, which isn't entirely unexpected--I've heard from various sources (emails from booksellers and friends, mostly) that it's been on bestseller lists at SF bookstores in the UK, Australia, Canada, and, um, Minneapolis. Which might, in fact, qualify as another country--although all of the wenches I know in the twin cities are in at least moderately good health, last I checked.
I know the book went to a second printing, based on pre-orders. I know I have to sell around 15,000 copies to sell through my advance, which amounts to a little bit less than 50% of what's in print.
On the other hand, I also know that it's a trilogy, and each book is going to sell fewer copies than the last. So... a third printing wouldn't hurt. (Me? Greedy? Um. Yes.)
50% sellthrough on a mass market paperback is pretty good. And pre-orders were good; the books are out there. So now it's just a waiting game, seeing if the readers find it, and like it, and tell their friends about it--and seeing if Spectra is going to pick up my next book.
And it's more or less out of my control. All I can do is write the best books I can figure out how to write, and get the hell out of the way. It can be a bit nervewracking, especially if you're a bit of a control freak.
You just sort of put your fate firmly in the hands of the higher power of your choice and go work on the next thing. And then the next thing. And then the one after that.
Which reminds me, gotta get another fifty pages or so on that CEM today. And do some more critting. And maybe see if the Tindalosi New Yorker story is ripe yet....
And reread Blood & Iron and The Stratford Man before I start work on Whiskey & Water. Hmm. Maybe if I stall long enough, I'll sell the first one, and l'agent will get back to me with notes on the second, and I'll have to reread them/refresh myself on them/rewrite them.
That would be convenient....