A Note on My “Successful” Books

I realized after publishing the last several posts, all of which seemed to highlight the underwhelming financial performance of my first novel, The Pirate of Panther Bay, that some readers might be wondering whether I’ve been successful at all! (Short answer: yes.)

If the standard is whether my books have made money for their publishers, the answer is yes in every case except The Pirate of Panther Bay. I’m using this is a case study because I often find I learn the most when I’ve screwed up. Success often has the tendancy to wash over the weaknesses of a project. When your projects fail, you have to look at everything to figure out how to make the next project successful. And that’s they way I approach the Pirate of Panther Bay. (Also, I hope to publish its sequel, Tortuga Bay, in 2012.)

BTW, I should also emphasize that PPB was unsuccessful as a financial venture, not as a novel, story or other content related issues. Indeed, the content was very well received–for those who read it and reviewed it! Check out the reviews and readers comments at www.pantherbay.com for proof. So, the really unfortunate aspect of this project was that our business model failed to get a very good product to a wider audience.

Also, for those still wondering about the details of my past publishing experience, here is a thumbnail publishing history. All of my books have been commercially successful for their publishers even if they didn’t make me (or them) rich! They also have had significant impacts in their targeted markets, and that was the primary measure of their success for their sponsors. (Note that my books have been primarily in academic, public policy and professional markets, not fiction.)



  • Drug Policy and the Decline of American Cities (Transaction Publishers, hb 1992, pb 1994), about 2,500 copies sold, initial price $29.95 hd; 19.95 pb;

  • Planning Rules & Urban Economic Performance: The Case of Hong Kong (Chinese University Press, 1994), copies sold unknown, price n/av;

  • Smarter Growth: Market-Based Strategies for Land-Use Planning in the 21st Century (Greenwood Press, 2001), co-edited, about 500 copies sold, initial price $69 hardback only;

  • The Road More Traveled: Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What You Can Do About It (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 hb, 2008 pb), co-authored, about 5,000 copies distributed & sold, initial price $23.95 hb; $18.95 pb.

  • Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), co-authored, about 14,000 copies distributed or sold, initial price $23.95 hb.

Of course, I’m expecting to do well with the publication of my second novel, A Warrior’s Soul, beginning now! Visit www.srstaley.com and learn how you can get a 25% discount as part of our pre-order sale exclusively through www.skhquest.com.

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