It’s pretty amazing… I’m outselling two major tradpub books that were slotted in this category… Okay, I know, a lot of that is Whispersync “sales” at $2 a pop, and piggybackers on the $.99 BookBub sale, but still. This is my second self-narrated novel. And I’m killin’ it.
It’s so funny, the trajectories you take in life. I’ve never, ever had a success going through the “front door.” You know, the orderly march – find a career path, get in a good school, grind out the As, get a degree, march through the front door of your dream job, shake hands, go to work.
Nope, never. I’ve always fallen into things through the side door, somehow. I got into training because I moved to SF in 1987 with PC skills that few people had at that time (most people were coming out of uni with nothing but mainframe knowledge). I worked as a temp and ended up teaching distraught secretaries how to make the transfer from their beloved DisplayWriters or Selectrics to WordStar and WordPerfect, simply by default from being the guy who knew how to do it and how to teach it. (Given my overall antisocial crabbiness, I can be a startlingly good hand holder.) Next thing you know, that’s my calling card.
I got into technical writing because I worked at an HIV clinic that used a federal data reporting software system, I got good at using it, and when the guy in charge of the program found out that I was a novelist, he said, “Well, we need a user manual, you wanna try technical writing?” And that became my career for the next ten years.
And all this started with that WROTE Podcast visit last June, when the hosts said, you have a great voice, and I laughed and said, “Well I should turn my books into audiobooks, then!” And they said o hell ya. And I said, hmm.
And none of this was planned, let me tell you. It was a rough year of trial and error, throwing out most of A Little Too Broken when I realized the production quality was shit, fumbling through baffling web pages that refused to explain audiotechnics in anything but more audiotechnicese, getting dental work done that lodged a stabilizing bar behind my front teeth that created a gap that made me sound like Sylvester the Cat (It fell out twice and good riddance)…
I swear I don’t know how I kept going. I’m such a good giver-upper. But, sometimes, I’m also… Well, have you seen Blade Runner? That scene when Pris dies, and she’s on the ground, shrieking and flailing and so angry at the unfairness of it. Sometimes I get like that, and it’s all that keeps me going.
And here I am. Holy crap! And still pushing through obstacles – I just had to throw out part of Apollo’s Curse because I realized the wildfire smoke was making me sound like Patty and Selma, but that’s okay. And hard work, attention to quality, it’s…paying off!
Given the Circumstances’ Brian has so much of me in him. Natural talent and the desire to skate by on it, a combination of arrogance and low self-esteem, and an absolutely stunned amazement when working hard and grinding away at getting better actually reaps rewards.
It won’t make #1, and I’ve accepted that any #1s are unlikely for me in this genre. Checking the sales rank of that #1 audiobook on Amazon vs. the sales rank of mine, there’s enough of a numbers gap that I know I can’t close it. That’s fine. All I want now is to never go back to Cubicle City, and I just may have found the bypass road.