Can we not have pride ... the bestselling author debate

I read an article today with lots of good points about pricing, and cover art, and how we as authors are eroding our market. The tone of it was very telling, not showing, a lot about how we need to pull our socks up and not undersell ourselves.

I'm not here to comment on all that, I agreed with most of the underlying claims. There are too many 99c books, KU is a worry, etc etc...

One part of it, the biggest part of it in fact, dealt with the issues around people claiming to being best selling authors, and the reasons whether they can do that. I understood the main point (a group of twelve books at 99c pushing the author to the NY best sellers list for a week does not make them best selling on a consistent basis).

But, I felt unaccountably sad when I read it. I really felt like the implication was that in this current market with it's low prices, and free books, eBook authors aren't able to claim the words 'best selling'. I know, I probably read it all wrong, but it got me thinking about a big conversation I had with my Facebook friends a while back.

You see, I use the term 'best selling author' in some of my promo, and in my bio.

I hate saying it (see below), and I don't imagine for one minute many people will agree with me using it (see below).

In fact, I angst over the words Bestselling Author in my bio every time I see them. Who deserves to be called a best selling author at the moment? From many posts recently it would appear that transience in the market place (for example going sub 500 for 'only' two weeks) isn't enough to warrant the label.

Some come to mind immediately, JK Rowling has sold more than a few books (!), as has Nora Roberts, they can absolutely justify their status of bestselling author. They can put the tag line Best Selling Author on everything they produce, even their shopping lists.

I use it in my bio, and before I get shouted out of the room, I approached my friends on Facebook and we debated this at length.Being a Brit, we don't really like labelling ourselves with success. That's a national thing I think. We can be proud inside, but to the rest of the world we show reserve. Is it wrong to claim success, just because we're not selling on the level of Nora Roberts, can we not claim that we are selling well in our genre, or in eBooks as a whole?

But, still, you know something, I have so much pride in my work and how many people read my romance. I don't sell cheap, I have fantastic cover art, and, up until now my books have done well (that could all change next week). I am lucky enough to do well enough to support my family. I know that I am lucky and I work very hard, just like all the other eBook authors out there.

Hell, that is bloody fantastic, right? To be able to have a hobby turn to more and to earn a living from it. So this is me, claiming my hard won title that I very rarely use and feel embarrassed with every time.

RJ Scott, best selling author.**

**Also, best mum (according to Matt), best maker of colouring pages, best cuddle giver because of lots of padding, best quoter of lines from Supernatural in my house, and best eater of chocolate.


  1. I like the best mum bit. But I'd go with Acclaimed Author, 'cause as a reader I would happily shout out ANY Rj titles, even the paranormal one's I don't buy.
    Hugs back

  2. As an editor whose lucky enough to have done the same - though I only support myself, not a family - I wholeheartedly agree. I'd pat your well-padded back (with my well-padded hand) anytime if I could!

  3. I read the same blog post and I have to say that I agree with most of it, including the bestselling author part. This is not to say that you are not a best selling author. You are. From what I have seen you have a huge fanbase and everything you release shoots onto the bestseller lists in all categories and stays there.

    But there are some authors out there who I, like the blogger, think use the label far too quickly and far too frequently. It has got to the point where I, as a reader, no longer take any notice of the bestseller labels for authors, simply because it doesn't mean what it used to.

    Yes, I would shout out if I ever made the bestseller list and I announce if I make the ARe lists as well. But I know that I am not actually a bestseller in the classic sense and I would never dream of putting it on my promo stuff. I think that in some cases it is purely misleading.