Writely Advice: Turn away from rankings

Last week I had one of those moments where I though my heart was going to slosh out of my nether-holes and I was just going to give up the writer ghost.

Okay, I kid — I didn’t let it effect me THAT badly; but I must channel George Washington and say I cannot tell a lie, it did bother me. What? What exactly was it that bothered me? Hold your panties, I’m trying to build up an air of suspense.

All hail the queen of rankings

My rankings tanked. That’s right, I had tankings — not to be mistaken for a ‘tankini’. I Zombie I (my current best seller) slipped down… WAY down. I freaked. I called upon she who usually talks me off that ledge and hoped I wouldn’t let gravity eat away at my resolve and tug me downward.

Again, I exaggerate.

Anyway — in the middle of the apocalyptic panic, something dawned on me. When I look at that overall ranking, I fail to consider what is included in those rankings:

  • Oprah’s beloved.
  • Traditionally published books.
  • NY Times best sellers.
  • Books recently turned into movies.
  • Cross words.
  • Books by lame-ass couture-tards named Snookie.

And much, much more.

First I ask myself this question: “How can a zombie novel compete with the likes of ANYTHING the magic Queen of Queens Oprah has blessed?” They can’t. Not until the Queen of Housewives changes her turn, turns pinup rockstar, and starts reading horror.

Not gonna happen.

So until then, I have to be okay with my books not climbing the rank and file of every paid ebook available. Speaking of which… let’s take a look at some numbers (numbers which change daily).

  • Total number of ebooks on Amazon: 1,278,282.
  • Total number of ebooks tagged “zombies”: 2,925
  • Current rank of I Zombie I among other books tagged “zombies”: 20
  • Of the books ahead of I Zombie I in “zombie”, the amount that are free: 3
  • Of the books ahead of I Zombie I in “zombie” which are free to Prime members: 4
  • Total number of books ahead of I Zombie I in “zombie” which are priced less: 9
  • Current overall ranking of I Zombie I in paid kindle books: 63,839
  • Rank of World War Z in overall rankings on Amazon kindle store: 534

There are some staggering numbers to be found for sure. What I brought out of this is simple: Don’t be fooled by that overall rank. It’s simply not fair of you to expect your genre book to stack up against the standard fare that readers buy. The average reader wants feel good, touching books that will remind them that life is worth living, they are sexy, and that they can live a magical, six-pack ab life vicariously through books. Most readers don’t want to shake and shiver under their covers or vomit up their dinner because of a book they are reading.

So why would I (we) let those overall rankings get to us? The highest ranking paid zombie book in the Amazon kindle store is World War Z at 534. That book is about to be released as a film staring Brad Pitt. The Hunger Games is about to be released as a film an it has the #1 spot in the kindle store. Why? Genre. It’s a YA book that the vast majority of readers can’t get enough of.

Zombies vs. YA. No chance.

So why let rankings get me down? When they fluctuate on a daily basis and when overall rankings compares apples to panties — it just doesn’t work.

Ultimately what I’m trying to tell you is to not be so obsessed with your rankings. Sure it can be an exciting ride to watch your book leap up to that coveted top spot in Occult Kitchenware books — but you know that ride isn’t going to last and shortly another book about a haunted Kitchenaid Mixer is going to take the top spot. It’s an inevitability.

But if you are one of those that MUST check on rankings daily — do it within your genre. Don’t bother comparing your book titled “Intestine Slushy” to “The Girl with the Tramp Stamp”. You will just be disappointed. But one of these days, some punk rock chick is going to usurp Oprah as the Queen of the middle-aged housewives and zombies, ghosts, horror, and haunts will be launched to the top. Until then — let’s just be thankful we’re all here on this ride and enjoy the sights.

And, as a side-note, don’t let this post paint me as a wishy washy “I’m okay with where I am.” kinda writer. I’m not. My plan is nothing short of world domination. I will hold that top spot some day, and when I do, it’ll be MUHAHAs all around!