They were the three Trilogy titles, and the one Trilogy omnibus edition. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Jospéphine B. even made an appearance on the top-20 list.
What’s great about this is visibility.
Unless a reader has heard about a book from a friend, or read about it on a blog, or seen it when scanning the top-100 list in their genre of choice: it’s invisible. Perhaps it might show up on Amazon’s “If you like this title, you might like … ” display, but how a title gets chosen for this honour is a bit of a mystery (and possibly has to do with the number and quality of reader reviews and “Likes” a title gets).
So: I’m happy!
Inclusion in a top-100 list would not have happened if I hadn’t chosen the category “Biographical Fiction” when I registered my titles with Kindle.
Here’s where it gets technical, but for those of you interested in e-book self-publishing I’ll give it a go (and keep it short).
On Kindle, you get to choose two categories for a title. Would you rather put it in a pool with 100,000 other titles, or in one with only 500? What chance would your title have of making the top 100 if in the former? None! So it behooves you to see how big the pools are before plunging in.
Here’s how to find out:
Go to Amazon.com, then scroll down “Shop by Department” on the left. Click “Books.”
Scroll down to “Book Categories,” and click “Literature & Fiction” (or “Fiction” in some countries). You will be given a number of sub-categories to chose from. Click, say, Historical Fiction. At the top of the middle column you will see something like this:
(Note that on Amazon.com, Historical is automatically considered “Genre.”)
So Historical Fiction is a pool of 70,014: not small!
But, as it turns out, it’s a great deal smaller than the category Literary Fiction, which is a pool of 684,885 titles. You do the math.
What’s a bit challenging is that the categories and size of the various pools vary country to country. You really need to explore. The categories in the U.S. are different from those in Canada and the UK. Amazon UK, for one, has the very sweet and unique category Biographical Fiction, and there are only about 4,500 titles in it—and so that’s where Josephine was able to make an appearance.
End of lecture … for today. If you find this confusing it’s because it is confusing! I’m just learning as I go.
It never fails to surprise me: starting to write (or rewrite) has stages—and the first stage is resistance, otherwise known as procrastination.
Everyone knows the expression “like pulling teeth.” Getting back into the world of a novel in order to revise is like that. It’s amazing how much I can get done avoiding it:
I went through all my computer applications, throwing out ones I never use.
Looked for duplicate photos on iPhoto.
Made a dental appointment.
Stared at my datebook.
Checked—for the zillionth time—my e-book sales on kdp.amazon.com. (Addictive.)
Explored research destinations for our next trip to Europe. (Coming on soon.)
Scanned texts. (I adore my new ScanSnap.)
Wrote notes for this blog.
Organized tax receipts. (!)
But then, eventually—when there was only an hour left in the day—I began.
And it wasn’t all that hard! In fact, I enjoyed it.
The fact is, resistance/procrastination is the first stage in writing/rewriting, and it’s best to allow time for it.
So: I’ve begun to revise, tuning up here, researching for the telling detail there—but now I realize that I need to go to the third step: production. I’m aiming to add 50 pages to The Next Novel (an editor’s suggestion)—which means I should write 70 and cut back. And that means I need to shoot for a daily quota of so many words and keep track of my progress in a datebook. I will begin with an easy goal—100 words a day—and then crank it up.
Perhaps you are wondering about the covers at the top? My e-books are on Kindle and iTunes (Kobo soon to come). I’m enterprise-proud! They are available now to readers outside Canada and the U.S. Have a look!
I’m very busy right now: the move back to Canada, a final draft of The Next Novel due soon, my Ink e-publishing on the verge of a launch … so my notes here will be sporadic and scattered over the next little while.
To sustain the journey of writing a historical novel requires passionate interest, research, many rewrites, great skill, and the patience of a saint. Lives often do not come with plots; we have to create a plot to take the reader down the path of the story. We have to say, “Come with us. We will show you something wonderful.”