Thanks to everyone who helped Liquid Fear break the Kindle Top 100! We're in the 70s tonight as I write this. For some reason, this time around seems a lot simpler--I did a launch but it actually made its rebound run while I was in the wilds of Kentucky and away from the Internet for three days. That means YOU did it, not me.
I was sitting in the parking lot in my rusty old truck, picking up wifi from a coffee shop when I saw it had cracked Top 100. I high-fived my daughter, but she hasn't really been impressed since she saw me at #1 in Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy last year, ahead of Stephen King and--even bigger to her--CS Lewis. Now it's just that thing Dad does. I look out the truck and the world goes on--no one really cares! They're on their own trips.
Since this was so painless, my wife and I agreed to picture the Number 27. It's a square root of three and has cool multiplication factors, so it's more fun to shoot for than 29. Disintegration hit #30 at the end of last year. It slid since then, so I know these things are ephemeral, but I also know to just enjoy it, know it will end, and know it will come back. So #27 is the goal, since I like having goals.
I was thinking today that the Amazon real-time rankings have been one of the worst things ever for writerly ego--we can tell whether people love us or hate us at any moment of the day, but worst of all, we can tell HOW MANY OTHER WRITERS YOU LIKE BETTER! No number is ever good enough. If you're #1, you know somebody's gunning up behind you. If you're 300,000 (I have a book or two way done there) you think you are crud, even if the books are awesome (and IF I WERE YOUR MONSTER is a neocult classic).
And the numbers really don't validate anything, except other numbers. They don't mean a message is valuable, or good, or helpful, or in any way instructs us or redeems the human race. The rankings have totally removed quality from the conversation. Now it's "units sold" and "rank" and "income" and I'm probably as fixated as anyone, because I run my business like a conductor, keeping every product humming in tune to fill its role in the symphony. When a lesser-known book hits a sour note, the music seems off, and it's hard to enjoy the many other wonderful harmonies. Just like when you finish writing a book--you're more likely to obsess over the thing you didn't quite nail than the hundred things that tied up nicely.
I don't know. Today I am in the Top 100. I nailed it. For a day, at least, it's in tune. Life is good. Thanks for listening.