Warning: this post is long and all about publishing. Possibly boring, do not feel bad if you skip or bail.
I have this thing I do where I troll online booksellers, the NYT list, the USA Today list, and every goddamn list there is out there to follow. I watch Bookscan (nearly useless for me since it’s print books and the majority of my sales are electronic and they don’t go there). Basically I read every tea leaf I can, doing everything in my power to distill the mist surrounding sales in book publishing. I hold the lists against events I do and try to decide if that step up on Amazon was because of that great ink I got, or I wonder why the hell the day I got great ink I fell. I watch the progress of my peers’ books and the people I wish were my peers. I absorb it all, drinking input like water.
Then I go back and look at my sales, compare it to everything I just learned, and every single time I say the same thing.
I have no idea how/why any of it happens, and though I wish it were otherwise, I don’t think anybody knows.
That is basically the whole point of this post. Everything beyond this will be me illustrating my firm belief there is nothing you can do to guarantee anything, no magic bullet, no marketing plan, no nothing that replaces the crazy-making cocktail of hard work and dumb luck. I totally understand if you’re not ready to go there, if you’re clinging to your Amazon top 100 or your NYT reports or that marketing scheme you just paid $9.99 for in ebook. Whatever security blanket you need to get yourself through the hell, I am totally down with. TOTALLY. Down. So long as it makes you happy not miserable, evens you out, not insane, you go girl.
For the rest of us? The cynics, the ones whose blankets are full of holes and our heads full of stats and numbers? Come on in. The bitter brew is lukewarm, and I’ve got a cauldron full. Continue Reading →