Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Top 100 Ego Trip

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.

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9 comments:

Brenda said...

I'm so excited, Scott! I just got through checking and saw it at 78. You did it again! I'm also glad it happened to you while you were relaxing. I am about 2/3 into Liquid Fear and am enjoying it immensely. Number 27 has always been a lucky number for me so you and Lexie picked a good one. Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. :)

Nicholas La Salla said...

Congrats, Scott! You act all humble, but you work HARD, man, and you earned it. :-)

I made it to #12 of the Hot New Bestsellers in the Ghosts subgenre today! Pretty stoked about that. I sold 3 copies in a single day, but by golly it's a start and I was pretty proud of accomplishing even that much.

You're in no small part an inspiration. Thank you for doing what you do and kicking boatloads of ass while you do it.

Best,

Nick
One More Day: A Modern Ghost Story

author Scott Nicholson said...

thanks Brenda and Nick, I do work hard but I hope you're having as much fun as I am--that's really all you have in the end!

Scott

PV Lundqvist said...

That's awesome! So happy for you.

I wouldn't worry about your kids book, just yet. How many kids own Kindles? Like 12?

Nicholas La Salla said...

Actually my 13 year old son reads on the Kindle. Not very often, but he does.

Most of the time he's playing those damn apps and wasting all my precious battery juice.

My precious . . .

My precious . . .

Nick

author Scott Nicholson said...

my 11-yr-old loves it. The kids' books are more for 5-8, for parents and grandparents to read to them. I have an ad campaign coming up themed "Share your love of Kindle with your kid." It may be too early in the curve, but it's worth a try.

Scott

Brenda said...

Thinking Kindle rattles would be great for infants. ;)

author Scott Nicholson said...

chew toys!

Monster A Go-Go said...

New covers, huh? Golly, don't tell me you are seriously considering the sexy goat porn cover ideas again. How many times do I have to talk you OUT of doing that?