While there are many chasing the bestselling dream, I’m happy with reality.
I probably see the profiles of hundreds if not thousands of authors, who crown themselves as ‘bestselling author’ along with other superlative adjectives on social media each month. However, we all know that there are very few bestselling authors.
The truth of the matter is that there are only a handful of bestselling self-published authors, who make a half-decent income, as this article, Only 40 Self-Published Authors are a Success, says Amazon, points out.
Therefore, one must conclude that there are a hell of a lot of self-published authors out there who embellish the truth, a little bit, or a lot.
But that is not for me to worry about because I don’t use superlatives. I just write books and hope people read them. Oh, of course, it’s even better if they buy them and then read them. But this isn’t always the case in the current market of free ebooks aplenty.
Yet, every month without fail, Amazon sends me my royalty payments from the US, UK and elsewhere for paperback, ebooks and Kindle Unlimited page reads, which is enough proof for me that I can honestly boast that I am a selling author. No, selling is not a superlative adjective, only a plain old adjective, but I like it.
Selling means my books are being read and that some people do pay for them. Sure, others read my books for free, but sometimes leave a nice review, so that’s cool too.
Do I make enough from book sales to live on? No.
Do I make enough to keep me writing? Yes. That will do nicely.
If the day ever comes, though, when I sell 10,000 books in one single month, well, then I might consider upping my author adjective to a moderate superlative. But I doubt I will ever have the need to do so.
I’m happy with my lot of being a selling author – who more than likely quietly outsells hundreds, if not thousands of superlative appended authors every month.
9 thoughts on “Not A Bestselling Author, But A Selling Author, Yes”
Great post – tells it like it is.
I don’t know if you remember, Derek – and I’m going back a good 20 years or more – when there was a media kerfuffle (love that word) over publishing houses placing broad announcements at the top of book covers: Soon to be a Major Motion Picture/ New International Best Seller. It turned out all a load of Dingo’s kidneys. They were fish hooks for readers in the hope they would become Motion pictures and Best Sellers because who wouldn’t want to read books like them, right?
It’s the same with ‘Best Selling Author.’ Put ‘This Author has Sold a Couple’ and that’s all you’d probably sell. So across blogs, websites and book blurbs we always see this ‘Best Selling Author’ nonsense; and it is, unless they can prove it, which 9/10 they probably couldn’t.
Food companies do it; drinks companies: Probably the best lager in the world, anybody? King of Beers?
One of my favourites is, from self-published authors: New York Times Best Seller. All right, I hold my hand up, there are a couple, but after checking a few that claimed this – and I went back months and months – I was wondering if the book, let alone the author, had been released under a pseudonym :)
I suppose it’s one way to attract readers, but it’s not an honest way, and being a ‘selling’ author, in the long run, is all that counts. An honest author might not be a well-paid author, but I’d rather write with a clear conscience.
Oh you made me laugh, Alex! I haven’t hear the expression, ‘a load of dingo’s kidneys’ in yonks! But it certainly is apt in this context.
The spirit of Mr. Adams compelled me :)
Thanky Thanky for all this good inrtomafion!
Well, in that (in)famous article, Amazon defined success as selling over 1,000,000 copies in the last 5 years, if memory serves. A pretty narrow definition, then :)
Great article, Derek. Thanks for sharing! It just goes to show that ‘slow and steady’ is always the best way to sell books. Hyperbole never lasts long, nor is it very effective. I concur with you in many respects. If, after publishing three or four books, your storyline is solid, the writing is competent (including the editing) and you do what’s necessary with respect to getting the word out (Marketing), then, in time, you’ll begin to see an increase in sales, which to me, is a resounding success!
Thanks for the boost in confidence, really. I was feeling a bit bummed that my book doesn’t get much attention, but it doesn’t happen overnight and for self-published, it can be a nightmare. I will never give up, but I do fall into depression on occasion so it slows things down. I’m looking for any outlet to up my sales and get people into my world. Even ONE person telling me something they like about my work is satisfying! I do want somewhat an income on my works, but my main goal is that I want my books to exist. I want people to find them and join my characters on their adventures, and I want to gift the world with thinks that might not be in existence just yet. My veresti in my book series The Saga of Lycantis so far has not found a duplicate for appearance. My lycans and vampires are not original, but they are mine.
Again, thank you so much for the boost! It feels good to know that “Bestselling Author” is just a sticker written in sharpie and NOT a mark of one’s character or abilities at all!
You are right, Malaena, it doesn’t happen overnight. I hardly sold a copy until I published my third or fourth book. There were times back then when I thought I should have given up, but I was stubborn! Like all self-published authors, and all authors for that matter, book sales never stay steady. There are ups and downs, but the lean periods always seem to last for much longer. It’s just the way it is.
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