Author Tess Gerritsen is saddened because her book only reached #17 on the NY Times Bestseller List.
I’m sorry to report that I didn’t drink champagne on Wednesday
night. Alas, the first partial week’s paperback sales of BODY DOUBLE
only got it to #17 on the NYT list. Sigh. Then I looked at the other
authors whose books debuted the same week: Nora Roberts. Dean Koontz.
Clive Cussler. Catherine Coulter. Janet Evanovich. And I realized —
whoa, there’s some pretty tough competition there! I’m going to hang on
tight this coming week and see what happens next Wednesday. And hope
that there are enough readers out there who care enough about Jane and
Maura to want to find out what happens next in their lives.
Publishing lesson: Success is never a sure thing in this business.
Ever. This is what keeps me humble and always feeling like a struggling
Gee, life is tough. I guess when you reach a certain level of success, you lose all perspective. Having a book reach #17 on the NY Times bestseller list may put Tess in the doldrums…but for the vast majority of published authors, cracking the list at all would be cause for celebration. Surely, she knows that, right?
On the other hand, here’s a peek at the real world that most authors have to live in. Author Beth Ciotta has had three mass market paperbacks published but isn’t making a living at it.
Last week, I visited my family in Indiana. When I mentioned this box
office gig and the one I’m waiting to hear about, my mom said, "What do
you mean you had to get a job? Don’t you make money from your books?"
night my husband and I met up with a group of musician
friends. Everyone asked if I was still gigging a lot, to which I had to
answer ‘no’ and then I mentioned the ‘jobs’. Again I got a strange look
coupled with comments like, "But I thought you had another book coming
out." The thought behind it… can’t you live off of that?
no. Not yet. Just now I need to supplement my writing income to make
ends meet. It’s a reality many writers face. Another reality is
juggling the alternate job, writing, and promoting multiple
books–building a ‘name’. It ain’t easy. Every now and then I allow
myself to dream and think, someday I’ll be writing full time and all
this angst will be history.
I bet if Beth reached #17 on the NY Times Bestseller list, she’d not only be drinking champagne, she’d be bathing herself in it.