Thursday, 13 June 2013

To the Grave makes the Amazon.com Top 20!


Yay!  I like ‘yay’ moments so I thought I’d start this blog post with one, and with good reason.

Mystery &Thriller top 100
A couple of posts ago I asked the question, ‘Can To the Grave make the top 100?’  Well, as you can see from the title of this post (and that ‘yay’), yes it did, and then some.  At one point I thought it had all gone wrong because the adverts and features I’d set up were too spread out, meaning that most of the gains were lost before the next promotion kicked in.  But I hadn’t figured on the power of Bookbub.

I didn’t know when to expect the Bookbub feature to kick in yesterday, or quite what to expect from it.  I thought I might see some sales trickle through early on as they did with the ENT feature, but I imagined the bulk (if there was even going to be a bulk) would come overnight.  At around 5pm UK time though, I saw the download total for To the Grave start to increase, not just in ones or twos, but in the twenties and thirties, and even in the hundreds if I didn’t check for a while.   Every time I looked, the total had increased and I started to get very excited.

My main focus for this promotion was to see if To the Grave could make it into the Amazon.com top 100.  It had plenty of great reviews and still is the top-rated book in crime, thrillers and mystery on Amazon UK, and the top rated historical mystery on Amazon.com, so I thought it had a good chance given that this was also its first ever price-drop promotion.  It was rising up the charts very nicely and I stayed up a bit later than usual to see how high it would go before I went to bed because by 22:30 (my usual bedtime) To the Grave was just outside the top 100 at No.121.  I kept refreshing my browser screen and one minute it would drop and then rise again, and about an hour later I saw that it had reached No.97!  I ran around my living room for a few minutes then I went to bed, feeling very happy and a little too excited to sleep, hoping that it would still be in the top 100 come morning, yet fully expecting it to be in the 100s or 200s.

When I woke up this morning I couldn’t believe it, and I really did have to rub my eyes and do a double take.  To the Grave was at No.15 in the Amazon.com bestseller chart!  I had to take some screen shots so I can look back at them and know it really is true.


 I’m very grateful to everyone who has bought a copy and although you probably didn’t realise it, when you did you were helping to make someone’s dream come true, and for that I thank you very much.

Getting into the bestseller charts has always been a goal for me and the reason goes beyond anything monetary.  It was never about that, although I’m thankful that I’m now able to make a living from my writing.  I think it stems back to all those rejections letters I received from agents and publishers (see ‘my story - part 1’) who were essentially telling me I wasn’t good enough to join the club I so wanted to belong to.  When that happens you really only have two choices: you can choose to believe them and give up the dream, or you can keep going and try even harder to make it.  I’m glad I chose the latter and stuck at it.

I don't recall feeling overly conscious of this when I wrote it, but there’s a section in To the Grave that must have come about from all that rejection and all those voices in my head that sometimes made me question whether I really was good enough.  It's from a scene where Jefferson Tayte is talking with his friend, Marcus Brown...

It served to remind Tayte how hopeless it was to keep trying, but every time he voiced such thoughts his friend would remind him of one simple truth.  He could hear Marcus telling him it for the first time - could picture him pulling at his goatee as he often did when he had anything thought provoking to say.
“They say there’s only one certainty in life, Jefferson.  Know what it is?”
Tayte had been twenty-three years old and he knew well enough.  “Death,” he’d said.
“That’s right, but it’s not the only certainty, is it?”
“It’s not?”
“No,” Marcus said.  “The other certainty is that wherever you want to go, whatever you want to be or do, or find in your case, you will certainly never get there if you give up.  Now pick your chin up off the floor and stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You’ve got work to do.”

Promotion websites such as Bookbub offer independent authors another way to get our books noticed, and clearly it can work very well.  They have become a viable alternative to giving thousands of books away for an increased popularity ranking on Amazon, which can also be a very effective way to get noticed, but it’s good to know that there is now another way open to us, and that has to be a good thing for independent publishers and authors.