Return of the Dead Horse

Somehow, I keep ending up in conversations about Amazon rankings.  I know my recent breaking into the teens opened me up to this. I was #16 on the Sword & Sorcery list for an hour.  Then #18 again for another hour.  I’m back in the #30s only 2 days later and the book is still selling at the same rate.  Shows how fickle things are at least with the Fantasy Genre, which is what brings me to the real point of this post:

If you spend more time trying to crack the Amazon Ranking algorithm than writing your next book or promoting your current book then you have a problem.

I see it everywhere and I’m tired of the conversation because I’ve accepted that I have no idea how it works.  Honestly, I’ve gotten more joy and success as an author by writing my stories than analyzing the data.  All I know is that I did something right to get up there and I’ve seen other people do the same with different tactics.  There’s no magic behind it and you hurt yourself by obsessing over the details.  Seriously, you would benefit more by promoting and writing than investigating the inner works of Amazon.  I’m sure many will disagree with me, but if it was possible to find a foolproof way to #1 in any genre then somebody would have figured it out by now.

Call me an idiot if you want, but I’m an idiot who is done stressing over the rankings.  I’ll be openly excited if I come close to a high rank and give reports to show I’m succeeding. I still feel like sharing my good fortune with everyone who supports me.  Yet, I’ve seen my writing suffer a bit this week while I was watching Family of the Tri-Rune bounce around the lists.  Maybe it’s time for me to grow up in that respect and say that it’s just a number and I’ll do my best to excel.  Just not at the cost of my future books.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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29 Responses to Return of the Dead Horse

  1. K. A. Brace says:

    Go gor it Charles. In the end it makes no difference. Like looking at the stats on your blog. >KB

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  2. You can say you won’t stress, but until your name is known like John Gresham I’ll bet you still will.

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  3. Jae says:

    I think you’re doing extremely well. I know plenty of authors who’d kill for your numbers. Besides, you have the best attitude to have: keep bringing the readers the best possible stories. Dedication to the craft is what should matter most.

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    • Thanks. I’m trying my best and only my editor and beta readers know the true level of neurosis. This last book probably tested a few friendships due to the level of insanity it drove me to. 🙂

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  4. I say, hear, hear! I’m glad you’re trying to remove yourself from the stress of trying to decipher the undecipherable. It won’t stop the stress of the production side of writing, but maybe help keep the focus where it’s supposed to be.

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    • That’s the plan. I’m gearing up for a 3 week break from the books too, so I really don’t want to spend it pouring over numbers. I’ve got too many small things that I need to do during this break.

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  5. M T McGuire says:

    There’s a reason the trad publishing model developed the way it did and that’s because gaining any teaction as an author is slow burn. If we’re inventing anything, be it stories or science, usually, somewhere somebody with some venture capital has to step in and speed the process up by putting money in so the imaginative person can work on their idea full time. Without the venture capital from a publisher, it takes longer to get to the position when we can give up the day job.

    In short I think the gist is write them, market a bit but write more and when you hit a certain number readers will appear and will tell their friends.

    So I spend a lot of time telling myself to be patient. Nice going and smart move for deciding not to let your mood go up and down with the numbers.

    Cheers

    MTM

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  6. Wise words Charles. It’s easy to get sucked in to chasing rankings, but it can end up making us miserable. Far better as you say to focus on writing the next book. After all the more books we as indie authors release, the more likely we are to succeed. 🙂

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  7. I agree with you. I leave all the stat-watching to my publisher and just try to clear enough brush out of my life to make room for writing.

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  8. Regardless of how it works, you can always enjoy it when your book (temporarily) breaks it previous record. 🙂 But an encouraging remark from a reader beats a ranking record, in my book. 🙂

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  9. Kirsten says:

    I think it would be hard not to be inclined to look at the ranks. From what I’ve seen, you don’t seem addicted to the stats so I think you okay 🙂 I also think you actually doing really well stat wise. I hope that this coming week you are able to focus mainly on writing and don’t worry about other things.

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