On average, I go to the Amazon page the features my
novel about 73 times a day to check the "Amazon.com Sales Rank," which is some meaningless cryptic number that is based on total book sales, recent book sales, frequency of book sales and book category.* It is updated hourly. This morning at 9 a.m., my number was 343,853,** which means 343,852 books were selling better than mine.
The number was not what stunned me. I am accustomed to irrefutable black and white evidence of my copious failures. What stunned me was the "Customers who viewed this book also viewed" list, which is about halfway down the page. It contained the following:
My brother's book Stripper Lessons, Amazon.com Sales Rank: 425,399.
Grant Jarrett's More Towels: In Between the Notes Amazon.com Sales Rank: 433,704.
William Rosenburg's Time to Make the Donuts, Amazon.com Sales Rank: 65,977.
Pam Anderson's Star Struck: A Novel, Amazon.com Sales Rank: 20,040
Jiwon Oh's Mr. Monkey's Classroom, Amazon.com Sales Rank: 330,372.
And last, but certainly not least, Alan Ritz's Scientifically Guaranteed Male Multiple Orgasms and Ultimate Sex: Restart Natural Penis Enlargement, Eliminate Forever Premature Ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction, Impotence and Enjoy Daily Orgasms, Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,042.
Although I try to refrain from using crass language on this blog, and with all due apologies to Nick Hornby, I have only this to say:
*this is the definition I assign to the "Amazon.com Sales Rank" when I am unhappy with the number. When I am happy with the number, the definition goes something like this: the "'Amazon.com Sales Rank' is a clearly drawn representation of a book's saleability."
I am "happy" with the number whenever it dips below 100,000, which prompts me to run gleefully through the house collecting dozens of felt tip pens such that I'll be well prepared to sign the hundreds of thousands of books people will be shoving in my face when I go to the supermarket or gym or marital aid emporium.
**I was obliged to abandon my usual OBC writing style, which includes dozens of edits and rewrites, and feverishly write this entry in fear of my Amazon.com Sales Rank number plummeting even further before I could post it. Hence, I implore you to forgive the associated typographical errors that are heretofore invisible to my crazed eyes.
I think I told you this before: Kids, don't try this at home.