Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, May 4, 2015


Every time I'm feeling down on myself for being crappy and unsuccessful - or just the opposite, and I'm walking on sunshine because I feel like hot shit in a champagne glass - I take a look at this screen capture. 

You know what this is?  It's incontrovertible evidence that I once beat THE HUNGER GAMES.  It's also an exemplar of why all the dumbass metrics we as authors pursue are pointless.

This screen capture comes from a list on Goodreads.  Goodreads is a website which authors obsess over and which, as far as I can tell, muggles have no idea exists.  The "lists" feature of Goodreads is even more obscure.  I'm not even confident authors know about that functionality.  Literally any jagoff can create a list with literally any title.

I remember once when I was young the "Little Nemo" cartoon movie came out, and the commercials proudly proclaimed that it had won the award for "Best in Category" at some film festival.  I asked my sister how that could possibly be true and she responded, "Well, the category could be 'Kids Movies Where the Hero's Name Starts With the Letter N.'"

That's what this picture is.  And that's what a lot of our pissing contests as authors are.  I might get kicked out of the Magician's Union for this, but I'll let you in on a little secret: if you're not a "bestselling author" you're an idiot.  Pretty much every author that can get their mother to buy a book can become a bestseller.  Because there are categories on Amazon so obscure that they have less than a hundred books.  So by dint of the fact that you've published a book in the "Kids Movies Where the Hero's Name Starts With the Letter N" category, you'll instantaneously become a "bestseller."  In the most technical sense.

And sometimes, we just have to step back and remember that all these metrics - sales, ranks, reviews, etc. - are just bullshit.  Some people are better at gaming the system.  Some people are just legitimately more popular.  But worrying about things like this makes about as much sense as Suzanne Collins worrying that I beat her on a Goodreads list once.  Our quality, our sense of self-worth and success should come from within.


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