Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Bestseller - Insecure Writers Support Group

The first Wednesday of the month is devoted to an article about the writing life for the Insecure Writers Support Group. In also keeping with the A-Z Challenge,  today’s letter is B, for Bestseller.

I recently became a bestselling author. No, I didn’t make any of the “lists.” When authors say “bestseller list,” they generally mean the New York Times and USA Today. Hitting those lists and being able to put that designation on your books is like grabbing the brass ring. It’s a great goal to reach for and it’s a mark of success that’s recognized in the writing world.

But as writers, we too often despair of making those lists, and beat ourselves up if we don’t. Goals are good, but we also need to stop and pat ourselves on the back occasionally for reaching other important milestones. For me, “bestselling” meant that in March I had my best selling month ever and reached a personal milestone of selling more books in one month than ever before. Some authors sell more than my number in 3 minutes. But where I might lament selling so “few”, I was quickly reminded by another author, also just starting out, like me, that she would KILL to sell that many.

Writers tend to be their own worst critics and we set high standards for ourselves. We need to remember to celebrate the journey as well. Celebrate all the small steps that lead to making those lists. Finishing a chapter. Finishing a book. Surviving a tough round of revisions. Publishing a book. Making sales, no matter how many. 
Let’s chat: If you’re a writer, is making a bestseller list one of your goals (or have you already made it?) Do you celebrate milestones, and if so, how (mine always includes cake!)? If you’re a reader, does “bestselling author” on the cover impact what you buy? Do you check the bestseller lists for new books?

Our theme this month is favorite books and authors. Today's "B" list:

L.B. Beckett: Guild of Spies: A fantastical Victorian-feeling adventure with steampunk elements in an almost real place, in an almost real time.

Byron: star of the Cassa novels by Alex J,Cavanaugh, sci fi military space opera action!
Steve Berry: Action thrillers with a good dose of history and exotic locations, for fans of Dan Brown
Lisa Brackmann: Thrillers with wonderfully gritty realism, complex characters, and exotic locations.

Trophy image courtesy of digitalart /


Liza said...

Great advice. Don't compare ourselves to others, just do our best and we will reach OUR goals. Thanks!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Love this! Yes, comparing ourselves to others is a sure ticket to unhappy feelings.

Kat Sheridan said...

Good morning Liza and Optimistic! One of the things I like best about writing is all the wonderful other writers I've met. But it can be so tempting to look at others' success and think we don't measure up. I always try to remember that I'm on a ladder climbing to success, and I should have one hand reaching up to ask for help from those ahead of me, and one hand reaching back to help those still coming along with their own struggles.

Brandon Ax said...

Personal goals are the best way to stay happy. Tons of problems come in when we start comparing ourselves with others. Great post.

Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Personal bests are just as important!
It was cool to hit the Amazon best seller lists with my books, but what matters more is the amount of people now enjoying my books.
And thanks for mentioning Byron!

Chrys Fey said...

We really are our own worse critics. We really need to learn to let up and to celebrate all of our achievements no matter how small they may seem. If we can't celebrate the small things, how will we ever be able to appreciate it when we do make it as NYT Bestsellers?

~Sia McKye~ said...

I think it's human nature to do some comparisons but I agree, if one is always comparing ones work to another, one never sees the good in their own.

On this writing journey it is important to celebrate the successes we garner. Gives even more incentive to write. Makes you feel good. We need that.

cleemckenzie said...

Some interesting B characters you chosen!

Sharon Himsl said...

It really is a journey. I try not to get hung up on the statistics. Just getting published is goal enough for me right now! But you have the right attitude. I need to remember that when I do. People will judge me by the numbers, but how I judge myself and success will matter most of all. Thanks!

Kat Sheridan said...

Thank you for stopping by, folks! I really like that we're all on our own journey. Any advice for when those inevitable green-eyed monsters DO pop up? (generally, my comfort/reward of choice is cake!)

Alex, I have the first Cassa on my e-reader, just looking for the time to sit back and enjoy it!

