The Art Of Staring At Numbers / by Kenneth Buff

I love to read things that inspire me. Blog posts, craft books, a good novel. They help keep me going when I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing with so many first draft unpublished novels (just finished my third). Lately I've been reading over some of Hugh Howey's old blog posts (I've been reading his blog for a little over a year, every since I first started self-publishing), ran out of new ones so I've been digging into his archived posts. It's good stuff. The funnest ones for me to read (other than his awesome posts over publishing—of which there are many—or life in general, you should really read his post False Summits if you aren't familiar with Howey) have been his posts he made before he made it big, back when he was just a regular old joe with no idea that his little short story WOOL was going to explode into a self-publishing phenomenon. The funnest posts to read during this time period are the ones he writes while WOOL is taking off. He talks about yelling at his wife from the other room about his sales ranking going up by X number. She screams back, "what was it before?" His response is, "I can't remember." Which then leads to a discussion that he needs to write down the rankings if he's going to obsess over them.This is fun for me to read, because it sound so much like what I did (and sometimes still do) my first year of publishing. "Honey, I sold another book today," was said (and texted) a lot during my first year. And I too was an addict (and sometimes, still am) to the refresh button at the top of my browser, as I stared at the ranking numbers of my titles, or the red jagged line that was hopefully going up, and not crashing down. This is something that I'm convinced all self-published authors go through at some point, and it's just nice to see that it happened to the guy who's often considered the first major success in indy publishing (and by major, we're talking Stephen Kind numbers here. Or as Bernie Sanders would say, "Yuuuge!" numbers).