I'll hit you with some AWESOME (my sons' word for it) stats at the end of this - but I want to tell you a story first. I'm a fiction writer but this one's true. It started early on December 24th, just four days ago. I have a normal routine every morning, check my emails - then check my rankings (I keep a worksheet) - I do a bunch of other stuff, but I'll save that for a post for another day.
So, I'm checking my rankings ... and I always keep an eye out for the rankings of other writer-friends of mine on the same lists ... Joe Konrath ... Scott Nicholson ... Jeff Bennington and a few others. Every day I check and record both of my novels' rankings on a dozen different lists (I only check Amazon lists). Well, the largest list I check is Amazon's general "Thriller" popularity list. I call it the "EPIC" list (another of my sons' words) 'cause there's over 136,000 novels in the genre. Now, before December 25th, neither of my novels ever even made it onto the list ... and the list contains the top 1,200 titles.
Here's what happened ... I click on the list and page one comes up ... that's the top 12 books ...
Let's see ... Joe Konrath number friggin' one ... how kewl is that ... God Bless, Joe!
#2 Jeff Bennington - Reunion ... #3--
#2 Jeff Bennington - Reunion?!?!?!?!
My heart stopped!!! My extremities actually got numb!!! I had to remember how to breath ... inhale ... exhale ...
Now, let me explain - I consider Jeff a dear writer-friend of mine. No, we never met, but then again, I never met Dean Wesley Smith, Joe Konrath, or Scott Nicholson either and I consider them ALL close friends. One - I don't get out much and two - every one of them has helped me in my pursuit of my ultimate objective and joy, to become a successful professional writer. Jeff Bennington has also helped me a great deal. He reached out to me when I first published _THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM_ with a kind word and friendship and he's mentored me on everything from how to perform a blog tour to how to get reviews to how to market and price my novels.
Also, as for his writing - I recently mentioned to him that my wife (and main editor) Lisa had started reading _REUNION_ and considered him one of her favorite writers. This after I had her download a dozen other authors - some big legacy-published authors along with some big Selfpubbers. I won't mention who she didn't like but I will say that Lisa is VERY discerning when it comes to authors - she likes who she likes and the rest get deleted (I told Jeff, I don't even ask Lisa if I'm one of her favorite authors ... why break up a beautiful friendship! c",))
So, my shock wasn't from disbelief that _REUNION_ wasn't a great book, it was because it was friggin #2 out of over 136,000 books!!! Jeff told me he's writing a blog about his whole experience, so be sure to look it up and check it out!
When I got the inhale-exhale thing under control, I immediately shot Jeff a CONGRATS email, explaining to him that I thought I totally missed the boat by not enrolling in Amazon's lending program. In any case, it was awesome to see my brutha-from-anotha behind only the legendary (and my other brutha-from-anotha) Joe Konrath IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!
I was frantic though ... so happy for the success of my friends ... but wanting to kick myself in my head for what was obviously turning out to be a bad decision on my part. Hey, I make my share ... but my attitude since my cancer has always been "I'm healthy, I love my wife, my sons, and God's allowing me to do what I always wanted to do ... write - so it's all good!"
My wife and sons can testify that my manic depression can be a bit of a ... pain in the butt for them as well as for me, but life goes on and I'll just learn from the experience.
That's when I received a reply to my email from Jeff. He thanked me for the congrats but also told me that it wasn't too late and suggested I jump in ASAP. He also gave me a few pointers on how to take advantage of the other main perk of the Kindle Lending program - that is, to place my novels for free for a limited time.
I listened to him - a point I would urge other neo-pros like me to do - listen to people who have proven themselves to be successful. There's a number of successful writers but only a relative few who are kind enough to share that knowledge. Joe Konrath was the first I know of ... Dean Wesley Smith had the greatest impact on me, personally - but there are others out there. Well, like I said ... the last 72 hours have been out of this world for my writing career. Both _THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM_ and _SIGNS OF WAR_ are now BESTSELLERS on Kindle and not just in the U.S. They're also BESTSELLERS in the U.K., GERMANY, and FRANCE!!
Before I share my latest stats, I want to thank God, Amazon, and Jeff Bennington ... all praise to Him!
Here's some of the stats so far, and keep in mind, the free programs are still in effect:
_THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM_: (Currently)
- RANKED 1,218th in ALL of Kindle store! (Was ranked 253,512 before the program started)
- RANKED #5 on Amazon's WAR THRILLER BESTSELLERS List! (US)
- RANKED #1 on Amazon's Geopolitical Thriller popularity ranking! (27th day - 1st time #1 since August)
- RANKED #1 on Amazon's Counter-terrorism Thriller popularity ranking! (Was never higher than #5 before)
- RANKED #2 on Amazon's 9/11 Thriller popularity ranking! (Avg. ranking before program was 370th)
- RANKED #8 on Amazon's Terrorism Thriller popularity ranking! (Avg. prior was 310th)
- RANKED #11 on Amazon's Political Thriller popularity ranking! (out of 4,007 on the list)
- RANKED #207 on the coveted Amazon's Thriller popularity ranking!!! (out of 136,863 on the list!!! Never made this list before!)
- RANKED #3 on Amazon-Germany's WAR THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED #88 on Amazon-Germany's THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED #11 on Amazon-UK's WAR THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED #4 on Amazon-France's WAR THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED #87 on Amazon-France's THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED 1,345th in ALL of Kindle store! (Was ranked 160,908th before the program started)
- RANKED #59 on Amazon's ACTION & ADVENTURE THRILLER BESTSELLERS List! (US)
- RANKED #2 on Amazon's Geopolitical Thriller popularity ranking!
- RANKED #2 on Amazon's Counter-terrorism Thriller popularity ranking! (Was never higher than #5 before)
- RANKED #8 on Amazon's Techno Thriller popularity ranking! (Avg. ranking before program was 84th)
- RANKED #68 on Amazon's Political Thriller popularity ranking! (out of 4,007 on the list)
- RANKED #20 on Amazon-Germany's ACTION & ADVENTURE THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
- RANKED #66 on Amazon-Germany's THRILLER BESTSELLERS LIST!
My sincere thanks to everyone around the world who are now reading my novels ... I'm humbled and as always to all of my mentors - Dean Wesley Smith, Passive Guy, Joe Konrath, Scott Nicholson, and Jeff Bennington!
And to them and everyone else - Blessings, Peace, Joy, and Health in 2012!