A few months back, I wrote about goal-setting and all the “ought to”s that authors get hit with. And then a couple months after that, I wrote about rules and the surprising number of completely arbitrary rules I was being told to follow. (I might have been a little nicer in my description than ‘completely arbitrary’, but maybe not, too.)
I based my ideas about self-publishing on the ought-tos and the rules and the advice all over the place. Not that I did any of the ought-tos or followed the rules, but my conclusion was essentially that I shouldn’t worry about Ghosts, because unless I worked way, way, way harder than I intended to, and did a bunch of things that didn’t remotely interest me, no one would ever really buy it.
Note, please, that I love Ghosts. Truly, madly, deeply. I think it’s a terrific little book, I think Akira and Zane are great characters, I love the way the story unfolds. But every author feels that way about her work! An author’s opinion is worth nothing.
And my editor side is pragmatic. In the gigantic sea of slush that is Amazon, even good little fishes get eaten by…drat, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten what eats Nemo’s mom. Ah, a barracuda! Yes, the barracudas munch down even really nice little fish. Although, really, that’s a pretty tangled metaphor, since it’s more like the nice little fish starve because the big fish get all the food. Ghosts is a nice little fish, and I fully expected it to starve. I truly thought that I’d be thrilled every day I made a sale, and that if I sold 100 books in my first year, I’d feel lucky.
I do feel lucky. But I also feel, more than ever, that the ought-tos ought to be ignored and the rules ought to be broken. Although, I suppose (my editor side at work again) that it’s possible that if I had followed all those ought-tos and all those rules, I’d be rich by now. But you know, I don’t really think so. I think I would have made my life difficult and stressful and miserable, and instead of feeling lucky to be where I am, I’d be feeling anxious about not doing better.
Anyway, today A Gift of Ghosts made it onto a paid Amazon bestseller list for the first time. It’s the Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Genre Fiction > Romance > Fantasy, Futuristic, Ghosts list, so yes, we can call it a niche and it looks as if it hit 80 but has now started to drop, so we’re not exactly heading into big money territory, but still. Yay, Ghosts!
If I’m counting correctly (always possible that I’m not), it sold 43 copies on Monday and Tuesday. I used a free day on Saturday, so it might have been the carryover from that.
Regardless of why it sold, though, my conclusions are twofold: 1) don’t believe the people who tell you all the things you must do and all the rules you have to follow and 2) don’t believe the people who tell you it doesn’t matter what you do because you won’t sell any until you have lots of books available, either.
And now, back to writing Thoughts. I discovered recently because of advice from my friend Tim that Sylvie is not my protagonist and neither is Dillon! In fact, it’s possible that Sylvie is my antagonist. I’m still trying to see how that plays out, but it definitely means some early revising needs to happen. (It seems really weird to me that your protagonist and antagonist could wind up with an HEA, but it looks as if that’s the direction I’m headed — since Lucas is the only character who’s quite clear about a goal, he’s the protagonist. Funny, huh?)