What It Takes To “Make it” … by Darla Luke

Last weekend, while at the writing retreat with Susan, Nancy, along with good friends Linda K and Jessie S, the topic naturally turned to the self-publishing industry. It’s interesting to be in a group of intelligent women talking writing, publishing and … sometimes, politics. Oh, soooo not going to touch the topic of the presidential race, you’re not here for that!

While we were talking, I dug into the research of the authors who have reached the list I blog about each week (yes, that list will be put up here, promise!!). Out of all the books that I’ve documented here, the only anomaly I found is Susan Ee’s AngelFall. She doesn’t have multiple books, and/or (in my humble opinion) a professional-looking cover.

What she does have is a five-chapter excerpt on her blog. I’m a reader first, so of course I had to see why this story reached #32 on the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books list. Okay, I have to admit … I was hooked. Had to have it. Since it’s not available on B&N for my Nook, I downloaded the Kindle app on my smartphone.

It’s a great story. Hard to read in spots because it’s so visceral (it’s a dystopian tale, about a 17 year-old girl struggling to keep her paranoid-schizophrenic mother, paraplegic sister and herself alive in a world turned chaotic). I finished it on Sunday, and can’t wait to read the next book. If a traditional publisher isn’t courting Ms. Ee, they should be. Not that she has to be traditional published to be successful, she’s already been there/done that, but she should be noticed for her stellar writing (and in case you’re wondering … no, she’s not a friend of mine-darn it!-though I wish she were!).

The lesson for me is this … what it takes to “Make It” in the publishing industry is to write a damn good book. Period. Someone will want to read it, maybe even talk about it and shoot it to the top of the NY Times and/or USA Today Top 150 list.  My greatest wish is to at least come close to “Making It”. Same Zip Code would be nice 🙂

Here are the books that reached the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books list through the week ending Sunday 9-30-12*:

Down to You by M. Leighton (Amazon Digital Services). This week #32 (last week, not on the list) $3.99

White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert (B&N PubIt!). This week #46 (last week #213) $2.99

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams (Amazon Digital Services). This week #94 (last week #39) $1.99

*I’m human and make mistakes (a shock to my friends, I’m sure!). If there’s a book on this week’s list that I missed, please let me know. If I misspelled/mistyped an author’s name or book title, I’m extremely sorry.

Darla Luke

You can find me on Twitter @writer_at_work, “Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/darlaluke, or visit my website: http://www.darlaluke.com


About Darla Luke

Darla Luke spent her childhood making up stories in her head, when she wasn't devouring every book she could get her hands on. If someone would have told her she'd be a writer when she grew up, she would have laughed herself silly. Now, writing is her passion, and she loves telling stories (especially ghost stories) and believes they all should have a happy ending.

Posted on October 5, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. (Woo-Hoo! My vain inner child thanks you for the mention). It’s an interesting question, one’s definition of making it. My definition changes every hour 🙂


  2. First, really happy ya’ll had a great retreat, and I love that you take the time to publish this bestseller list.

    AngelFall sounds interesting and I love the cover. However, I also have to say it is NOT self-published. It was acquired by Amazon Children’s Publishing which is the same publishing company who bought all of Marshall Cavendish Children’s books. When I looked it up, I was wondering how the paperback version could be so inexpensive, then I saw the publisher and understood. Amazon has several imprints now. Most of us romance readers are familiar with Montlake, but they also have several others including a huge push in YA.

    Yes, the publishing world is getting very complicated where Amazon is concerned.


    • Thanks, Maggie! You know, I wondered if Amazon Digital Publishing was an imprint. Thanks for setting me straight, as always your input in invaluable!


      • Darla, Amazon Digital Publishing IS the self-publishing arm. But Amazon Children’s Publishing is an imprint, just like Montlake Romance is an imprint of Amazon. I think the other imprints are:
        Amazon Encore – reprints of out-of-print books where rights have reverted
        Amazon Crossing – books in translation
        Thomas & Mercer – mysteries and thrillers
        47 North – SF, Fantasy, Horror
        New Harvest – General Adult TItles, print distributed by Houghton Mifflin.

        There are probably more. It seems they are buying something every month. But these are the main ones right now. I know they bought AVALON Books in June. I don’t know if they are going to keep the Avalon name or add it to Montlake or what. Avalon sold sweet romances and cozy mysteries.


  1. Pingback: Apologies all Around … by Darla Luke « See Jane Publish

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