What do you do for an encore after becoming a #1 Best Selling Author? That wasn’t exactly the way my dad asked the question. It was more like, “So, other than bragging rights, what good does it do you to have the title of #1 Best Selling Author?” I about fell over and for probably the second time in my life, I was speechless. I very quickly regained my composure and I fired back, “Well, why not ask Stephen King or Danielle Steel that same question.” Yeah, I told him, didn’t I. But inside, I was seriously pondering his question. Does the title have any value to anyone other than me? And, now, what do I do.
See, on Easter Sunday, of this year, my latest book, A Haiku Perspective 2018 did, in fact, become a #1 Best Seller. Thank you I heard you say congratulations! Honestly, I was a bit flummoxed myself. There was no agent calling to fill me with praise for my efforts. No publisher wanting to be supportive and then asking me when I am to begin work on the next book. As an “indie author” I do those jobs and more. I write, format, publish, promote and collect royalties all on my own. Still, I don’t believe Mr. King or Ms. Steel have it any better than I do, because they too, have to answer the question of what comes next.
Back in 1990, I moved to Monroe, Michigan. It was there that I designed, built (well, hired others to do the actual work) and ran a Public Access television studio for the City of Monroe’s residents. It was a lot of fun. I had a boat load of previous experience in television and the trade school certification but that is not the point of bringing up this time in my life, it only sets the stage. Once we were up and running I met Miss. America! She was not the reigning Miss. America but she WAS a Miss. America. See, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko reigned as Miss. America in 1988 and she was from Monroe, Michigan. So, regardless of how long ago she had been crowned, she would always Miss. America in their hearts. Heck, she’d always be Miss America in the hearts of millions!
This woman was pure light and love, just like you would expect Miss. America to be. She was supporting causes close to her heart which included Hospice. It was the creation of Public Service Announcements for Hospice, that brought us together, for these were created in my studio by my students. Kaye Lani was gracious, inspiring and funny! One of us all the way, so much so that we never saw the crown that could have separated us. She never saw any separation and continued to carry herself as Miss. America in everything she did.
So, think about it. If the reign of Miss. America is over after a year and the word “former” is added to her title, does it still count? Does it still have the impact it once did? I ask these rhetorical questions to prove a point. Once you have achieved the status of #1 Best Selling Author, you are ALWAYS a #1 Best Selling Author. I have yet to hear anyone referred to as a former #1 Best Selling Author. Another author and book may also reach that status in your category, but it never takes the title away from you and your book. It merely provides someone else the opportunity to have a similar experience.
This is my 12th self-published book. And most of my books, are based in poetry. So, the logical thought would be to get working on a new poetry book. But I did take a week or two to let it all sink in while getting some back-burner chores out of the way. Then, I got the urge to work on a new book that I want to debut this autumn. I updated some social media with the words #1 Best Seller splashed over a copy of my book’s cover. And I have considered adding the title to my name, much like Sir Paul McCartney or Diana, Princess of Wales. I would be #1 Best Selling Author, Annette Rochelle Aben! Be? No, I am!
Now that it has been over a month since that conversation with my dad, I have to say that I am quite happy to have that title. If it did nothing for anyone except me, then it was well worth it to earn it. I am thrilled for the book, because it is one of my favorites. And I believe that there will be many other moments in the sun to celebrate. I may not spend my time at the Algonquin Round Table, chatting it up with other authors, and bouncing ideas off each other’s witty brains, but I am still in good company. I have membership in a club that validates time, effort and energy well spent. Even if that status is never again achieved (bite thy vicious tongue) once Miss. America, always Miss. America!