As noted in my last post, my novel Sensation actually broke into the Top 100 in its Fantasy category last week, debuting at No. 97. I was tremendously excited and was barely able to focus on anything else.
Over the next few days, I watched it climb steadily higher in both wide-eyed surprise and white-knuckled anticipation. They like me! They really like me! I thought. After all, I only just put the novel on Kindle at the beginning of May, so I felt extraordinarily blessed to have found an audience so soon.
When I woke up yesterday morning, I checked and saw that I was up to #2. Excellent! I thought and gave my wife the good news. As I drove to work, I tried to imagine what it might feel like if I ever reached the top spot, but it's one of those things that you can't quite get your arms around because it would be so surreal. Around that time I got a call from my wife.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, are you going to call me, text me, what?"
"Babe, I don't know what I'll do. I'll probably go into shock."
A short time later I was in my office pulling up the rankings, and that's when I saw it:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
I was No. 1. Numero uno. All I could do was just stare at the screen for about 5 minutes. Then I got up, calmly closed the door to my office, and did the Happy Dance.
Okay, I didn't do the Happy Dance, but I was excited enough that I would have done it if someone had asked me to. I sent my wife the requisite text and then just kind of sat back in awe. This was something I had prayed for (and GOD had been kind enough to answer that prayer), but it happened so exceedingly fast that I wasn't quite able to wrap my head around it or the implications. What exactly does it mean to get the top slot? I figured that it might result in additional sales, give me greater exposure, and so on, but what did it mean in the grand scheme of things?
Does it mean that I'm a good writer? Does it mean that I'm a successful writer? Does this validate me as an author? It kind of put me in mind of that old movie Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, where a guy gets everything he wants professionally and discovers that the things he thought were important are actually empty and meaningless. In short, it felt good (fan-freakin'-tastic, actually) to be #1, but the meaning behind it all seemed elusive.
After a while, I just gave up on trying to figure it out and decided to enjoy the ride while it lasted. I'm an author, and this is what I do. It's great that my work is resonating and finding an audience and I recognize how lucky that is, because there are lots of other authors with more talent than myself who simply haven't struck the right chord yet with readers. However, I think as long as they enjoy what they are doing and put their hearts into it, eventually they will find success.
Ultimately, I like to think that being #1 means that people are getting as much joy out of reading my work as I am getting out of writing it. And as to enjoying the ride while it lasted, that turned out to be about a day-and-a-half:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
I'm back at #2. However, if you look at my rank in the Paid Kindle Store, it's actually a lot better than it was when I hit number one - #5,361 vs. #9,731. This again kind of comes back to what it really means to be No.1. Was I better off before with the #1 ranking, or at #2 but with better stats in the Kindle Store? Personally, I prefer the latter; being #2 in this instance has greater value. As someone once said, everything's relative. That said, I'm truly grateful for the support I've received, and I hope the audience for my work keeps growing.