Friday morning, I got a surprise e-mail from an old friend* and best-selling German author, John Madison:
Welcome to the "Oh my god, it has been an hour, I need to find a computer to check my amazon ranking!!!" club. I hope you enjoyed your freedom while it lasted.."
I laughed to myself, thinking, what the hell is he talking about? My book had only been available online for a few overnight hours, it didn't even have an Amazon ranking. Or so I thought. After responding to John, I immediately checked my Amazon page. I was already nestled in at #24,854.
Whoa! How had that happened?
I was still a "nobody" and "no one" should have known about my book just yet. Most books of that "nobody"/"no one" criteria were floundering in the 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 range. I assumed it was just a weird blip. An hour later I refreshed the Amazon page. Now I was at 18,734! HOW TO FAIL was selling better than countless more "famous" books by much more "famous" authors. And, yes John, my day, if not life, was now ruined.
I was supposed to be spending all day going over the final design of my book with a fine-tooth comb, looking for the most minute errors to clean up before the printing, but, instead, like a drug addict, I was now just staring at Amazon in a catatonic state hitting refresh, refresh, refresh.
I decided to get greedy. Tweeted to my followers to help me get under 10,000 that very day. Refresh refresh refresh. 15,678. 13,429. 12,993. 10,324. I was so close!
And then, around, 2:30 in the afternoon, I smashed my way into the top 10,000 shooting down to 7,345.
I was now even greedier. Hungrier. Ravenous! Like a cokehead I needed more, more, more. Refresh, refresh, refresh.
An hour later, I peaked at #5,432.
Not too bad I thought. In just 24 hours this nobody had one of the top ~5000 books in America! I patted myself on the back and celebrated with a special beer.**
And, then, the hubris punched me in the face and the withdrawal symptoms slowly began arriving. My rank started slowly sliding backwards. 9,439. Refresh, refresh, refresh. 12,920. What the fuck?! Refresh, refresh, refresh. 24,562. Oh god! My life is OVER!
Suffice to say, I had a problem. If I was ever to get any work done again I'd need to exert incredible willpower. I made a pact to only allow myself one Amazon refresh at the start of the day and one at the end of the day over the weekend and from that point forward. I'd never get anything done otherwise.
I'm now fighting hard to overcome my vile addiction (already had a relapse today), I really hope I don't have to go on A&E's "Intervention," and I appreciate your help and friendship in this struggle. And, the best thing you can do is, of course, preorder a copy of my book and encourage your friends, family, coworkers, and the people you're secretly fucking to do likewise.
Then, and only then, when my Amazon rank cracks the top 1000 overall, will I finally reach nirvana. (Or, beg you again to help me crack the top 100! 10! Is #1 possible????? Fuck you Franzen!) Refresh, refresh, refresh, help me!
*Come to think of it, I was actually in high school German class with John. Why a Jew was taking high school German, I do not know.
**Cigar City's amazing Guava Grove. A saison yet shockingly tart and fruity flavorful more along the lines of Boulevard's world-class Saison-Brett than a spicy Belgian one. Guava Grove is without question one of America's most interesting saisons and, I'd have to say, one of it's best now. No surprise coming from the boys at Cigar City.