Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Rank and Bile

There was a time when I would wake up, shower, coif as needed, look in the mirror and assess my outward value--how I looked, how I felt. Who I was.

Not anymore. Since Penguin Putnam flung my book into publication, this is the new routine:

Get up;
Check Amazon ranking;
Brush teeth;
Check Amazon ranking;
Grab unhealthy breakfast snack;
Check Amazon ranking.

If ranking above 20,000, throw-up unhealthy breakfast snack while refreshing browser to double-check said ranking;

If ranking above 25,000, type “” with left hand while cleaning up bloody bile from computer keyboard with right hand;

If ranking above 30,000, smash computer keyboard repeatedly until keys scatter across kitchen floor like spilled Cheerios. Toss broken keyboard on pile of broken keyboards in corner of living room.

Allow me to introduce myself. Today, I am 15,425.

It’s my name, my SSN, my inmate number, my tattoo--it is everything about who I am. Until Amazon refreshes their rankings later in the day.

One is the loneliest number, my ass.

As anyone will tell you, Amazon is just one retailer and a book’s sales cannot be judged solely on Amazon’s fluctuating ranking algorithms. But it’s all we, as writers, have. And, fortunately, book store sales for me have been slightly brisker (in proportion) to my numbers on Amazon. But that number is all we can use to give us value.

So what does this have to do with POD? Stay with me. . .

Here is a smattering of POD titles that, as of this morning, have a better ranking than my book. Let’s call them POD midlisters, for better or for worse. I’m certain there are more than what I've included on this small list, but let me offer these as a representative group.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any of these titles as I have not read them.

The Asylum of Howard Hughes (Xlibris) – 14,232
Belligerence & Debauchery (Lulu) – 13,730
Nuklear Age (iUniverse) – 13,162
Suddenly Strangers (Aventine) – 13,102
Female Domination (Lulu) – 10,955
The Ghost Next Door (iUniverse) – 10,229
Slow and Steady Get Me Ready (Xulon) – 9,506
Stealing from Angels (iUniverse) – 8,025
Bedtime Stories for Women (Llumina) – 7,729
The Great Pretender (Infinity) – 6,162
The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse (Xulon) – 1,250

Now, if I were of the mindset, I could add a similar list of titles that were purchased by major houses for six figures yet have rankings of 250,000 or higher. (And, I should add, that many of my favorite books were titles that "bombed" by sales standards.) But what would be the point? We all hear about the major publishing bombs day after day after day.

What you don’t hear about are the PODs that surface to the top.

That silly, funny midlist.