I hope you can hear the music behind that title. (What show was that, anyway?) And get the big happy chuckle in my voice.
But it’s true. As of this morning, and probably for about the next five minutes, I am the number one novelist on all of Amazon.com, and I’ve got the screen shots to prove it. Here’s what happened.
If you’re reading this you probably know that my latest novel is BRISTOL HOUSE from Viking Penguin, published last April. And maybe you also know that three weeks ago I self-published my novel MOLLIE PRIDE, which is now out of print in hard copy so I brought it out as an e-book, the first of what I’m calling my E-pub Encore collection. Well, yesterday morning, Tuesday, August 13th, I woke up and checked where MOLLIE PRIDE was in the Amazon ratings (the author’s Dow Jones as it’s been called). A very disappointing high eighties number. It’s really hard to gain visibility and traction when you don’t have a big publishing house behind you. I knew that going in, but hey, it’s a really good book. I’m proud of it, and I figured it was worth a shot.
Those numbers I was checking are graded on a curve. They indicate how the book is selling in regards to all other books. (Over-all and in various categories, in my case historical fiction.) Thanks to technology they change every hour. And like most authors I can’t resist frequent checks. Around noon yesterday when I looked again, MOLLIE PRIDE had suddenly jumped to the low teens. An hour later it was in four figures… I was, to use that great British phrase, gob-smacked.
Then I scrolled down the page and saw that my author ranking, something I look at much less frequently and which is usually in the thousands had also changed dramatically. I was number 9 in Historical Fiction. The ninth best selling author in my genre on the site of the great god Amazon. Are you kidding me???
I called downstairs to my husband.
I went online and shared the news with a bunch of author buddies.
And I Skyped my daughter-in-law. And a few other friends and family.
Because I am an idiot and not a natural self-marketer, I forgot to Tweet. Or to let my agent know. Much less my publisher.
Of course I kept checking. MOLLIE PRIDE was doing better and better. BRISTOL HOUSE was doing better. It did not occur to me to check any other book… By bedtime I was number four among authors.
When I woke up this a.m. I found two astonishing facts. (You’re not surprised that I checked first thing, are you?) I was number one across the board. The number one ranked author. I could not figure it out. Then I picked up my e-mail and thank you, thank you Alice Tucci, the explanation was waiting.
I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Alice online or off, but she did me the enormous kindness of writing to tell me that earlier the previous day she had seen a special promotion of my novel CITY OF DREAMS, (thank you, too, Simon & Schuster) and she had bought it and it then occupied her for the rest of the day. She just wanted to tell me how much she’d enjoyed it. I am always thrilled to get such correspondence. This one was truly a revelation. My AHA! moment.
I looked at the CITY OF DREAMS page and there it was. This novel that I began writing in the late 1990′s, and that was published with great enthusiasm in 2001 (unfortunately a few days after 9/11, when Simon & Schuster and I and everyone else had many more serious things to be concerned about), that novel is the reason I have shot to the top of the rankings. At this moment CITY OF DREAMS is the number one selling novel on the site of the biggest retailer of books in the world.
I have been telling stories literally since I could talk. Great long and involved recountings of things I swore really happened when of course everyone knew I was making stuff up. Fortunately I became a novelist rather than a pathological liar. And over the years I’ve learned to make my stories a bit more believable than the tales I wove at the age of six. I would never, never, make up a story like the one I’m relating here. No one would believe it. Least of all me. But sweet, sweet, sweet… for however long it lasts, it’s true.
Thank you one and all. And dreams really do come true… That one is down to Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz. If you can remember the origins of the line of song I used for the title of this blog, please e-mail me at Beverly@BeverlySwerling.com. I’ll send a free copy of the Kindle e-book edition of MOLLIE PRIDE to five of you who do.