When you write a book, publish it and send it out into the world to seek its fame and fortune, numbers become a huge part of your life. Of course, I’m speaking from an indie author’s point of view, but I can’t think it’s that different for those who follow the traditional route.
You stop by Amazon almost daily, just to see where your book falls among the tens of thousands of others. You check to see if you’ve broken into the top ten or the top one hundred. And if you’re doing a free promo day, watch out: then the fur really flies. You have a real chance of cracking the top lists. . and we won’t even go into the download numbers.
Numbers are great. When they’re in my favor, I’m more than happy to talk them up! But they’re also capricious and unpredictable, and in the end, they don’t mean that much.
I was thrilled that Fearless was the number one contemporary fantasy for four days during its recent promotion. I was giddy when it stayed in the top 100 even after the promo ended. But if I based my entire satisfaction in my writing life on the lists and numbers, I’d be pretty despondent most of the time.
On the other hand, this weekend I received three wonderful, excited emails from three different young girls who had read both Fearless and Breathless. They loved the books. They loved the characters. They can’t wait for the release of the third book. They want to know what happens next. And their enthusiasm reminded me that I write for them, not for numbers.
I’ll be ecstatic if my books do well in the numbers game, when I see them climb the lists. But I’d rather have a single email from a girl telling me how much this story meant to her than I would a solid month on the bestsellers list.
Numbers are a game, but those emails are what it’s really all about.