Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Thoughts from a newish author

So my book has been out for a little over four months now. I was toying with the idea of writing a blog entitled 10 mad things authors do when they have a book out, like a funny list, and I started writing it, laughing and shaking my head as I typed. I was getting on quite well and it wasn’t until I finished number 5 that I started wondering if it was possible these were things only I did?

Mm, Number 6 – Paranoia.

Take Amazon for example. I check my book three of four times a day minimum, 1. To make sure it’s still there, 2. To check the ranking (though I have absolutely no idea how the ranking process works or what it means and I seem to bounce between 4,000 and 100,000 – though I’m guessing the former is better than the latter), and 3. To check where other books are that are similar in the ranking system that doesn’t mean anything anyway (though I then have to click lots on mine just in case I have given my competitors extra points by clicking on there’s).

But it doesn’t end there.

You can do an advanced search. You can type in the publisher, and then hit ‘Bestsellers’ and see where you come in the mysterious ranking system there. I was number 1 for a while, now I’m number 5. I carry on through the list, down the pages until I come to the book that was released at the same time as me. This sounds terrible, and I can’t believe I’m confessing it, but sometimes (often) if there’s a big gap between us and the other book is way down the list, I give a little yeah fist in the air. I can’t help it.

I’m not even competitive, and now I’m getting excited if I’m doing better than a book that’s nothing like mine in a ranking system that makes no sense and means nothing.

I never click on their book.

Then there’s twitter. I’m new to twitter, having avoided it mainly because I had no idea what it was all about and felt it would take far too much time to figure it out. I avoided it for two years, then spent an hour figuring it out.

It’s seriously addictive. I follow Stephen Fry, obviously, and as many writing related twitters that I can find. I even won a new release book from an Ebury Press tweet, how cool is that! (Will read and review right here in a week’s time.)

I like the different ways publishers and writers push their books—what’s the difference between a publisher and a writer? A publisher promotes books, where as a writer promotes blogs and websites.

I’m the same. I drawl in admiration when I find a writer who’s got more than a 100 followers to their blog. Now that’s a ranking that I can understand.


  1. Yes, Amazon is a mysterious entity...and addictive. :) Best of luck with your book!

  2. Great post! As for twitter followers, you'll see lots of tweets about giving things away when they get to a certain number of followers...

    For me twitter is about meeting other writers, like yourself, and getting to know what's going on in the publisher's world. Getting the right followers is always a buzz and also when a really BIG author tweets you back. Small things...

    You're right, it's really addictive but great fun.

    I wish you every success with your book and your writing too.