Now I’m 51

 

Well, now I feel like a real writer! After 5 days of my first novel being free to Amazon users (almost) everywhere, I have discovered that my fear was unfounded. It turns out I have written a book that you CAN give away!

A couple of days ago, I looked to see if there were any comments about BATDIG on Amazon and noticed that in the UK, the book reached the dizzy heights of #51 in the Science Fiction/Crime and Thrillers category. Within a couple of hours, it was falling down and now the position in that chart isn’t even showing. But out of all the books on Amazon, the book has surged to #44, 527. Does that position make me feel like a real writer? You bet!

It’s odd how these sorts of numbers affect humans – something purely digital influencing something so inherently analogue. It is maybe a testament to why humans have evolved the way they have: the ability to quantify everything so that, even if the method of quantification is arbitrary, the result is deeply meaningful.

So, are words under threat from the relentless march of numbers? After all, in this age of internet-connected lives, the only two words that carry weight are numbers: one and nought. They create the world we inhabit now.

Well, no words are fine. It’s all very well digitizing everything in sight but at some point, you need to convert it back. The universe isn’t really made up of ones and zeroes (probably). Indeed, if quantum physics is anything to go by, the universe is made up of ideas and experiments and strangeness. Just how I like my universes!

The debate about whether e-books will replace the printed word will no doubt continue until either someone develops batteries you can grow or we run out of space to put trees, books and e-readers (I am scared to think about the outcome of that!) or nobody reads anything anymore because stuff is beamed directly into our left parietal lobe. I think that e-books will mean that more people will have the opportunity to read and that has to be a good thing on balance.

Numbers and words are really just opposite sides of the same coin. At their heart, they are both about ideas. If you wholly embrace one, you have to at least acknowledge the role of the other. So, as much as writing and publishing BATDIG was an exciting thing to do, so was seeing that number – 51 – next to it on Amazon the other day.

And some more numbers to do with words that thrilled and amazed me too – over 5 days of giving away BATDIG, 133 people downloaded copies. Thank you one and all! I only hope you enjoy the words I wrote as much as I enjoyed seeing the numbers you added to.

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