I might as well blog about it, because a lot of other publishing blogsitesÂ have mentioned it.Â Â They’re talking about a recent article in the Los Angeles Times by Josh Getlin, about the glut of books by big-name authors being released this fall.Â He writes:
“There are new books from bestselling “blockbuster” types such as John Grisham, making his first foray into nonfiction; John Le CarrÃ©; Stephen King; Michael Crichton; Robert Ludlum; James Patterson; Dean Koontz; Michael Connelly; Tess Gerritsen; David Baldacci; and Danielle Steel, all of whom rarely, if ever, publish a sales dud.”
I wasÂ blithely reading through the article when I came across my name in that paragraph and stopped dead.Â That was my name in the list.Â Included among the “blockbuster” types that “rarely, if ever, publish a sales dud”.
Um, excuse me, Mr. Getlin.Â ButÂ I think you must mean some other author named Tess Gerritsen.Â
It’s true that my last six books haveÂ been NYT bestsellers in hardcover and paperback.Â It’s true that it’s a likely possibilityÂ my next release will also hit the list.Â But I have never considered myÂ future as a writer a sure thing.Â
I haven’t had a chance to talk about this subject with other authors who’ve hit the list. Maybe I’m unique.Â Or maybe they’re just like me.Â Maybe weÂ all feel as if we’re hangingÂ on in this businessÂ by the skin of our teeth, and that every timeÂ we hit the list,Â we secretly think:Â “I squeaked through and got lucky again.”Â Â Â
Or maybe they don’t.Â Maybe they’ve accepted the fact they’re “blockbuster, sure-thingÂ authors”.Â Maybe I’m the only one who stillÂ has attacks of desperation and uncertainty.Â WhoÂ still wonders if anyone is buyng my books.Â Â
TheÂ insecurity isÂ especially acute during book tour (which I’m currently on), when I walk into a bookstore and see the thousands and thousands of competing titles.Â Â In the past, I’ve compared selling books to selling detergent, but you know what?Â Competing in the detergent market is a heckuva lot easier.Â There areÂ no more thanÂ a dozen brands at the most jockeying for our attention.Â Â But as an author, I’m up against a dozen NEW big titles each month.Â Every month.Â
Tide Detergent never had to struggle thisÂ hard.
So call me a blockbuster author if you want to.Â Â It’s flattering to see my name in any list with Stephen King and Michael Connelly.Â But I know I don’t belong there.Â And I never will.
No matter how many books I sell.