When I first began to be published through online retailers, I had a brief addiction to checking sales figures and chart rankings. I soon gave that up as I’m too busy doing more important things, such as writing. Earlier in the week I was talking with Ian Whates from NewCon Press, about the problems he was facing getting my short story, Welcome Home, Janissary, into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. There’s no problem with the words or formatting; the problem is that the author name didn’t match throughout their systems. We might have to produce a new cover. 😦 Not only is that annoying but it is the reason the book is still not available from retailers such as iTunes and Barnes & Noble.
Thinking about that story prompted me today to check the rankings for Welcome Home, Janissary on Smashwords. I was astounded to see that it is the most downloaded short story in the military SF category. I’m number 1! Thank you to everyone who’s downloaded, and I hope you enjoyed it. It’s also reassuring because I have started writing a series of military SF novels based on the same setting.
Incongruously, being #1 made me think back to the 1980 Olympic Games, which I remember listening to on the radio on a family camping holiday. Great Britain had a very strong duo of male middle-distance runners — Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe — who were expected to vie for gold medal at every event. After Coe had surprisingly only managed silver in the 800m, I remember asking my dad whether he would rather win five silver medals or a single gold. He replied that he would rather win one gold than a dozen silvers, because gold meant you were the best in the world; nothing can top that.
And that’s how I feel now that I’m #1. There are only 80 other stories in that category at Smashwords. I’ve had other books published that have been downloaded thousands more times. Even on Smashwords, I have another story, called Future Speculation, which has been downloaded far more often, but in its category of general science fiction short stories, it is only the 4th most downloaded book.
I know which I prefer: to be #1!