I already knew this about books at Amazon.com, but I didn’t really realize it about authors. Books at bookstores, especially big chain bookstores, end up on tables or facing out or on endcaps because someone has paid to put them there. Books at Amazon are ordered by algorithm. Any book can appear just as important as any other book in the results. This has been really nice for small publishers whose books appear to have equal value to the big guys in terms of the consumer’s experience.
On a side note, did anyone else see that article about how independent bookstores seem to be making a small comeback precisely because people have come to value them for their curatorial role? How will I find a book I might like? I go to someone I trust to tell me.
Anyway, at Amazon, I look like a real author. I’ve got some dates. I’ve got a book trailer (the same one I posted here, but I changed the ending to say “Available wherever books are sold” instead of “coming soon”). I’ve got a picture and a bio. People, I have not even told some of the people invited to the book launch party that I’ve written a book, just that they should come hear me tell some ghost stories. “I wrote a book” still seems like something kind of ridiculous. I wrote some stories, for this blog, and y’all liked them and convinced me to collect them.
It wasn’t hard. I didn’t suffer (at least in the writing part. This part has been a mess). I had great, great fun. I didn’t drink too much or need to go off to the woods to get it done. I certainly didn’t bleed all over the page. Shoot, if writing were always like this, I would write books all the time.
So, I feel a little fraudulent. I think a lot of creative people do. Best to just ‘fess up to it and move past it.
Still, if one of the barriers to entry for self-publishers is “you don’t seem like a real author,” Amazon doesn’t have that barrier.