Top of the Heap, For a Bit

For a bit of time Sunday night and Monday morning, I was Amazon’s #1 author — not just for science fiction, or for science fiction and fantasy, but for all books. JK Rowling was number two, James Patterson was number six, and Stephen King was number ten.

So, that’s nice for me. I’ve been in the top five of the Amazon Author rankings before, but this is my first time at the actual top of the heap, and while I am as always reminding people that Amazon’s rankings are opaque and fiddly and not necessarily indicative of much other than Amazon’s opaque and fiddly rankings, still, it’s nice to be even temporarily on top of a list that includes Rowling and Patterson and King, and — well, every single other author who sells their work on Amazon, I suppose.

So, I’ll enjoy the moment, thanks. Mind you, it won’t last. But that’s all the more reason to enjoy it.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

27 replies on “Top of the Heap, For a Bit”

So this means you’re selling more than Patterson now, right? ;)

Patterson’s dominance astounds me. I’m not saying he’s a bad writer, I’ve read some of his stuff. They’re solid thrillers. But that genre is so crowded with good writers that it’s just amazing that one guy can be so far ahead of everyone else in sales.

I was at my local B & N and checked out his section. 7.5 shelves of paperback books!

Going to blog about your post as a great example of enjoying a success while continuing to focus on process, and also maintaining a proper emotional distance from the work. Congratulations on your success and thanks, as always, for being such a great role model!

I’ve been doing my part, what with the paperback version of Head On coming out last week and all. But what of this ‘JK Rowling’ that is right behind you? I hear good things. Maybe give her a plug or something.

@S Wyatt: This is a distillation of something John said when I saw him on book tour over a decade ago, and my own anecdotal observations as a public librarian: the majority of book readers only read a couple of books a year, and they tend to go for the habitual and familiar. Most seem to find a prolific author, and make their way through that author’s corpus, then wait for the author’s next release. Or they might follow a few authors in similar genres. But they rarely stray too far afield.

These days thanks to working with a small army of co-authors, Patterson is putting out around a half-dozen books a year, not even counting his YA releases. If you find his books comfortable or engaging, he’s made himself a literal one-stop-shop for your recreational reading.

Congratulations! I’ve always liked a story James Patterson told at the end of an audio book of his. He was in Hollywood for the filming of one of his books. He was having dinner with Morgan Freeman, who was playing Patterson’s detective Alex Cross. They saw Clint Eastwood eating dinner alone, & Freeman offered to introduce Pstterson, who agreed. They were over at Eastwood’s table, chatting, when they saw a woman approaching the table. “You or me?” Eastwood asked Freeman. The woman walked up to Patterson, telling him how much she loved his books. “Sorry to interrupt you,” she said to Freeman & Eastwood. So you never know whom people will recognize.

Sweet, and given the timing I can say that I got to help a little! I was chatting with a few friends and we all bought The Collapsing Empire and the Consuming Fire on Audible around this time. I already have both in hardcover (great books) but I like audiobooks for my car and Wil Wheaton is a such a wonderful narrator.


& thanks for the screenshot – A while ago, I felt a “great moment of loneliness” in a discussion with colleagues. We were discussing books & I was sharing the names of my current favorite authors: James SA Corey, Ann Leckie, James Scalzi, NK Jemesin. Those colleagues listened politely enough, but their blank stares were proof that none of them knew any of the names mentioned. I can now show my colleagues that my reading habits are in fact very mainstream! :-)

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