February 14, 2005

A List Unlisted *UPDATED!*

SO, what now??? I am finally physically back to, say, 85%. And the pre-sell tour is over, so barring a few little commitments here and there, I have a clear coupla months before gods gets its visit from the blue fairy and becomes a REAL BOOK! SO! I am going to MAKE A LIST of vital things that WILL get done before April 13th. Although (What's that? Galloping toward us over the horizon? Raising a mighty dust cloud like the Great American Buffalo Herds of Yore!? WHY! IT IS A HUGE DIGRESSION!) just because gods isn't actually OUT YET doesn't mean I am not ALREADY frantically checking my Amazon sales ranking number.

Every author I KNOW has an Amazon Sales Ranking Number Checking Problem (And here I leave my digression to DIGRESS: Natalie R. Collins is keeping a RUNNING TALLY of Amazon Ranks to see which is selling better, her first novel or The Book of Mormon...she wins some days, she loses other. It's a GOOD BOOK, her novel, but the competition is stiff...Natalie thinks she might win more consistently if she would take the time to found her own religion.) BUT ANYWAY, EVERY writer I know keeps one twitchy eye on their Amazon sales ranking even though they know in the grand scheme of having ANY IDEA of how the novel is ACTUALLY SELLING across the country, it means VERY VERY LITTLE and only confuses and upsets them when it plummets to half a million and fills them with elation that may or may not be founded when it suddenly leaps up to dizzying heights and breaks into three digit territory.

I have had MORE THAN ONE established author say to me, "When your book comes out, you must not start checking your Amazon ranking, because I just checked mine, and I am killing myself! So long! Thanks for all the fish!" Or, conversely, they might say "When your book comes out, you must not start checking your Amazon ranking, because I just checked mine, and I am now too busy and important to speak to you, and PS, my number is now unlisted, and I HAVE ALWAYS SECRETLY LOATHED your haircut." Either way, the message was basically this:

*Holds up an egg* This is your brain.
*Smashes egg into hot grease* This is your brain on YOUR AMAZON SALES RANKING.

But... realistically, no matter WHAT older and wiser folks SAY, I AM going to get hooked on checking my amazon sales ranking IMMEDIATELY after the book comes out, and it began to occur to me...why should I put off until tomorrow, dangerous addictive behaviors I could start today?

SO! I asked myself, SELF, I asked, WHY not GO AHEAD NOW and become obsessed with numbers I have NO CONTROL OVER and which don't actually mean anything?
And Self said, HMMM! You could wait ...I don't know, say, maybe, to retain a modicum of MENTAL HEALTH?

Which , if you read this blog with any regularity, by now you know I feel mental health is HUGELY OVERRATED. In fact if MENTAL HEALTH was a book on AMAZON and I was Amazon's ONLY consumer and could rank books at WILL, I would banish MENTAL HEALTH and send it SO far down the list its number would be over TWO MILLION, and there it would stay, along with all the books about politics and high colonics and any book that used a phrase like "His moist glance plucked tenderly at my heart strings" without irony.

With nothing at stake but my mental health, I went right on ahead and became obsessed with my Amazon ranking numbers MONTHS ahead of schedule. Which, if your book does not techinically EXIST because it hasn't actually even been PRINTED, it's still a THEORY this book, an IDEA, an order sheet and some signed blue pages, a note on a printer's "to do in spring" list, IF all this, then watching it's SALES RECORD on a NEAR DAILY BASIS is COMPLETELY NUTZY FANDAGOED.

Because, little square picture on an Amazon page aside, the ugly truth is....

People only very rarely buy things that DO NOT EXIST. If they DID, we could all sell prime real estate in Florida or some of the Up-For-Grabs Bridges of New York and become piggishly wealthy and go in together and purchase the South of France. It just doesn;t HAPPEN very often.

BUT. As any grifter can tell you...sometimes people DO buy things that do not technically exist. AND I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. ESPECIALLY when they coincidentally do it in a little CLOT, one after another, and my Rank will bounce up from where it usually sits at around 800K, and go rocketing up into the 100K or 80K range, and considering that I DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE A BOOK TO SELL YET, it's pretty exciting.


