Calmer Half published his first fiction book last week, Take The Star Road, and it's been the strangest feeling to watch it spread its wings and fly up the Amazon bestseller list. On the one hand, it's fascinating from a watching-data point of view to watch the interplay of quantity and velocity of sales with listings, and to see how readers react and review, on blog and on amazon. It's like watching a slow-motion unfolding of a flower, to see the way that reviews spread from a few sites to, one book-reading length of time later, spreading across the blogs.
Please understand, I am very grateful to all the readers who have taken a chance on an unknown author and tried him, whether they finished the book or not, much less left a review or told a friend about it. The willingness to try and unknown first-book author is a gift I do not hold lightly! I am also fascinated by how they see it; after going 'round and 'round with revisions and reviews, watching my Calmer Half learning techniques and trying them out, I have long since become unable to see the story for the ghosts of the past five versions between the words on the page and myself. To watch people seeing the final product with fresh eyes is like playing tourist with visiting friends; it makes the old home city exciting and new again.
I've also found myself laughing at the disconnect between information addiction and reality. We all know reality doesn't move at internet speed (except when it does), and the volume of information out there doesn't mean that things are happening quickly. There is no useful data to be gained by checking sales more than once a day, because sales happen at the rate they happen, and in books, you're dealing with a product that will take consumers anywhere from a night to two weeks to find the time to read and react to (longer, if they're busy and there's another book ahead in the queue. Perhaps we shouldn't have released so close to Larry Correia's release of Warbound, but Take The Star Road was ready to launch.) I can't hurry reality, no matter how much I want to know if this bird will dive or fly. The smartest thing to do, all authors agree, is to not read reviews (as they're for readers by readers, not for authors by readers), not check sales, and concentrate on the next book. I know this. I react to this sage advice about as well as I do to a low-carb diet; by sneaking emergency chocolate out of the chocolate cache after dinner, and peeking at sales and reviews anyway.
Ah, well. Due to waiting too long and then not doing well at emergency planting when I was still in a brace, (the plants were getting rootbound,) everything but the eggplant, asparagus, and mint has died or failed to thrive, and the eggplant is iffy. On the other hand, the basil, thyme, dill, and rosemary indoors are leaning toward the sun from the window and doing just fine. That will have to do for things growing this year, and at least we'll have herbs and a book. The time I save gardening,(other than contemplating whether I should mow the mint with the yard as a precautionary measure; it's the mad scientist of herbs, out for world domination) I can spend lining up words with all the care of a Rube Goldberg contraption. The description of the next book won't write itself, and I still need to choose cover art and buckle down on getting the print version of the first out. It's going to be an adventure, both across the stars in the story and from day to day in the writer's household.