This morning I found this photo of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez giving United States President Barack Obama a copy of Huntress: Year One, on http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/. For those of you not in the comic book world, Heidi MacDonald is the comics czarina of Publishers Weekly and writes a very entertaining and educational column that isn't just for comics wonks...for example, earlier today she wrote a fascinating entry about a long-forgotten female cartoonist and her struggle to balance her talent with society's expectations.
What does this have to do with international diplomacy, you say? Well, recently promoting my book with email blasts and gift/review copies being sent out from Amazon shot my Amazon ranking up, and Heidi noticed and wondered...well, the book isn't bad, but...er, #10 in books overall on Amazon? #1 in Comics & Graphic Novels? #1 in DC Comics? #1 in Superheroes? Yes. And I just never get tired of that word, "Superheroes."
Conspiracy theories abounded, including one that perhaps Chavez had given a copy to Obama, and that Ashton Kutcher had tweeted about it, but answer was, as Heidi pointed out, mundane: I was promoting my book and sent out gift copies as part of my efforts. And as many authors have found, this can create buzz, and in some cases, buzz on top of buzz because of the byproduct of sales rankings. Let's not get into a long thing about Amazon sales rankings, since as I pointed out when Heidi asked me to comment, even Amazon says their rankings are "interesting!" The exclamation point is Amazon's.
The book is now back down to #163 and although I hope it never gets back down to #293,801 as it was not too long ago, it might. You know, until I get the huge bump in sales twenty-three years later that Watchmen got. That always happens.
This bump in attention did remind me that there are a few very, very special attractive readers with excellent and refined tastes who felt the book was wonderful, and I hope they all email me so I can thank them periodically and check in to see if they still think so. It also reminded me that there are three very, very angry, furious fruitcakes out there who spend what seems like a lot of time and energy hating me. Now, one of them I always easily recognize as a particular woman we banned from Red Room who likes to try to "get back at me." Sigh.
But there are two others who I don't think I have ever met. One of them started posting hateful things about the book before I even wrote it. The project had been announced but I was procrastinating and hadn't even written it yet. He later refused to buy it but posted that he read a friend's copy, and guess what? He was right! It was awful.
And there's a third person whom I will give the benefit of the doubt really read it and hated it, which does happen, and that's to be expected, but why come after me for it? I keep thinking there should be a government program to help get these three people jobs and friends or something. I mean, if you're going to hate someone you don't know and take time to constantly search for mentions of them so you can make nasty personal comments, maybe...think a little bigger? Like a war criminal or former president? I can even think of someone who's both.
Anyway, I don't know what my real sales are, but I hope someday when I find out that the news is good. But you know what? Even if sales are "eh," I really like the book, and so did a few other people, and most people who didn't like it are nice enough not to waste any of their time telling others. Someday I'll have kids, and maybe it will be a rainy day, and they'll be riffling around for something interesting, find a copy of the book somewhere in the house, and it will have this picture of Obama and Chavez stuck in it and they'll ask me why I never told them.