First rewards: Those bright orange ribbons of happiness

This spring, a couple of books that I'd been working on invisibly for many months appeared on Amazon, accompanied by lovely orange badges that let us know they were beginning to find their audience. 

The new edition of Set Your Voice Free, Roger Love's classic book on singing and speaking with style, power and freedom, got off to a great start, as a "#1 Best Seller" in three categories.  Carefrontation, psychotherapist Arlene Drake's  book on overcoming the legacy of childhood abuse, was a #1 New Release in the recovery category.

 It could be that our friends at Amazon have so many distinct categories—"Books about small dogs with blue collars," "Diet books that involve meditation" —that every new book is a top seller in its minuscule swath of the world. But even if that's true, it's still a thrill to see that little ribbon declaring that your title is on the rise.

Here are a snapshots of the proud moment for both books. Will they hit the best-seller list? Roger, a coach to innumerable A-list singers, actors and speakers, has a new television series coming out this fall, so I'm liking the odds. But here's the thing. The first edition of Set Your Voice Free sold more than 70,000 copies during its long lifetime in print, and the new edition will likely do the same. That makes an interesting point about the strength of books that appeal to an audience that's perpetually hungry for someone's expertise. Often, strong sales like that happen almost invisibly, earning a best-seller ribbon for a short while, then disappearing into the world where they simply sell 50 or 100 books a week—for years, even decades. The reach of such books is profound. And it's all the sweeter when the journey starts with a little orange sugar rush from Amazon.