It's nearly 3 years since the first Hal Spacejock novel was released by Fremantle Press, and sometimes it's easy to forget the milestones and achievements that have cropped up along the way. (It took me over five years to find a publisher willing to take a risk on the Hal books, so forgive me if I occasionally thank my lucky stars in public.)
Anyway, I thought I'd have a little recap of the high points since publication. I can't think of any low points off the top of my head, which is high point number one.
Because there are four books in the Hal Spacejock series, I'll break this into four posts. First cab off the rank: Hal Spacejock, book one in the series.
Published September 2005, appeared in the Dymocks catalogue for that month and hit their SF bestseller list three weeks running. It peaked at #3, one spot ahead of Harry Potter 6. (Relax .. that was the HP6 version with the adult cover. The normal everyday version outsold everything else a bazillion to one.)
Earned out the advance in the first week or two. Admittedly it was a rather small advance, but that's often the case with literary houses.
Generated a large amount of positive reader comments and reviews
Penguin started selling the book into schools across Australia and New Zealand, where it's found a strong following. As a side-effect, this led to quite a number of school, public library and literary festival appearances for the author.
Made #25 on the Fantastic Planet all-time bestsellers list in 2007, and most recently was #8 on their top ten bestsellers for March 2008.
Twelve months after release, Hal Spacejock was reprinted with a new Dion Hamill cover.
Now about to undergo a third printing, and my publisher is considering binding the first chapter of Hal 2 into the back.
There are almost a thousand people on the Hal Spacejock announcements list, many of them eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting news of a US or UK release. (That's one milestone which is still eating a hole in my side.)
It's been a long journey with many speed bumps, but with the upcoming release of Hal 4 (and the possibility of a Hal 5 to come), I can feel the foundations slotting into place. Not finished yet by any means.
Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)