I know a few of you reading this track your stats regularly at Amazon. I know some big-assed famous novelists who watch it hourly like school kids with ears pressed against the proverbial (in a Porky’s sense) wall between the locker rooms, hoping to hear their name mumbled on the other side. But perhaps you shouldn’t. I mean, besides because it wastes your life and makes you look like an idiot when people find out.
It is not uncommon to hear an author talk about Amazon rankings. Amazon is one of the few places to get a sense of how a book is doing in real time — the elaborate, drawn-out process of getting sales numbers from bookstores and back to authors is (to say the least) Byzantine.
Despite its specialization — Amazon counts only its own sales, after all — the immediacy of these rankings can be addictive. I’ve heard authors talk about tracking their status against other books or trying to gauge exactly how many places a single sale might raise their rank. It can get a bit obsessive.