Taking My Wins Where I Can
I read this article on the Washington Post about humble bragging and how it can make people not like you. You know, those people who say things on Facebook like:
“Reeealllly wanted this cute shirt from Express but they only had a size 2 and it was too big for me. Hmmpphh.”
Yeah. We’ve all seen those posts. Usually when we are stuffing a third donut in our mouths and feeling really dirty about it already.
Then there’s the flip side, or as I like to call it nowadays, the Trump side. There is nothing humble about Trump bragging. Here’s a man who at his announcement he’s running for president (otherwise known as ensuring The Daily Show will continue to exist at least through November 2016) can’t stop talking about how rich he is. We get it. You’re rich.
As an independent author, you generally aren’t used to having much to brag about. “Oh, I sold six copies this month!” or “Somebody read 18 pages of my book they borrowed from Amazon Prime!” See? Not that impressive. So we take our wins where we can. Unless you are Hugh Howey and are the most successful independent author in the history of independent authoring of anything.
So, over the July 4th holiday weekend an odd thing happened. I’ve been ‘promoting’ my newest book, Ballyvaughan, and by promoting I mean nonstop tweeting and facebook posting about it and stopping people in Whole Foods to tell them about it and doing that circle motion with my arm to the people in the car next to me at red lights to roll their windows down so I can tell them about this great new book that I just happened to write. In the middle of this I did a free promotion through Amazon for the Kindle version of my first novel, The South Coast, (see how I keep linking to my books so you can easily click over and buy it?) where over 3,000 free copies were downloaded over two days.
During the free promotion and the incredible response I got (largely because I nonstop tweeted and facebook posted about it) I hit #1 in FREE Kindle books for Crime Fiction. That’s not bad. Of all the free Kindle books about Crime Fiction, more were downloading mine for free than anyone elses. I’ll take that as a win. I mean, that’s 3,000 + people who likely have never heard of me before that now have my book buried away on their Kindle (along with 200 other free books they’ve downloaded and likely will never read). But, maybe with some luck they will actually read it someday.
Then I noticed something. I was #98 on the PAID books (print and Kindle combined) for the Private Investigators category! What! I was in the Top 100 along with James Patterson, Sue Grafton, Robert Galbrieth (JK Rowlings alter ego pseudonym) and other big names in crime fiction. I was ecstatic. So of course I began to nonstop tweet and facebook post about it. Then I was #77. Then I was #45.
About 4:45 in the afternoon I checked again and I was #20. That’s on the first page of results for the Top 100. That meant I was actually ABOVE several of James Patterson’s books since he has like forty books on the Top 100 at any given time.
Tweet. Post. Tweet. Refresh, still #20. Refresh, then #33.
The slow fall back down the charts began. Three days later and I’m still #82 and during that time I sold more Kindle copies of The South Coast (yup, did it again) than I had in the first six months after it was released in 2013.
As I watched it go down the charts I found myself getting depressed, coming off of the high of having been a ‘best seller’. Then I stopped and thought about it. I’m an independent author with a marketing budget of roughly $40 per year, and I became #20 on a Top 100 chart on Amazon. My book cover sat side by side with James Patterson and within a few spaces of Sue Grafton and JK Rowling/Robert Galbreith.
So about that, I’m going to brag.
Available on Amazon.com: