It’s been a wild ride for the last few weeks. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster, teetering from euphoria to despair, and everything in-between. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but my brain’s been on overload.
THE GOOD STUFF:
Sales of Resuscitation, my second novel, have been awesome to say the least. And because of its success, They Never Die Quietly, my first novel, has hitched a ride on Resuscitation’s brisk sales and is delivering respectable sales numbers as well. Shortly after its release on October 11, Resuscitation ranked #1 in Kindle sales in the UK. But last week, I was really knocked for a loop when I received an e-mail from my editor and learned that my second novel hit #1 in the USA for Kindle sales. Although the ranking has steadily declined, as of this morning, it’s still ranked in the top 100. Now bear in mind that Amazon offers over one-million Kindle titles, so to be ranked #1, even for an hour, is amazing.
I am scheduled for two book signings here in San Diego. On Sunday, December 4, I will be signing books at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore on Clairemont-Mesa Blvd. On January 8th, I’ll be signing books at Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla. I’m both stoked and nervous about these upcoming events. I don’t expect to sign a gazillion books but hope that both signings go well.
THE BAD STUFF:
Anyone who buys an item through Amazon.com can write a review for that product. The review can be for books, electronics, or any number of items. For an author, reader reviews can literally make or break you. Positive reviews promote sales, and negative reviews drive prospective buyers away. No matter how famous or esteemed an author might be, there are generally good and bad reviews—the trick is to have more positive and less negative.
I have been pretty fortunate with both of my books and the good reviews outnumber the not-so-good ones. Although negative reviews hurt, I gain a great deal from objective feedback. A couple years ago when I got my first negative review, I was devastated. I asked a very successful writer friend of mine how he deals with critical reviews. Basically, he advised me to learn from the reviews but not get caught up in them. He further said that under no circumstances should I ever respond to any review—positive or negative.
Recently, one reader in particular wrote a critical, 1-Star review. I totally understood his or her perspective and tried to digest the criticism. Well, a week or so after the reader posted the review, someone posing as me responded to the reader in a most disrespectful way. What this person said was mean-spirited and demeaning. The person who wrote the original review assumed (for good reason) that I wrote the harsh response. I didn’t discover this until a few days later when a bunch of readers got on the bandwagon and expressed their opinions.
I went against my writer friend’s advice and responded to the thread of comments. I explained that I did not, nor would I ever respond to a reader comment in such a rude and discourteous way. I apologized profusely, but could not prove that I did not write the harsh comment. How could I? A few of the readers who commented gave me the benefit of the doubt. But most, unfortunately, didn’t believe me. One person in particular, wrote a very insulting comment and really attacked my integrity. To date, the thread of comments continues.
What occurred to me during this fiasco is that all of us are vulnerable. Our reputations can easily be damaged by some stranger halfway around the world, who, for whatever reason, either has it in for us, or just wants us to be a victim of some random act of cruelty. Anyone could establish a fraudulent account with a web site or open an e-mail account and pose as someone else, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to protect yourself.
I had hoped that more readers who commented on this situation would not be so quick to judge, but sadly, that’s not the case. I didn’t write that shameful comment, but there is no way I can prove it. I now know what it feels like to have your identity stolen. Believe me, it’s a sickly feeling.