Let me make this clear at the outset; To date, I’ve made no bestseller list. But this blog post isn’t really about that.
Well, it is and it isn’t.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about bestseller lists. Mostly because there seems to be drama in the author world. People doing or not doing things, and one of the reasons is because people want to make a splash. I’m being very vague because this post isn’t about what is or isn’t happening in the author world at this time, or what has happened, or what possibly may happen in the future. This post is about me.
So, I have this vision board, right? And I have a logo I printed out and posted to the board of a New York Times Bestseller sticker.
Becoming a bestseller is a huge goal people have. And yes, I haven’t taken it off my vision board because I still think it would be incredibly cool one day to be able to call myself a New York Times bestselling author. But you know what? If I really think about it (and I have) that’s the ego talking.
Yes, being on the New York Times bestseller list, or the USA Today bestseller list, or even ranking number one in my category on Amazon would be amazing. But I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’m realizing something; I don’t need it.
For the past couple of months, I’ve really been getting into Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s become I guess this new, social media Tony Robbins and is putting out tons of content about getting to work. Hustling and working hard, blocking out all the negativity and only focusing on the positive and just doing what you need to do to achieve what you want out of life.
Why do I bring this up?
Because in a recent video I saw of his, he talked about not worrying about the number of followers you have or the number of likes you get on a post. Instead, you should simply worry about your craft and block out everything else.
There are so many people that don’t hit a bestseller list and that’s okay. It’s not the end-all-be-all to achieving a long career as an author. I recognize this.
So I’m trying to just focus on my craft. I’m trying to write the best possible story I can write and hopefully, I can make you, the reader, feel something. Whether it’s connecting with a character and sympathizing with them, or being absolutely disgusted with a character and you want nothing more than to reach into the page of the book you’re reading and strangle that character, I want you to feel something. And I can’t do that, I can’t write to that level if I’m over here worried about how many followers I have on Twitter. Or if I’m concerned about the number of likes I have on Facebook or how many people like the latest picture I posted on Instagram. Yes, I would love hundreds of thousands of followers on my social media platforms, but I don’t need it.
You know what I need? I need to write.
I need to get these stories out that have been inside, some of them for a long time. And what I’d like to happen, once those stories are out, is that readers find them and enjoy them. But that’s out of my control. All I can do, as I’ve said, is write the best story I can.
Today, Rumor Has It, True To You, and Heart Shaped Lock have been out for four months. 120 days plus some change. These are just the first of many stories I have inside. The first of many that I want to tell. And in these four months, I have kept an eye on where they are ranking on the Amazon charts. Rumor Has It has broken into the Top 20 in the Coming Of Age category a couple of times. That’s incredible and a little surreal. And there’s been moments where my mind drifts off and I wonder how I can get it to number one. But I don’t want to do that. Not because I don’t want it to be number one, but I don’t want to think that I need books to be a bestseller for me, as a storyteller (which is what I like to think of myself as), to deem myself worthy. I don’t want to start wondering what I have to do to become a NY Times bestselling author and then doubt whether I’m really a writer if I can’t call myself a bestselling author.
I just want to tell a good story.