Writers are constantly being told not to look at their Amazon sales rankings, because it will only depress them. It’s advice I generally take, but yesterday I was on the site to see if I had any new reviews. Some people say you should not read reviews either, but I always do and I’m always interested in seeing what people have said about my books, even if they didn’t like them. (Side note: if you have read any of my books, it’s really appreciated if you review on Amazon, even if it’s only a few words.) Anyway, while I was there I thought it couldn’t do any harm to look at my ranking and this is what I found for The White Rajah:

I was stunned. Only later did I remember that my new publishers, Endeavour, had told me that they were going to promote The White Rajah through Bookbub this month and that I should tell everybody about it on social media. Unfortunately, they told me a while ago and by now I had completely forgotten it. But it turns out that Endeavour’s efforts had done the business even without me. (If you’re reading this today, Monday, The White Rajah is still being promoted at 99p, so buy it while it’s still cheap.)

Yes, this does show how much promotion can do and how important if it is to have the right publisher. (And I am so, so grateful I am to Endeavour for putting some effort behind this book.) But this means that The White Rajah was the second most downloaded work of biographical fiction on UK Kindle yesterday morning. Surely that must say something about the book? I certainly hope so, and I can’t begin to describe how fantastic it makes me feel.

Of course, Kindle rankings change very quickly and I didn’t expect to stay #2 for more than an hour or two. In the end, though, The White Rajah stayed there all morning and by evening had slipped only to #3. Even now, late Monday morning, it’s at #4.

After years of seeing my books struggle to find readers, you cannot imagine how amazing this is. It’s particularly gratifying, because The White Rajah was the first book I wrote and still has a special place in my heart. I am very, very grateful to all of you who bought it and especially those who made an effort to buy it as soon as they heard it was charting. Sales when a book is already rating well are particularly valuable in terms of visibility and marketing through Amazon. (Hint, hint!)

This news comes just as the figures for April showed that my new website (tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk) had its most ever visitors since it launched in January. It’s nice to know that people are reading my blog posts and enjoying the photos (go and have a look if you haven’t seen them already), but it also suggests that I may be doing something right as far as my personal marketing is concerned. And the sudden unexpected success of The White Rajah shows that this can eventually pay off. (The other books are suddenly doing rather better, too.)

The first few months of this year (when I’ve not been off on holiday) have been spent more on blogging and marketing than on writing, but this seems to have been the right thing to do. After all, there’s no point in writing books if nobody ever reads them. It does show the reality of being a writer nowadays, though.

So yesterday was rather a special day for me. Time for a little celebration. (I went dancing, but those of you who know me will hardly be surprised at that.) Today is back to selling, and maybe even researching and writing a little bit. But first of all I need to say a great big thank you to everybody who has bought my books, supported me on Facebook, or re-tweeted my interminable history and book-related Twitter rubbish. Thank you all so very much.

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