My first two books, The Buffalo War and Apaches, garnered mostly favorable notices, but did not, at first, find much of an audience. Partly this was because, at Doubleday, the first book came out in the same department and same catalog as JAWS, and the second one came out in the same department and same catalog as Roots. Ever since, I tell people I don't go skiing in winter; I've already been in two avalanches.
The occasion of Texas' 150th anniversary of independence gave me the opportunity to do something more commercial—an oversized volume featuring 250 old daguerreotypes and photographs, text composed largely of original first-person accounts, and a chance to insist on a publicity budget.
The result was an all-in-Texas 45-city book tour—on a shoestring, mostly driven in my 1980 Datsun 200SX—but no matter, the result dazzled the publicity department at Doubleday, with a sale of about 12,000 books on a promotional budget of $3,000. I tasted my first commercial success and began to be known as a competent speaker and lecturer.
After three printings in hardcover, St. Martin's Press purchased the paperback license, and also, since Doubleday had just been taken over by Bertelsmann Gesellschafft Verein and my editor had hit the sidewalk, they acquired my services for a second volume.