I have been battling rl stuff (move preparation and kids with the flu) so my writing and editing, as I suspected it would this month, has ground to a halt. This morning, in between sanitizing my house post some upset stomachs, and making some mad dashes to the bathroom (yes, I know my life is soooo glamorous) I went over to Dean Wesley Smith’s* site to see what posts he has done since my last check in (about a week ago I think). His post was short, but linked to Kristine Rusch’s post on Bestseller Lists, and Joe Konrath’s post The Myth of the Bestseller.
Now I’ve heard, for quite some time actually, that the bestseller lists were not entirely accurate portrayals of who/what is selling well. Kris breaks it down very well (IMO) and the commentors are as informative as her post itself.
I’m not too familiar with Konrath’s blog, I’ve found his manner a bit brusque at times in the past, and the swearing does make me cringe (which is weird because I am worse than a sailor when it comes to swearing) but he’s very informative and well worth taking a read through his posts if you don’t already. I don’t totally agree with his delivery ;), but that’s personal preference. That said, his post was exactly what I needed to read and I suggest you read it too.
Any writer who puts food on the table with their writing is successful. It doesn’t matter if it is a box of mac and cheese, or caviar and champagne. Taking your career into your own hands, giving it your best shot, striving to do better… that’s the American Dream, baby.
Are the bestseller lists important? I can’t answer that. For the brownie points, for the thrill of saying “I made it! Looksee!”, well if that what geeks you out then sure, they’re important. I can’t comment on the money side of it as I, personally, do not know authors who are on bestsellers lists and are willing to discuss their finances with me. I have however read about bestsellers who are still struggling to pay the bills.
Are the lists important to me?
I don’t honestly know how to answer that question. In the past I wanted to see one of my stories on the NYT Bestseller’s list. Why? Because I erroneously thought that would show that I was a success. But lately it doesn’t seem to matter because those lists rarely contain books I actually would want to read. Now? It would certainly feed my ego to say “I was #____ on the NYT Bestseller List”, I won’t lie, that sort of thing would have me grinning for a month. But I don’t need that list to validate me being a success.
I AM a success. I have written and I continue to write, and I have published my work. It is up, available. And people seem to like it, I’m selling a bit. And what is really cool is it will be available to readers. For as long as I choose it to be. If I don’t sell a huge amount in the first week of putting it up, I won’t have to worry about my publisher not picking up my next story. I’m not going to fire me. 😛
I’m putting mac n cheese on the table man! 😀
As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome. And thanks to Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Rusch and Joe Konrath for sharing their experiences in publishing with the rest of us. Have a great day peoples!
ooo Bonus link: 25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents.