The indie movement has launched a new measure of "success"--the number of downloads. It doesn't matter whether they are free, 99 cents, or $4.99, and it works like this:
"Gee, I had 1,700 downloads last month!" You don't see Stephen King going around bragging about his numbers. But it also doesn't mean much without context. If you gave away 1,700 copies, that has almost zero value right now, unless it's the Gateway Drug to other purchases. If you sell 10,000 downloads at 99 cents, you made less than the person who sold 1,700 downloads at $2.99. So who's "bigger and better"?
If it's a newer writer, I can understand the exuberance, because the ebook era seems like a miracle after years and years of carefully controlled distribution, when your sales numbers were set in stone the moment an agent said hello to an editor. But it's also easy to sound like you are either bragging or insecure. I shared some end-of-year numbers and I shared on Konrath blog once, more to support the point that people can make a living at this, and now I regret having done it, because it feeds the whole notion of "How much I earn is how good of a writer I am."
"Units moved" has become the new currency of ego that used to be "I GOT AN AGENT!" And money is another currency of ego. I'm guilty of it myself. When I see somebody's raw numbers, I instinctively compare mine, even though consciously all I care about is how I'm doing, not how well I'm doing in relation to other people. In fact, the less I pay attention to other writers' performance, the generally happier I am, because all that matters are my readers and the work in progress.
Maybe that's human nature, and this "Currency of the ego" is an idea I'm exploring in my spiritual philosophy, so hopefully I'll revisit the topic. In the meantime, feed my ego and buy my books. And, by the way, the 3/15 Tweet for gift certificate is for The Skull Ring. All you have to do is RT the book link and you will be entered for a $10 gift certificate:
#mystery The Skull Ring by Scott Nicholson for #kindle http://amzn.to/9Ii8kC and #nook http://bit.ly/hzGa5Y $2.99 #books