One of the first things a lot of people asked me after finding out that Wings had hit the lists was, "How does it feel to be a NYT Bestseller!!!"
About the same as it felt not to be.
I posted a tongue-in-cheek Tweet the other day that said: "So, what does a brand new NYT Bestseller do on her first full day as such?!?! Did you guess mow her lawn?? You're so smart.;)" But it really is true. Your life doesn't change anymore than it does by becoming published. I'm still a mom, I still mow my own lawn and bake my own bread, and I still struggle to try to write every day.
Which isn't to say I don't love it and it's awesome! But life doesn't change. Even writing life doesn't change. I still have a deadline at the beginning of June that I'm sweating over, and I still look at certain pages in my now-published book and cringe. (Does any author NOT do that?!?!) I get asked a lot if I will one day publish my old shelf novels if my name gets big enough and people look at me strangely when I say probably not. Just like when I was pre-published, I still believe that I should only publish the best work I can do at the time. And well, those novels are no longer the best I can do. I stress over reviews, worry about covers, freak out over titles. That part just hasn't changed.
It is career changing, I certainly can't deny that. For the rest of my career someone in the design department will find a nice, aesthetic way to put "New York Times Bestselling Author" on my covers. Aspiring authors will think I know something (I don't), people will probably send me free books to read, hoping for a blurb (yay! Free books!) and it will become a bullet point on my resume.(Assuming I ever write up a resume. Ha!)
But I hope that's the only way in which it changes my career. I hope my editor will still feel free to edit me just as hard as she ever has, I hope my agent will still slap me down when I'm getting too fussy, I hope aspiring writers will still come for me for advice because they know I will give it to them. I hope I don't get an ego. I'm going to try really hard not to! I hope I will be happy for associates' successes, get pissed with them over getting shafted, commiserate when things don't go their way. I hope that I will be one of those authors who has a reputation for being nice instead of . . .well . . . the other kind.
Because the fact of that matter is, there are hundreds, no thousands, of books out there that are better than mine that, for one reason or another, are not getting the attention mine is. NYT Bestseller #6 does NOT equal the sixth best book in the country. Just the one that happens to have the sixth best sales numbers at the moment. That's all.
Don't get me wrong. Hitting the lists is awesome! It's wonderful! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! But if I start acting like it means something about who I am as a person, please slap me with a fish.:)