I just went through this year's pile of royalty statements and discovered that I've reached a very cool milestone: lifetime gross sales of my books have now topped half a million dollars and counting.
Most of that sum goes to my great publishers, of course, and gladly so: it is thanks to their investment in me that I have had the opportunity to sell books in large quantities. And my share is divided up over more than 15 years of writing seriously, so financially it's not like I've won the lottery. I still joke to my wife that she had to settle for marrying someone *named* Rich.
But still, how many people do you know whose hobby is turning into a million dollar industry? It got me thinking and reflecting about how far I've come over the years doing something I love.
How did I get there? First, watching other people succeed, and discovering that it was indeed possible for mere mortals to get published. Second, becoming a student of the genres I write in: I always was (and still am) the guy in the bookstore running his fingers along the text of other books, studying their opening hooks, paragraph structure, and core messages. Finally, and most important, I simply wanted it badly enough: even today, when I have a spare moment, the first place it goes when I'm not making eyes at my sweetie is my next book project.
Looking back on all of this, it's very cool selling half a million dollars worth of something I enjoy doing so much. (When you count books I've ghostwritten for other people, it's actually closer to three quarters of a million. But those are their books and their ideas, I was just the wordsmith.) Above all, I hope to have made a difference in the lives and communications skills of all those people curling up with a good Rich Gallagher book. Thanks everyone!