Okay, I’m going to be honest here. Last year when I quit my job to become a writer and writing coach, and then I re-read the Spy Thriller that I wrote for fun in 2016 – I never expected to publish it.
But here we are. It’s out there on Amazon Kindle for a reasonable £3.49, and I naively assumed that it would go up, there might be a flurry of interest from friends and family before it – like many self-published offerings – dwindled into insignificance.
What I didn’t realise was that it would stand a chance of becoming a Top 100 Espionage Thriller, of that I’d reach the four-figure rankings for Kindle books. It never once occurred to me to prepare for this. This book was never even written for publication. In Lies We Trust was a fun adventure I wrote in November 2016 during National Novel Writing Month after being challenged by my writing group to write outside of my typical genre. Well, a Spy Thriller was definitely something I’d never attempted before, and when I shared with them the two thousand words or so of my attempt – featuring an ex-undercover operative called Liz who had been mysteriously ‘reactivated’, kidnapped, and then shot at by a naked assassin – they wanted to know more. So, I just wrote more…No plotting, or planning, I let the story go wherever that day’s writing session took me.
Odd to admit now, that even *I* didn’t know which characters to trust as I put poor Liz through her paces, brought back an old flame, and put her sister and niece in danger. Yet, somehow, it worked. And when I re-read it last year I simply thought, “This is quite a fun read. I should put it out there for people to enjoy!”.
Well, I did. The book is currently languishing at 7,250 in the Kindle Store and is 174 in the rankings for Espionage Thrillers. And, I don’t know quite how to feel.
Releasing a self-published book is a pretty big deal in itself (though, not as big as getting an agent/publisher – in my mind anyway). Having people actually *buy* the book is gratifying and wonderful. Receiving positive feedback and messages from friends who’ve bought it saying they can’t put it down – again, amazingly satisfying. But, being striking distance from a Top 100 spot? That’s beyond my comprehension.
I keep trying to convince myself that the Amazon rankings don’t mean anything. They’re numbers; it doesn’t signify the quality of a story, or the writing. Yet, I can’t stop refreshing the page to see if I’ve made it yet. Am I a Top 100 ranking author? It’s almost like I don’t want to get sucked into the boastful ego-mania of being one of those authors – who can’t stop banging on about figures and their “over-night” success. But at the same time, isn’t this what writers dream of – seeing their books be sold and read by as many people as possible?
Granted, to be this high in the rankings doesn’t take a *lot* of sales. I know that. Most writers who’ve investigated self-publishing with Amazon Kindle know this – the sheer volume of books available on Kindle brings down the average sales per book. Yet with the target in sight I do want it. I hadn’t expected it, hadn’t anticipated that it would happen, but to see In Lies We Trust in the Top 100 Kindle rankings – even if just for an hour – would be a milestone I hadn’t even mapped onto my writing journey.