Monday, May 5, 2008

Why keeps me up at night

Ad Hudler writes: Fellow author Kristy Kiernan’s hilarious essay about readers’ reviews on this month (on this blogspot) got me thinking about amazon in general … and how I wish it didn’t even exist.

1. Amazon makes me fat. Yes, I had to make that move from 34 to 36 earlier this year, and it’s because I no longer must burn the calories needed for twice-weekly trips to the bookstore. In the pre-amazon days I would burn calories by showering and getting dressed (okay, so yes, I do write in my underwear quite often). With amazon, I no longer have to crawl into my truck and negotiate my way through traffic, neurons firing and calories burning. I no longer get those two to three minutes of cardio, walking from truck into store and then THREE minutes more, walking back. My God, come to think of it, one trip to the bookstore EASILY burns off the two or three cocktails I enjoy the night before. (Okay: Four.)

2. Amazon wastes my time. My productivity would surge by 23-percent if it weren’t for amazon. Any author who says “Oh, I never look at the Amazon sales rankings,” is a BIG FAT LIAR!! This is the truth: We spend HOURS watching those numbers! Because publishers are so bad at sharing sales figures with their authors, we rely on amazon to give us a feeling for how our books are doing. When I have a new release, I swear I check amazon twenty times a day, maybe more. The better your number, the better your mood, especially when you’re a mid-list author such as myself. After the first six months or so, if I can stay in the top 3,000 I feel like one of the popular kids in high school. If I dip into the five-figure numbers – and I sure as hell have … plenty of times … I feel more like Napoleon Dynamite. Each time I log on to my computer I go to amazon: Do they like me more today? Oh, they LOVE me! ... Oh, they HATE me!!! Why don’t they like me more? What’s wrong with me? They just don’t “get” me. Maybe I don’t “get” them. Was my grandma lying to me when she said I was the best writer in the WORLD? Surely not! … Grandma? … Grandma!!?

3. Amazon makes me poor. When your sales numbers start to slow down, you start to experiment. Okay, what happens if I buy one copy? How much will my sales rank go up? (Click!) Okay, but what if I buy four copies? (Click!”) OMG: My ranking just SOARED. Okay, then, what happens when I buy SIXTEEN copies? And THIRTY-SIX! You get the picture. A great day comes when some book club in Wisconsin orders books all at the same time! I imagine those novels fluttering around the town like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, being shared and passed from reader to reader, doing the Johnny Appleseed thing with the name of Ad Hudler. Oh, it will be such a bounteous spring! … Or: You might find out that it was only your mom buying Christmas gifts for her friends. Sigh…

4. Amazon hurts my feelings. Yep, just as Kristy implied in her blog entry, there are people out there who depend on criticizing others to make themselves feel good. A reviewer named Gina D. Pearcy said this about my novel, “Southern Living”: “I found his portrayal of Southerners to be incredibly insulting. In fact, I found the entire book poorly written and not at all in the league of Fannie Flagg which the cover brags.” Author’s note to Gina: Guess we know what part of the country you live in, don’t we? Well guess what? So do I!!! And the Atlanta newspaper called the novel “wonderfully, horrifyingly accurate.” So if you don’t like the content then YOU’D BEST LOOK IN A MIRROR AND CALL YOUR SHRINK!!!!!!!!!! Did you miss that lesson in eighth-grade English that dealt with IRONY? And who taught you how to use commas, huh?!?! Go back to grade school! I’d sure like to see YOU write AN ENTIRE FRICKIN’ NOVEL!!!“

Okay, I’m being ugly now …. BUT SO ARE YOU, GINA!!!!!! NAH-NAH-NAH, SO THERE!!

Amazon used to allow authors to respond to reviews. I guess it’s a good thing they don’t do that anymore.

Note to readers: Please don’t write anything in a review that you wouldn’t say to the writer’s face. It’s just common courtesy. Please. Or, better yet, let us take a turn to judge YOU THE SELF-APPOINTED CRITIC on something important to you. Maybe one of your kids has multiple piercings and a tattoo on her forehead. Geez, maybe she has SELF-ESTEEM issues because YOU REALLY STINK AS A PARENT!!! AND, WHILE WE'RE AT IT, HOW CLEAN IS YOUR REFRIGERATOR, GINA? HUH!?!?!

Oops, doing it again.

Before I close, I leave with this confession: Sometimes, after I get a one-star review, which is not very often, I log on under a nom de plume and post an absolutely brilliant FIVE STAR review of my own book … just to make things right again.

Ad Hudler’s most recent novel, “Man of the House,” will be published this fall by Random House.


Anonymous said...

OMG, okay, I admit it, I'M GINA! And my refrigerator is SPOTLESS.

I loved Southern Living, Ad. And, as a gen-u-ine Southerner, and having lived in Ft. Myers (where SL is set for you Neanderthals who've not yet read it), I can tell you, you got is just right.

Thanks for sharing your Amazon angst...Amangst?

Kristy Kiernan

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Hey, I just realized something-- I must be a REAL LIVE AUTHOR!My book comes out in September but I FEEL like a REAL LIVE AUTHOR now, because I've done the thing with checking the sales rankings multiple times (cubed) per day...and...I bought the first 10 copies (well, I THINK I bought the first 10 copies)-- because I didn't want my book to just LANGUISH there, like it was all "nekkid" or somethin'. I haven't had to deal with any reader reviews yet but I'm learning so much from y'all, I know I'll be prepared. Cool beans!
Thanks, this is an awesome site!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

Anonymous said...

Southern Living was actually set in Macona dn it was wickedly accurate.

Great read!

Anonymous said...

Ooops! I was thinking of All This Belongs To Me. My apologies, the mind is going and an astonishing rate these days..