This last month, I’ve hit the top of the Amazon charts not once, not twice, but three times. My friends and family have taken notice, and many have contacted me to express their congratulations.
It’s an awesome thing to claim the title of Amazon Bestselling Author. But if you scratch the surface, it’s not quite as glamorous as it seems.
Amazon books have thousands of categories. There are really big ones, like the overall Romance category, or other general genre ones like Paranormal, Fantasy, and Sci Fi. There are smaller ones, like Gay Romance. Then there are the really teeny tiny ones that often cross several genre lines and include sexual identities and/or story lengths.
I am currently #1 in:
Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 30 minutes (12-21 pages) > LGBT
See all those delimiters? Kindle books, not all books. The short reads subset. The 30 minute subset of short reads. And the LGBT subset of that. Which, when all is said and done on a 99 cent book, works out to about $10 in royalties. So I’m not living large on my bestseller status.
And yet I am still thrilled to death to claim the title.
In part, it’s because, yeah, it’s just really cool to be a bestselling author, even in a smaller category.
In part, it’s the wonderful realization that people like my work enough to buy it when it comes out, even if it’s not hundreds of people yet.
But here’s the most important part. Being an author is a long game. Authors who “make it” overnight with a single book are rarer than ice in the Sahara desert, and those who parlay that initial “win” into a lasting career and don’t squander their advances are even rarer.
A couple years ago, the marketing person for Dreamspinner asked me if I was more interested in generating money or gaining long term readers with my writing career. I answered immediately – I wanted readers, folks who would enjoy my work and come back to it again and again.
So for me, each new short story released is a chance to reach a few more readers, and hopefully draw them in as fans. Maybe the person who buys and enjoys “Morgan” today will buy my next novel release in October, and will become a life-long lover of my work.
And even if they don’t, I have the satisfaction of knowing I reached that person, at least once.
So yeah. I’m not getting rich re-releasing short stories for 99 cents a pop, even if they become Bestsellers. But in the long game, I hope to be rich with readers.
To my writing friends – how are you playing your long game?