On this date, one year ago my book Atlas of Dark Destinations, pictured above, was released internationally. Back then I marked the occasion with this celebratory post (the date also happens to coincide with the National Day here in Austria).
At that point I was still cautiously optimistic that the book would earn me some money beyond the advance I had been given by the publishers. Unfortunately, a year on, that has still not happened. Sales have not yet fully recouped the advance, so I’ve not earned a single extra penny from it so far. I wasn’t seriously expecting the book to become an international bestseller, but given all the reassurances by the publishers at the time, I did expect it to do better than it so far has.
Of course I was quite unlucky timing-wise more than once. When I submitted the main body of the book that was before the outbreak of the pandemic, and when it was released we were heading back towards another lockdown in many countries and travel in general was severely impacted by the pandemic. Not a good time for promoting a book about travel then.
And then less than four months later, Putin unleashed his war on Ukraine, just as the pandemic was showing signs of easing off. I’ve noticed how much this war has diverted away interest in not only my book but also in my main website. For example, interview requests from the media have dwindled to a fraction of what they used to be before the start of the war in Ukraine.
And indeed parts of my book are currently no longer relevant to travellers.
In fact, I’ve sent the publishers a few updates for the chapters on Ukraine, and also the general intro chapter and that for Russia, all basically saying that those destinations are currently not reachable by (Western) tourists but that it is hoped that somehow peace may return so that those chapters can regain their relevance. These updates can be integrated into the book for when there is a second print run – which I hope will happen before too long. I’ve been told a couple of months ago that there’re still stocks of about one fifth of the first print run, so it’s slowly getting there.
While sales have not been as good as hoped, the book has otherwise been fairly well-received. Well, except for those two deliberately and maliciously bad reviews, by the same author (and for the same ulterior motive), which I’ve responded to separately here and here. For other reviews see my summary (and links) in this chapter.
Soon the Christmas season will be upon us – and although the festive mood has been dented for many not just by current affairs with chaotic politics and a vicious war (including nuclear threats), but also quite directly through the partly resultant fuel and cost-of-living crisis. Sill, if you haven’t yet done so and can halfway afford it, please do consider my book as a Christmas present to give to suitable recipients. I’m sure there must still be many out there.