Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Take (or two) on Author Rank

SF author John Scalzi has an interesting take on the new Amazon author rankings. He kicks off his post by stating:
"Amazon has started ranking authors by total sales via Amazon, updated hourly. This is certain to make a whole bunch of authors begin to freak out as they constantly refresh their Amazon author pages to see where they stand in the rankings..."
The "freak out" part is where I have a problem with Amazon's new set up. Personally, I think if a writer pays too much attention to all of this ranking business it can be counter-productive, quite literally. When a higher portion of creative energy goes into promotion and its accompanying worries over actual writing, then there's something wrong with the equation. Does that mean an author, specifically an indie or self published one, shouldn't do any promotion at all for his or her books? No, of course not. But there has to be a balance and I think some folks are more worried about, as Scalzi puts it, "gaming the system" for their current books, than the much more important challenge of writing new books.

Other than a pathetically low-key social media presence, my not too terribly complicated marketing/sales plan is to write books that readers want to read. Yup, that's the plan in its entirety. Hopefully, I'll write enough books that I can build up a decent backlist. With a decent backlist and enough readers reading my books, there's an outside chance that I'll be able to earn a living as an author (which is, no matter what you hear, the ultimate goal for any author). I don't care what my author ranking is (no I haven't looked) and I'm pretty gosh-darned sure that I never will care.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Please let me know what you think about Amazon's new round of rank-o-mania in the comments.
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