And I got ALL UP ONS and made Scott come look and, as you see, I had to do a little screen capture and draw HEARTS because the baby of mental health got tossed out in January's bathwater when I officially ditched my JUST SAY NO policy re: checking my Amazon Sales Ranking. DOWNSIDE: NOW I have to watch it GRIND ITS WAY BACK DOWN to 800K or so where it will sit with all the other books that are up on Amazon but not scheduled to exist for weeks or months.

BAH! I've digressed my way out of time -- I have to go babysit for a friend who's feeling cruddy --- MORE TOMORROW ON THE ACTUAL TOPIC (Whatever the heck THAT was...something about buffalo).



Mentally ill much?
Yes, thanks, and please pass the mashed potatoes and sedatives.

Posted by joshilyn at February 14, 2005 6:33 PM

Oh, Exalted Novellous One, pray tell me again about the smashing of the egg into the hot grease -- in which the edges are all crispy and delicious! *yum*

Blessed are those who pre-order, for they shall receive "first printings".

Posted by: David at February 14, 2005 10:55 PM

I say-"Give it up." It's like unto not putting your tongue in the space where you lost a tooth.

Glad you are feeling better.

Posted by: The Father at February 15, 2005 10:19 AM

Just to add another twist... I pre-ordered your book just this weekend (of course I wanted it because I know it will be good, but I also needed to qualify for some free shipping on another book!) but I ordered it through Chapters.ca because I live in Canada and have a 'spends-her-weight-in-books' card with them. So do you have a Chapters ranking number??

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at February 15, 2005 11:28 AM

I have pre-ordered your book, too. Hope that helps your ranking. Of course, you are the first book I've ever bought before it came out. I'm usually not one for prolonged gratification...especially in the buying of books.

Talk about crazy...I've ordered two.

Posted by: Waylon at February 15, 2005 4:31 PM

It sounds like the calm before the storm over there. You are so funny. Since a blog is not a book, I can only relate RIGHT NOW by admitting I check my site meter around 4 times a day. Lately my blog has slipped in humber of visits - and it stresses me. What will I be like when my book sells? You, I hope.

Posted by: tish at February 15, 2005 6:19 PM

You are my VERY BESTEST FRIEND, and not just because I appear sane when compared to you. But that certainly is a fringe benefit for me, Squirrel Girl.

Posted by: Mir at February 15, 2005 8:44 PM

I refuse to pre-order, because that would mean I would have nowhere to go on April 13th!! I can't wait to pull your book off an actual shelf at Borders and proclaim to everyone in my general area "I KNOW THIS WOMAN!!" Talk about mentally ill...but if you can't live vicariously through your friends, what good are they? ;)

I may hit Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton, too.

Posted by: Amy at February 15, 2005 8:56 PM

Have I ever told you you're my hero? :D
No, seriously, all Bette Midler background themes aside, you ARE my hero, and this is why. Not because you are a fabulous Published Author, although that's very nice. And not because you are my Favorite Blogger Ever, even though of course you are, if you can seduce me out of lurking like this. But because no matter what, you ALWAYS outdo yourself in Mental Illness ranking in the very most hilarious way possible to be thought of, thus making me laugh, but also making mefeel as if maybe my own rampant, raging,don't-look-it-in-the-eye insanity is perhaps not quite so extraordinarily uncommon and shameful as I thought, and therefore QUITE socially acceptable, and even, dare I say, FASHIONABLE, 'cuz Look! All the coolest Book People are this way!
See? You are so utterly fabulous that you forced a ridiculous run-on sentence from me, and I barely even cringe at it. :D
Why do I tell you this now? Because of course once your book comes out you will be far above the lowly peon lurkers like myself...but also because your blog is the only thing that made me laugh out loud at a very very difficult time, and be able to remember that grief passes in time, as all things do, and faster than most other things, if you're me. Thanks for somehow inexplicably reminding me to be myself.

Posted by: hiai at February 16, 2005 12:26 PM