There are a lot of things I’ve learned since going indie with STORM IN A TEACUP and planning to follow with the rest of my UF books for the foreseeable future. I’ve learned that just because you can check your sales every day (or erm…hour) doesn’t mean you should. I’ve learned that Amazon’s algorithm is an interesting little beast. I’ve grown a renewed appreciation for math and data that I thought died a horrible death in high school algebra class.
On Friday I enrolled myself in KDP Select, because frankly, the handful of Barnes and Noble sales I’ve gotten were just about enough to fit in both hands. Within a day, my rank had catapulted into the 5,000s and then into the 2,000s, and I was ranking in my browse categories for the first time with this book. Today I’m ranking in the main UF category around Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne and…and….okay. O_O
And the other huge thing? I realized that Storm had passed 1000 sales.
None of those things happened with my debut.
For me, the biggest thing right now is a strange sense of pride. Not strange in that it’s weird to feel proud of selling 1000 books, but strange in that I can most liken it to accomplishing a new, difficult task for the first time as a child. Like learning how to tie your shoe, or getting your legs to cooperate in the triple jump in track practice. It’s also somehow like the way I felt living in Poland when I would be talking to a native Polish speaker in Polish and realized after an hour that all that time had passed and I was understood. We had had an exchange of ideas in a language I wasn’t born into. With Storm, it’s a sense of looking out there at readers and knowing somehow I reached them. I did this. I made a thing. I got to them myself, and they’re responding.
There’s been a sense of relief this weekend that is hard to quantify — after fourteen years of knowing writing was the thing I wanted to do and ten of grasping my way toward publication and six of writing full time in addition to a full time job, seeing my book selling steadily feels the same of having someone confirm that they saw the lights flicker too. I’m not imagining it. It’s real. It’s happening. It’s not all in my head.
A sense of maybe, of possibility, of hoping.
None of this is to say that this happened all because of me — far from it. There are 80 people who saved me in December, and a couple hundred more who form a community that I could not have gotten through 2014 without. Those people sharing and reviewing and talking about my book is the only reason others outside that sphere are finding it. I’ll never stop being grateful for that.
The relief and the “I made dis” doesn’t come from having poofed something into existence and had people flail at it. It comes from a decade of working within a framework where if I wanted to share my stories with readers, I had to be a camel and fit through the eye of a needle, because they only existed on the other side of that little metal hole.
The relief and the “I made dis” comes (belatedly) from realizing that a needle is a narrow object, and it doesn’t take all that much to, you know, walk around it and get to the other side. That may sound like utter bollocksy common sense to you all, but…well. Let it never be said that my tenacity hasn’t ever taken skin off my back.
I’m still trying to thread that needle with other projects, but I can’t quite explain the relief I feel knowing that my books can find readers without it.
There are many roads to readers, and mine may have been a bit roundabout and still ongoing, but I found one. I feel like a big girl now.