Yep, that one hits a bit too close to home.
Well, yeah. I half-remember Fritz Leiber's old comment about how the Hugo Awards exist to confirm exactly how many people are your friends, and see that in real time via Amazon's rankings. Even better, you can compare the number of people making a racket about how they're going to buy a copy of your book with reality. (In my case, I use it to note the complete worthlessness of reviews, particularly good ones. I'm now convinced that, much like the "Year's Best Science Fiction" collections being bought only by the wannabes with the lifetime subscription to Writer's Digest, the only people reading book reviews any more are those being reviewed.)
I never listen to anyone online who says they're definitely going to buy anything, unless I know them personally. It's only a recipe for heartbreak otherwise.
I don't really trust Amazon reviews for books, movies or music. They're too compromised by trolls and idiots. The only Amazon reviews I pay real attention to are for electronics, clothing, furniture, that sort of thing. With those, the reviews are less tinged by personal taste (or trollish idiocy) and can be better trusted.
Oh, I was talking about reviews in general. So far, I have yet to get a bad review for Greasing the Pan, and all of the reviews so far have been from I Are Serious folks. As far as their translating into sales, though, I've received about as much response as with the review copies that were stolen by the gimps in the Publisher's Weekly mailroom.
Good reviews really can affect sales, though. The reviews for General Slocum's Gold are what put it over the top. At the same time, though, I can see your point. The reviews for Walk In Shadows were also unanimously positive, and frequently in venues read by the target audience, but that book barely sold anyway.
I've never checked my rankings once, but Tamar does it practically every day! I find it more useful for CHEAP SCARES, because when it sells a few copies it goes onto a list of the top 100 books on filmmaking. I like being on that lsit...
I have to admit, right now I'm checking Amazon more to see if there are any new reviews posted there, but of course while I'm on the page I check the ranking too.
I imagine a scene in which a bunch of people in the Amazon tech dept (or whatever) are giggling as they randomly manually change these numbers just to mess with authors' minds.
The numbers rely on such an arcane formula that they might as well be random! I don't think anyone truly understands what the numbers mean except for the programmers themselves.
For my new book, I'm obsessing over the b&n sales rank, which seems a little more related to the real world. It's literally the overall rank on their combined book/music/video bestseller list.
That sounds easier to deal with, definitely. I hope your book is doing well!
The publisher hinted that they may need to reprint it fairly soon. Having an add go out from B&N last week linking it with King's Under the Dome didn't hurt.
Ha! The first thing my publisher told me was "ignore the Amazon rank or you will drive yourself crazy". I can't really help myself though. I prefer to view myself as #82 in the very precise "Books > Cooking, Food & Wine > Cooking by Ingredient > Cheese and Dairy" category rather than 350,000 or so overall.
I hear ya. I hope to one day be ranked #1 among authors named Nicholas Kaufmann.
I hear ya on that too! Damn that other Gordon Edgar and his photographs of trains in China!
That dude should do his obsessing out in the living room so his wife can sleep. That's what I do.
You're an author and you have more than one room in your house? How'd you manage that?
We managed to get our hands on one of those industrial refrigerator boxes, not the residential ones. Makes a big diff.
Oooo, smart! Maybe I'll trade the cat litter bag I live in now for a big Ikea box!