I'm sure the minute I post this dairy, I'll jinx it, but for the past 20 hours or so, I've been No. 1 on the Nook bestseller list at Barnes & Noble, oddly above such names as Bill O'Reilly, James Patterson, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, the Fifty Shades of Grey woman and even Stephen Colbert. (You're currently 1,498, Stephen. Please don't hurt me.)
I say oddly because I've been publishing steadily for the past 20 years and never hit No. 1, never been close.
It's a sad, sweet romance about abandoned children needing a home at Christmas. (Yes, I write romance. If you could refrain from saying "bodice ripper" in this diary, I'd appreciate it. I'm celebrating.)
The really cool part is that after being traditionally published, as we say now, much in the way we at DK say "traditional media" or "corporate media," I walked away form my publisher last year.
They were trying to really screw authors on e-book royalties, and I was tired of it. They also did a really mean rights grab to claim ownership of books contracted before there was such a thing as an e-book -- something we're fighting them on right now in a class-action lawsuit.
So these books are Indie published. :) Makes me so damned happy. Indie pubbing has done more for me now than traditional publishing ever did, and that's a great feeling.
The book at No. 1 is part of a four-book series, and right now, all four are in the Top 100 at B&N.
Three of the books were originally published by Penguin/Putnam, or whatever they're calling themselves these days. Two are pretty much as they were originally published. One I rewrote a bit and the 4th book in the series is an original title. No big publisher ever did a thing with that one.
I wish I could say it was all my brilliant writing, but the truth is, it was a combination of luck, networking with other smart writers, professional packaging, 20 years of hard work, the talent to be a finalist for our version of the Emmy's or the Oscars with one of the books, and being in the right place at the right time.
Indie books have been on bestseller lists all year, and someone at B&N took a chance on featuring an Indie-pubbed series in one of B&N's top Promo slots earlier in the year. That author's books did well, so the B&N person was willing to feature another Indie author, and I got the slot. Just pitched the book to her, after hearing about the promo from the Indie author who got the first slot, and the B&N employee picked mine for a slot this October.
So what you're seeing, me at No. 1 and four books in the Top 100, is the work of a prime promo slot, more than anything else. Oh, I believe the books are selling very well, and that has something to do with me and my writing, plus the whole package from covers to back cover copy to reviews. But I wouldn't be there in the first place without B&N's help. (Of course, those other authors on the list got great promo slots, too, probably. Bestsellers are most always made by promotional spots from booksellers, for books pushed by big publishers.)
Anyway, I wanted to share my news.
Please consider this an open thread for any questions anyone has about publishing or writing fiction. I'll do my best to answer.
Forgot, cool DK connection: In fourth book in this series, Five Days Grace, one of the main characters is a veteran. A Navy guy. I knew he'd been in Iraq or Afghanistan. I knew he'd been hurt and was still recovering. But I just didn't have a good handle on the character until I read a dairy here: JoeSig's account of the memorial for the SEALs killed in the helicopter shot down in 2010.
Really helped me get the character.
Update: Thanks, guys. I was at a small writers' conference in Florida when the promo started, so it was one of those rare times when I had other writers all around me when good news came in. Usually, you're all alone with your computer at those times.
Oddly enough, right before my book went to No. 1, a good friend who's been writing for more than ten years sold her first book at that conference. I've never heard of that happening, not in 20 years as a published writer. She'd submitted her work ahead of time and the editor happened to be attending the same conference and, I'm sure, thought it would be so nice to give someone that news in person.
So we celebrated both things.
And then today, all four books climbed into the Top 100, and I thought about sharing the news here.
It really is crazy.
Publishing is changing so fast right now, it's no telling what will happen, and I'm so excited to be a writer right now.