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February 20, 2005

Annoyed! Arrrrr!

Is it wrong for me to be annoyed at Naomi Kritzer for having a journal and not telling me, leaving me to find out about it completely by accident while snuffling through my server logs? Yes, yes it is. Even so: Jeez, Naomi. Thanks a lot. However, now I've found you out, so ha! Also, y'all should check it out, since among other things she has a far more reasonable take on the Newsweek "perfect mother" story than I do (no self-loathing Gen-Xery required). Also, check out her books, because she's a fine writer. I've been salivating for Freedom's Apprentice for a while now.

Also annoying: When your Amazon ranking suddenly spikes and you don't know why. This was an Instapundit-worthy spike, but he's not been talking about OMW recently (he's been busy blogging the Insta-wife's hospital stay, and I have to say I'm happy to see she's doing reasonably well -- He's much less of a wreck than I would be if my wife were in the hospital. As with everyone else, I'm hoping everything continues to be well and better than well for her). So now I have no clue. I mean, maybe there isn't an excuse; maybe six people simultaneously decided to pick up the book from Amazon for no good reason at all. But let's just say I'm an intelligent design proponent in this case: Someone's behind it.

See, this is the pathology of my Amazon Ranking mania (most authors have one of one sort or another). I don't particularly care whether the number is high or low (at this point, anyway; as I've mentioned before, as soon as Old Man's War went into the second printing, I declared victory and had a nice snack), but sharp movements in the ranking interest me. Call it my need to know.

Posted by john at February 20, 2005 04:57 PM

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Kevin Q | February 20, 2005 07:42 PM

Also annoying: When your Amazon ranking suddenly spikes and you don't know why.

Possible answer: It's in stock. I'd been trying to pick one up from a local bookstore, and nobody ever had it in, and if I was going to order one, I was going to order it from Amazon. Well, when you made this post, I decided that now was the time, and I was going to help push it to the top of the Amazon genre bestseller list.

Well, they ran out of it before I could order it. Undaunted, I placed my order with them anyway. I kept an eye on the rank, but it started dropping fast that day.

However, Amazon has just changed the status of the book. Previously, it said that it was on backorder. Now, it tells me that it "Usually ships within 6 to 10 days." My guess is that they didn't process the order of anybody who bought it on backorder until they had more copies coming in. Now that more copies are coming in, they've processed all the orders from when it was on backorder, and all those orders together gave it a nice boost.

So, no unexplained phenomena (not that I can disprove a higher intelligence manipulating Amazon's numbers), but it does mean that more copies of the book are on their way to stores, and that's always good news.


John Scalzi | February 20, 2005 08:05 PM

Interesting -- I suppose it's possible Amazon held off charging people for the book until they had it back in stock, and then processed a bunch at one time. The way to check is to look at your credit card statement and see when the charge was put on the bill.

Kevin Q | February 20, 2005 09:12 PM

Yeah, they haven't actually charged me, yet. I figure that they're just prepping to charge me. If the change happened today, or yesterday afternoon, then there would be no charge to my account until Monday, anyway.


P.S. Any chance of a book-signing in Northeast Ohio, so I can get this thing signed (after I get it)?

John Scalzi | February 20, 2005 09:16 PM

I don't think Tor has any official book signings planned for me; three novels from now, if I'm a raging success, possibly. However, at any point in the future I happen to be in Northeast Ohio, I will be happy to sign your book.

Scott Westerfeld | February 21, 2005 02:37 AM

The cure for Amazon-rating mania is checking on your Barnes and Noble rating instead. The algorithm at B&N is much more stable, leading to slow swings rather than sudden spikes that make you think you've been reviewed in the Times or something.

Of course, B&N is also kinder to YA authors such as moi, and generally less kind to SF, whose readers disdain its brick-and-mortar origins.

This from a veteran ratings stalker.

Cal Morrison | February 27, 2005 07:05 PM

Just finished Old Man's War. Thanks for the warm fuzzies! Yeah, I get warm fuzzy feelings from any story that reads like Heinlein-can't help it, my first exposure to R.A.H. was Red Planet; I was 7 years old at the time. Success, good fortune, long life and happiness to you dood. You Rock!

Regards, Respect (and a bit of envy) Cal Morrison

John Scalzi | February 27, 2005 09:09 PM

Thanks, Cal! Glad you liked it.

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