The Gift of Validity


Writers often feel like they are in a vacuum, isolated, solitary creatures who release their work and have no idea whether or not anyone will buy it, yet alone like it.

One side of my brain is a firm believer in the English Romantic’s view of art for arts’ sake. Writers must stay true to their work and write the stories we are driven to create. Writing done for purely commercial consumption usually lacks soul or depth of spirit, don’t you think?

However, my brain’s other half recognizes writing is still a business and all of us hopes our work will sell.

Every once in awhile, we get lucky.

On Friday, a well-timed advertisement on Ereader News Today brought me sales the likes of which I have never seen before. At one time Friday night, and then again on Saturday, A Whisper to a Scream was #92 and #99 on the Kindle Indie Best Seller List on There it was on the same page as behemoth John Locke and the brilliant Helen Smith!

Every time I checked my sales, the number increased exponentially. For the first time, I was sitting on a proper chair at the dining room table for Christmas dinner, not stuck at the card table with the kids. It was all very exciting.

I was happy so many people were interested enough in A Whisper to a Scream to purchase it. It gave me something I had yet to feel as a fiction writer — validation.

The magazine world, where I spent a good portion of my career, is more conducive to this. We produced an issue every month and with that came a sense of accomplishment and closure, as well as an eagerness to move onto the next one.

Whisper, on the other hand, has been a ten-year journey, which has tested my writer fortitude and stamina.

My sales rank is falling as I write, for, as all of you know, the lists are updated hourly and can be fleeting. But, this crazy weekend has given me the motivation to move forward and finish my WIP with a verve I have not had for awhile.

And that is a gift for which I am very grateful.


Leah Griffith said…
I am so pleased for you! We are solitary, and oftentimes we feel as though our work is like a tiny star lost in the vast universe. I have your book on kindle and can't wait to get to it. Keep writing's what makes your voice unique.
Kelly Hashway said…
Karen, that's great! Congrats! It can be stressful watching your ranking. One hour you are on top of the world and then... well, let's not even talk about it. I'm sure your rank will soar again. :)
Thanks so much for your kind words, Leah.
Kelly, It was crazy, fun and inevitable that they are going down now. It was a great ride.
Liminal Fiction said…
That's so awesome, Karen, congrats and please continue to share the news with the rest of us, it's inspiring and helpful.
angel011 said…
Congrats! I'm sure that being high on the list, even for a short while, can be a great motivation to keep writing.
That is very true, angel011. Thanks for stopping by.
Helen Smith said…
Congratulations on your crazy weekend. I hope it will happen again - that's the great thing about the ratings being constantly recalibrated.
Thanks much, Helen. You never know, right?
Wow, that's awesome! How exhilarating for you and inspirational for other writers (like me :) I agree with another commenter -- keep us POSTED!!
Janel said…
Congratulations! What an exciting way to spend the weekend. :)
Thanks, Julia and Janel. :)
Deborah said…
Fantastic - very well done! You deserve it. As we all know, it's those moments in the sun that make the months and years of work worth it.
R. Doug Wicker said…
That is just SOooo great, Karen. I'm so happy for you and the boost in sales of your book. I had something similar happen to me way back last January, so I know exactly the euphoria you must be feeling.

Here's to hoping you get lasting residual sales increases from the sudden exposure.
Let's hope so, R. Doug. Thanks so much for your comments.

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