Fuse #8

Monday, October 09, 2006

Amazon Rankings and Author Obsession

As a blogger, I have struggled with my addiction to my Sitemeter for months. Every day I race to it, sometimes before I even see if anyone has commented on a post, to view the number of hits Fuse #8 has accrued in the last, oh say, 4 minutes. Of course, I get no money from this blog. It's just an incredibly satisfying hobby that give me copious/mildly-disturbing amounts of joy.

I can imagine, though, how much worse it would all be if my Sitemeter hits meant I would receive money of some sort. That's kind of the premise behind a recent article on The Culture Vulture blog by children's author Lyn Gardner. Entitled By the Numbers: The Allure of Amazon Rankings, Ms. Gardner confesses her Amazon ranking fixation.
Why are we first-time authors so obsessed with the Amazon rankings? Partly because, like pretending to do your tax return or essential research, it offers yet another displacement activity to avoid the real hard business of writing. But it's also because once your book is out there, all alone in the big wide world, you desperately want to know if it's thriving or has got completely lost - and for a considerable period nobody can tell you.
A feeling not entirely unlike the intensity with which I check my blog. For anyone who has ever glanced at the Amazon ranking of their favorite book (their own or otherwise) this is an article worth reading. I was especially fond of the commentator who wondered, "if Amazon rankings are actually produced by some sort of random number generator." And having seen what some fo the top sellers are, that would certainly be my guess.


At 2:52 AM , Blogger Greg Pincus said...

You look at your sitemeter? Huh. Not me. Never. Nope. Never. No, I mean that! HONEST!

At 9:46 PM , Blogger The Buried Editor said...

my site meter I look at all the time, but my Amazon ranking? It never even occurred to me to check that. Damn. Another useless statistic to track.


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