Four Things I Learned from the Book’s First Month

Even Your Mother Won’t Call You Back is one month old.  That milestone causes me to note a few things I’ve learned from being a new author.

One, it’s very possible to get an impressive Kindle rank without very many sales.  Kindle ranks the universe of books for all, but if you get into the top 60,000 or so it adds the primary category rank for your book (Advertising, for this one), and if you get into the rarified air of the top 40,000 it adds sub-categories.  I hit 30,000th at one point, and had two subcategories, in which my rank looked really great (23rd in Advertising).  Only Amazon and I know how few sales that actually represented.

Two, the source of sales has been noteworthy.  My family has bought, I think, two copies, not counting mine.  I have six sisters and a brother, mom and dad still living, and two brothers-in-law.  There are 20 people that are fans of the Chris Writes Facebook page.  Let’s just say that adding those people to my sales totals would substantially increase my rankings.  Few of the people in my natural market have been buyers, though I’ve had decent sales from my company, and some from Facebook friends.  If half my friends on Facebook were to buy the book in the next week, I’d make the top thousand with ease.  Getting them to do so, as the book predicts, is impossible, without burning valuable bridges.

Three, I’ve been gratified by the reaction to the book from people that don’t have to lie to me because I sign their checks or see them at reunions (not that I think they ARE lying to me).  Notably Melanee Evans and Sam Stoneman, people I know from very different arenas in my life, have had very similar responses.  Both positive, but both also with a faint air of surprise, and genuine enthusiasm, as if they bought the book somewhat out of a sense of duty, and were pleased to find that they actually liked it.

I understand this.  It’s sort of like going to a party, and the hostess hands you a cookie, and you take it and get ready to tell her how good it is.  But then it actually IS good, and you have to repeat yourself several times so that she will understand that you mean it, and aren’t just being polite.  It’s that sort of reaction.  It’s flattering.  I do think the book is good, and useful.  I hope it is.  It’s certainly been educational for me.

Lastly, it’s been interesting the level of deference I get and the credibility I am afforded, even by people that have done approximately the same thing I have.  It’s true, doing the book has taught me things that are quite valuable.  I know how to take a book, in essentially any format, and make it Kindle-ready in a couple of hours.  I have ISBN numbers I can use for subsequent titles, mine or those of others.  I know that process.  I can design covers.  I can upload and manage the title.  I’ve now written, edited, printed, formatted, e-published and sold a book, both IRL and on the web.  That makes me an expert.

Really, though, I guess it does.  Everyone wants to write a book.  No, that’s not right.  Everyone wants to have written a book.  The daunting part used to be getting a publisher and a contract, and the assumption was that most people didn’t write because they didn’t want to go through the hassle and then ultimately fail to get published.  There’s something to that, but not as much as I used to think.  Now, the publishing hurdle can be overcome with a couple of pieces of software and two hours’ work.  What stops people now is that they actually don’t write.  They think they want to; then it turns into work and they discover that the reason they aren’t writers is that they don’t like writing very much.

I’ve done it, though.  I got all the way through.  I thought it would be a monumental task, but like many other such tasks, I discover that it’s much more impressive on the front end than the back.  If you haven’t done it, it looks like a real bugger.  Once you have, though, it just looks like work, and not particularly hard work, at that.  I get a lot of people giving me credit, more than I deserve, I believe.  Just because I FINISHED.

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