1,878 Books Sold

August, 2022: 1,878 copies of Henry’s books on Hare Krishna history have been sold since January 2018, when Killing For Krishna was published. To date, Amazon has sold 1,405 books, and Henry has sold (or given away) 473 books personally.

Henry explained:

I am so grateful for all those people who have purchased my Hare Krishna history books. I feel as if I am indebted to you. I am grateful to you, and I hope some of you at least are grateful to me for the thousands of hours of diligent research I put into these books.

I hesitated to reveal actual amounts of books sold. (Who does that?) So now, you can plainly see I am not a best-selling author. But I am extremely happy that nearly 1,900 people have been interested in my books. You can see I’m just a nobody, as far as book sales go, but I don’t mind, because my books have an extremely limited range of interested readers; mostly current and former Hare Krishna devotees and also scholars who study New Religious Movements. And I have no publicity machine, except for Facebook. Most people find out about my books from word of mouth.

You can see I’m not making much money on these books, considering production expenses which I pay myself (and vast amounts of time involved). However, I am not losing money, and this I interpret as a sign from Krishna that there is value in my books, despite their faults (and there are many). Once again, thank you, and Hare Krishna.

Amazon also tells me where the books are sold. To date, 1002 books have been sold in the United States, 146 in the U. K., 80 in Germany, 68 in Italy (thanks to Lucia Ballerini and her Italian translation of Killing For Krishna), 47 in Canada, 22 in India, 19 in Australia, 11 in Spain, 7 in France, 2 in Brazil, and 1 in Japan.

P. S. Actually GGG3 is in 4th place, with 85 copies sold. Amazon made me discontinue the book due to a technicality and relist it, so there are two listings, one live and one dead.

Suresh Persaud (Chand Prasad), who wrote the Forewords to GGG3 and GGG9, commented on the success (and possible danger) Henry has had selling his Hare Krishna history books:

It’s interesting that Henry Doktorski sold as many books as he has, particularly since he does not have the backing and marketing expertise of literary agents and a publishing house.

Literary agents receive a percentage of the advance the author gets from the publishing house, as well as commission from book sales. Obviously, traditional publishing houses also make money from book sales. Both agents and publishers have a vested interest in skewing the manuscript to enhance revenues. The author may scarcely recognize his manuscript after all of the intermediaries are done massaging it.

Henry Doktorski’s books are not written to provoke shock. Lack of sensationalism limits readership. Doktorski considers different and conflicting perspectives on a given issue, effectively challenging the readers to weigh competing arguments and form their own conclusions. The readers have to do quite a bit of the work. The truth of the matter is that most people just don’t want to exert that type of effort, meaning that it’s not realistic to expect a massive audience, unless you’re willing to dumb down the books.

Perhaps one way to increase readership without introducing sensationalism and partisanship is to conceptualize the GGG series as case studies of a broader set of issues. The Foreword to GGG7 is useful, in part because Eric Johanson Prabhu transitions from the general to the specific. His opening clause grabs the reader’s attention: “The search for truth can take spiritual seekers to unexpected places.” The Forewords for GGG3 and GGG9 also begin with relatively general statements about the human condition, before proceeding to specific components of these volumes. Why should non-Hare Krishnas care about the GGG series? The Forewords argue for the broader relevance of Doktorski’s work, thereby addressing the “so what” question.

Years ago, I managed a large forecasting system for an energy company in Texas. My boss told me that my results must be unbiased. My boss also told me that if you are unbiased, then you maximize the number of people that will shit all over you. On the other hand, if you are partisan, then at least one group will support you. Although Doktorski’s books tend to focus on New Vrindaban, his good faith attempts to be nonpartisan have the potential to to “offend” just about everyone’s guru in ISKCON. Doktorski’s literary output has reached formidable proportions. My forecast is that ISKCON leaders will increasingly shit on Henry. It’s a badge of honor.

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