Prior to September of 2012, my life was perfect. I had friends, my books were selling, and all was well. Then Amazon went and ruined my life. Forever.
And no, I am not being melodramatic.
Okay, I am, but just a little.
For those who have an Author Central page on Amazon, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, let me give you a little insight into the madness. An Author Central page is a page dedicated just to you, to your books, to your social media, to your profile and customer reviews. It’s a great one stop for all you. A writer/megalomaniac’s dream.
Except for one small thing.
It’s nothing really.
Just a ranking of you versus all the other authors on amazon.
Considering there are over 8 million books on amazon (probably a few million more since I typed that) you can see how you stack up against the population of Colorado and Nevada combined. Good times. Good times.
Now you’re probably asking how an author ranking made me into a serial killer. Well, it wasn’t hard. I was halfway there already. Amazon just added fuel to my fire, along with a target. 15,413 of them as of right now. Updated hourly. Makes it much easier when I don’t have to troll for victims…
You better watch it number 15,412. I’m headed your way.
No really. I have no designs on murdering at least 15,000 authors.
Not anytime soon. You can drop the restraining order Christopher Moore. I promise *wink*
So why in Amazon’s infinite wisdom did they start ranking authors, and more to the point, provided the same authors with said rankings? What can they and you possibly gain?
I wish I had a good answer.
The only foreseeable advantage I see, other than making us nuts (which while fun, probably doesn’t help amazon’s bottom dollar), is to grow more home-grown kindle authors and to have more people buy into Author Central, thereby, in the end, making for lower ebook prices (which equals more units sold) and no traditional publisher middle man.
While it can be easy as an author to get caught up in your author rank, because, let’s face it, we don’t get a lot of ego boosts otherwise. Most days are filled with mediocre reviews and rejection, often from my cat. He really hates when I serve him chicken and salmon cat food. You should check out his yelp reviews, they are downright catty.
But I digress; my point is the ranking system is a trap.
If you looked at my overall author ranking since it was born in 2012, you might think, hey, she must be doing all right if she’s ranked below 20,000 (as an author, the sanity question is still out). But you’d be wrong. While I make some money on book sales, I don’t even make enough to hit the poverty line from my amazon sales. That means, chances are, rank 15,415, 15,416, 15,417 and on and on probably aren’t either.
Now I’m not suggesting you don’t sign up for Author Central. They have a lot of good, helpful tools too for all authors. But remember, there is always an author ranked one number higher looking to bump you off.
And amazon offers plenty of shovels for sale.
Any other thoughts on author rank? Or better yet, anyone know where 15.232 lives?
*All kidding aside, I take any amazon ranking with a grain of salt. For one thing, we have no idea what sort of algorithm they’re using to rank authors. Does the number of books, the sales numbers, and how cute you look in a bathing suit matter? And what’s in a number anyway? Writers are bad at math. We’re lucky if we can add 2 +2, which is why publishers make royalty statements so hard to read.
** This is a follow up post to Amazon Ranking: From Loser to Bestseller and Back Again which I wrote on March 25.
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story, FROGGY STYLE and The Assassin’s Heart, as well as the forthcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.