Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our story so far ...

So, my new obsession is my Amazon rank and how many stars I can get.

Okay, maybe not a new obsession.  I mean, that's what authors do, right?  They look at to see how they are doing.  I know some authors who've sworn off this time consuming and largely useless practice.  Kudos.  And I generally only check once in a while.

Until this past Tuesday when INK MAGE was published by 47North as a Kindle serial.  That means it's only available as an eBook.  On Amazon.  And while it will eventually be collected into a handsome paperback, the novel right now lives only as digital whatnot on a website.  That means you won't find it on shelves at your local book store.  To the best of my knowledge, the book won't be reviewed by the usual places like Booklist and Publisher's Weekly.  These are not complaints.  47North has been great to me.  I'm simply acknowledging the reality that if I want to have any idea at all how INK MAGE is doing, I have to go to

So I sit at my computer.  Click.  Click.  Click.  I probably check about every 90 seconds.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.

But not by much.

Drink coffee.  Wring hands.  Try to write.  Click.

At the time of writing this blog post, my Amazon rank for INK MAGE is 3,346.  I've seen it as low as 2,200 and change.  I have no idea what these numbers mean, but I keep looking at them as if they will communicate something to me.

The first review was a nice, reasonably thoughtful 4-star review.  Okay.  Broke the ice.  Not bad.  The next review was 1-star.  Here is the review in it's entirety:

"The language was to foul for me...but I am a 70 year old woman who likes sci-fi. I only got to page 2 before I returned this book. This the first book I have ever returned or reviewed."

SHIT SNACKS!  I mean, is that a review or a tantrum?  What's a guy to do?

Nothing.  Just laugh.  I mean what can you do?

And yet all people know before purchasing the book  -- aside from the description -- is the stars.  The reviews.  The ranking.

So this is my stupid life now, staring at a computer screen, watching a number go up or down, hoping for stars.  Eventually, life will return to normal.  But not yet.  Click.  Click.  Click.


Candace D said...

I think reading the comments is my favorite part of Amazon. Many times the reviewer isn't even reviewing isn't even reviewing the
correct product or book let alone know how to form a correct and complete sentence.

I never purchase a book on the star rating. Unless people love something 100%, they get petty when 'giving out' stars. Maybe they think they only have so many to give in a lifetime?

Good luck and don't let them get to you.

Victor Gischler said...

Thanks, Candace.

Part of this blog post is to vent a bit of irritation at a silly review, but mostly it's also some self-acknowledgment that I'm driving myself coo-coo crazy checking Amazon 50 times a day. I can shrug off a bad review but I can't escape my own warped brain!

Candace D said...

I get it. I have no doubt that I would be doing the exact same thing if I were in your shoes.

Thacher said...

I got a 4 star review for a horror short story I wrote and the reviewer said " I thought this was a laugh-out-loud story. I hope the authors didn't mean it to be serious because I think they were being sarcastic when they wrote it ." I was and there was only one of me that wrote it. 4 stars is cool but as one of the 3 reviews the story has gotten it's kind of maddening to have that comment there.

Victor Gischler said...

I hear you, Thacher.

But to be honest, I am just glad when people read me. Even when a review is a bit goofy, I try to still be thankful somebody gave me a chance. It takes something really super ridiculous to get under my skin.

Beau A said...

Okay, that review by the old lady is hilarious. You should be proud of that. It makes me want to read "Ink Mage" even more now.

I always read reviews for books on
I compare the 5 stars and the 1 stars, and see if the people praise or bitch about the same kinda stuff I like or hate. I think if I were famous, reading reviews about my works would scare the crap out of me though.

Victor Gischler said...


Reading reviews can be a bit iffy. But you get used to it after a while.

Thacher said...

I think a big part of it is how solitary and time-consuming writing can be. Artists and musicians can work equally as long and as hard on something but when it's displayed the reaction is basically instantaneous. With writers getting someone to invest that time into reading and then going the extra mile to review or comment is one of the only times we get a reaction from what we've done. When it's not what we like it can be a massive bummer. I get a handful of people downloading that story and I'm grateful for them but there's that greedy little part of me that's like "Hey, tell me what you think!"