Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ranking - You're Face So Ugly...

***Just a quick note, when you finish here, check out the haps with me and M Pax as we chat it up at Spacedock 19 :-)***

Now...on to ranking~

When we played on the playground in elementary, getting ranked on was a battle of words.

"You're a cheese head!"
"You're feet so big they flop like Bozo the Clown when you run!"
"You're breath's so bad..."

You get the gist. Back then, the winner was the one who didn't cry. I tried not to play too often. Even though I was kind of tough from some bullying I took for being a certifiable nerd due to my love of books and my glasses, I was kind of sensitive, especially when the ranking slipped into "Yo Mama" jokes.

Yeah, them was fightin' words for me.

As an author, ranking matters again. This time, the playground is Amazon. Get the right rank in the right category at the right time when Venus and the moon align and you just might get to pull the lever to a door that opens the secret to life, or at least something like it. Okay, maybe not quite that crazy, but that's how it can feel.

Like my sales, I try not to obsess myself with the rank numbers, though the temptation is strong. I want to know if people really think my story is worth three or four dollars to purchase my book for themselves or for someone else.

I don't want to feel that my ranking - low, low, low or high, high, high - equates to how good or bad my story is.

What are your thoughts on ranking? What weight do you give to them? And did you ever rank on anyone when you were a kid?

32 comments:

  1. Ranking is nothing more than an algorithm. The only reason people obsess about Amazon is because it's the big gorilla in the playground. Every book seller has a ranking system based on sales, and there are independent ranking systems too.

    But seriously, when I go to buy a book (I've bought several this week alone) I never look at the sales rank. I read the reviews and the "see more" feature.

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    1. There must be some sort of freaky formula to this algorithm, one I may never truly comprehend lol!!!

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  2. I wasn't a ranker.
    I do check the rankings, as I almost missed the first time CassaStorm slipped into the top 100.

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    1. It's interesting to see the ranking and determine how to react or to react at all lol!

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  3. I imagine it's hard not to check the rankings for your book. But I think you have to keep it perspective and move on, like when you can't get an agent with one book or a publisher. You just have to move on and write the next one. I know it's hard though because your book is your baby.

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    1. I guess that's why so many authors do check the rankings several times in a day. I am trying to make sure I keep things in perspective.

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  4. There are WAY too many numbers for an author to watch online. Sales rank. Star rating. Number of people who added the book to Goodreads.

    I've done my time obsessing over those numbers. But I finally came to the conclusion that, while it's okay to peek once in awhile, my time is better spent writing.

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    1. Good point Dianne. Focusing on the writing is what's most important of all.

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  5. I have learned ranking is very capricious and doesn't always reflect the calibre of the story. I try not to focus on it too much, as difficult as it is!

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    1. I think that is what I have to make sure to embrace, that ranking, no matter what it may be, does not a brilliant story make...thought it's nicer to be on the better side of that stick lol!

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  6. I've gone the same route as Dianne. I still look, but not nearly as much. It's all a toss up and I've forgotten many times to figure in the star alignments ahead of time. ;)

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    1. I may have to add the constellations into the equation lol!

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  7. Ranking at Amazon goes up and down so much. I never pay much attention since one sale changes it so much.

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  8. I never ranked on anyone, but I do get affected by Amazon rankings! I try not to. After all, they fluctuate so incredibly wildly that they're virtually useless. But it's hard not to feel elated when your ranking is good and like going to live in a cave when it's 3 million! The secret for me was getting to busy to have time to check :) The rankings don't bother me now because I have no idea what they are! But the book scan data... that's a whole nother ball of wax! :)

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    1. Book scan data? Wow, yeah, I'm not even there yet lol!!!

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  9. Those darn rankings do make you feel bad. "400,000+? Am I that bad?" But really, it's just based on sales and how many you have compared to everyone else, I guess.

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    1. Yeah, that can feel a little sucky because you don't want your ranking to be a "testament" to whether or not your writing or your story is really good. Sometimes, can't help just shaking my head at the whole process, dive into a new shiney writing idea and come up for air only when necessary lol!!

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  10. Hey, at least you have something to rank! I'd probably be pretty obsessed about it though. As for me as a kid, I never picked on anyone. As a kid who moved around a LOT, I was always the new kid on the block. Quiet and kept to myself for the most part.

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    1. Oh, Candilynn. I can be seriously neurotic if I don't control my adult version of numbers angst. I don't think anyone would like me when I'm angsty about my numbers lol!!

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  11. I love that story, we used to do the same thing! Rankings are tough, they're oh so important for getting your book up in searches and getting it noticed. Yet achieving that can be like trying to find Atlantis.

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    1. That's something I found out this weekend when Neverlove briefly tapped a toe in the Kindle ebooks>Fantasy>Series (I think that was the subcategory) area at eighty something. It was short lived but it did feel briefly nice. I guess that was my moment of almost finding Atlantis lol!!

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  12. I try not to watch those numbers obsessively, but I do on some days. I tried not to make fun of anyone when I was a kid. I was a big girl, so I was frequently the one that other little girls would run to when they were feeling picked on. I was a little paladin in training. ^_^

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  13. Ranking can be useful, but it's also really too easy to obsess. Still, a lot of the feedback on Amazon can be helpful! :)

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    1. The obsessing is the thing I'm trying to keep from happening. But it is so tempting lol!

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  14. It would be hard for me not to check, but I agree with you. It doesn't necessarily define whether or not it's a good story. There are plenty of underrated books out there that I find marvelous.

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    1. Hmmm...being underrated is another way of considering things.

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  15. I must be obtuse, because I don't see the ranking, but I do see how my books are stacking up in sales. Don't worry about it right now. You want to connect with your audience. It can take awhile to do that. You'll find a few great souls who will talk about you to your friends and things start to build. Just build great relationships with your readers. You've got the personality for it.

    If it makes you feel any better, my new one is sucking air. It's a different audience. It's like staring all over again. It's not easy. Know you're not alone. Not by a long shot. Most of us are struggling along with you. Which is why it's important we do band together and do help each other along and do encourage each other.

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    1. Wow Mary, you've given me quite a few things to consider and put things into a new perspective. Thank you.

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  16. I check my ranking but just for kicks. I don't understand Amazon's algorithms and I don't even try :-) What's most important to me personally is to build a great relationship with readers, writing more books, participating in book discussions and recommendations. But it definitely feels rewarding to see your book in the Top 100 :-)

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  17. I didn't rank on anyone as a kid, but I feel your pain when it comes to Amazon rankings. I hope that for you, like me, you'll lose interest in the rankings as time passes. It's fun at first, but the reality isn't about how many people like your book (or frequently, like your cover, b/c that's what got their attention), but if even a single person really liked it. I'd trade one glowing review - one person who really enjoyed what a wrote - for a whole boat load of sales.

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Comments are welcome.