Kat Sheridan said...

Cleemckenzie, glad you liked my "B" books! I read all kinds of things and wanted something kind of from across the spectrum. I'll be adding a list to each article this month. Hope you find something that looks new and interesting to you!

Melanie Schulz said...

A bestseller would be good, but I don't need it.

Mary Hill said...

I may have made the best seller's list: at least two of my titles that are part of the popular Gale series on "Issues Firsthand" have. I see that as a plus. The whole series is a popular high school reference series. I am trying to write fiction now, but blogging seems to take so much of my time. Thanks for sharing. I will check your books out. :)

Mary-andering Creatively

Mary-andering Among the Pages

Kat Sheridan said...

Melanie, yes, a bestseller (meaning hitting a recognized list) would be good, but I'm a long way from there.That's why I redefined what it means to be a bestseller to *me*. Glad you stopped by!

Kat Sheridan said...

Mary, glad to see you here, and congrats on making bestseller! And I hope you find something new and enjoyable to read!

Yolanda Renee said...

Sure I want to be on the New York Times bestsellers list, someday, now I'd just like to make amazon's page!

It's a journey - a harder journey for some! But we keep pressing forward. One step at a time!

Carol Z said...

I'm writing a book -- aren't we all :) -- but the best seller list is far from my thoughts. Yes, I'd like to see it sell, but have no projections on how many copies. Seeing best-selling author doesn't push me to read a book. I do like to look at the best-seller lists in the NY Times Book Review. Stopping over from A to Z.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Liza-- Yes! That's what celebrating your successes is all about. Setting a goal and making it. Each success fuels the next step.

Kieth exactly. It fuels jealousy and dissatisfaction with our own work. We have to be able to see the good we've done.

Kat perfect analogy. When we accept help it makes the climbing to the next rung easier. When we extend the help to others it, whether it be encouragement, cheering them on, or a willingness to help solve an issue it strengthens and motivates us by helping us focus on the journey we're all on.

We're all at different points on that journey. None of us are so good we can't learn. Or so good that we don't feel discouraged or disheartened. Helping and supporting others helps me feel good about my journey and myself.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Brandon I think constant comparisons to another does create problems. For one, it fosters jealousy and bitterness. Each goal set and met, is success. :-)
Alex, exactly. We write to open our world to another to enjoy. We we accomplish that it makes the work ahead easier.

Chrys Well put!

Sharon Stats are easy to get caught up in, lol! Goals set and met are satisfying. Makes the heart fat with happiness.

Melanie I don't need it but I want it. It's a badge that would like to earn. Nothing wrong with having that as a goal. :-)

Mary good for you! What a nice plus to feel. As for blogging, it can steal time pretty quick. I think one has to schedule time for writing just like we do other tasks. does take some trial and error to find the schedule that works best for us.

Yolanda you write a good story. You'll get an appreciative readership built up!

Carol I tend to shop for books I that appeal to me to read and I don't start and stay with the NYT or USA for those choices either. Nice to meet you!

Crystal Collier said...

Yes! It's about beating your personal best, not someone else's personal best. =) Granted, there are thing to be learned from those who sell a ton.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Short term goals help keep me from despairing over the long term milestones that seem so far away.

Andrew Leon said...

I bounce onto some of the Amazon best seller lists every once in a while, but I also have months like March where I sell almost nothing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kat and Sia - who do I put first?!

At the beginning as far as blogging was concerned I'd compare myself to others .. and wonder why they were jumping ahead - then realised I was quite happy building my friendships and blogging relationships - reinforced when people return a year later and say "I remember your Cookery... series" as it was last year ... then you sort of realise you're doing a fair job.

That's all we can do is ... establish our own voice, be our own person and go at our own speed ..

OK - Sia .. that's great you're slowly recovering - and I sure hope you improve sensibly, but as quickly as possible!

Except it's great having someone blogsitting your blog .. !!

Cheers to you both .. Hilary