J to tha M: Buying a Spot on Bestseller Lists

Happy Birthday to M! Here’s Your Bestselling Book.

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your WriteJ: So, I figured out what I’m going to get you for your birthday today

M: Yay!

J: I’m going to buy you a spot on the bestseller list. That’s a pretty cool gift, right?

ps, my birthday is in September, in case you want to plan ahead

M: uh

J: not awesome?

M: Awesome if you have that kind of money laying around and that you think of me, but…

J: it’s apparently a thing

like, it can happen

I was floored

where was that article…

jasmine referenced it in her blog for us

Melissa: I read about it on my TWRP chat list. One of the authors gave a link

of course, my email crashed this past week, so it may never be found again

J: oh, I found it

http://www.leapfrogging.com/2013/02/18/debunking-the-bestseller-book-sales-spike/

that was a guy who did it

after he read this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864304578316143623600544.html

M: Yay, you! My email makes me want to cry still. I’ll get over it in a few days. Anyway…

Yeah. It made me shake my head. Surprised…hmm, not so much, but still.

J: I can’t imagine buying my own way there

but it’s different if you do it for a friend, right?

I don’t know how that would work…

I mean, I consider it like Lance Armstrong or Milli Vanilli

it’s not real

but when someone does it for you… what then?

I can’t imagine a better present than making you a bestseller, but is it real then?

M: I think most people never imagine that kind of stuff happens behind the scenes, so to speak. It’s almost misrepresentation. When you see “bestseller,” you think it’s because individual people are buying the book. Actual readers. Not publishers, companies, affiliates, or a friend who have money burning a hole in their pocket.

J: (I like to look for ways around my conscience, as you can see)

M: I mean, if you have enough money to buy three to five thousand copies of my book, maybe we should use it to rent some tropical seaside cottage with cute cabana boys and try actually writing a bestseller. That sounds like more fun.

or hire a marketing expert to market the book to readers

or just hire those cabana boys. I live by the water. Not exactly tropical, but close enough.

J: i’m coming over

But I totally agree with you. Why not put your resources into doing it right?

is it easy to be proud of a bestseller when you’re the one who bought all the copies?

maybe it is for some. I don’t know. I’m kind of confused by all of it, to be honest

M: But what if it launches a book that deserves to be there into the public eye? What if you use it as simply another line item in your marketing budget?

It’s obviously a very effective way to get your name out there.

bring attention to your book

J: *sigh*

I understand bringing attention to it

but still. it’s false

it’s false inflation

It’s a fake identity

it’s a book photoshopped into the hands of a super-celebrity

maybe it deserves the accolades, but when it doesn’t reach those accolades fairly, what then?

M: I can see the marketing argument. I can the reasoning behind bringing a book to the attention of readers that they will probably like anyway, to distinguish it from all the millions of others. But.

But.

Most readers don’t see the best-seller list as a marketing tool, so to speak.

They think it’s an actual representation of what is being purchased by people like themselves, and liked, and recommended, and then bought by more readers.

J: there are thousands of other writers out there who may have an EVEN BETTER book, but not the means to buy their way onto the list

how is that fair?

I mean, none of it’s fair, and we’d be here all day if we stomped our feet and yelled about what’s fair

but still

M: I guess, like most things, it’s all in how you see things, what conforms to your ethics, and what allows you to sleep at night.

Can’t deny it’s a good marketing tool.

Also can’t deny it happens all the time.

But, being perfectly honest, you also can’t deny it just leaves a bad taste

J: well, if readers all knew, then it would be fair

if they knew people bought good reviews for their books and had basements full of their own copies just to get that spot on the list, that might be fair

and knowing which authors bought that spot and which fucking EARNED it…well, it’s just not that easy

M: Right. If we didn’t think it’s exactly fair, think of the authors who didn’t utilize that neat little trick and earned their way by actually selling copies to readers.

but then, that begs the question, did any of them actually do that?

And to me, that’s where the real damage lies. You start doubting the validity of everything the bestseller list represents

J: also an excellent point. Are these big six books so popular because the publisher can afford to get those books on there?

M: and is it okay because readers ended up really liking the book and bought a million more copies, and that ends up being an honest representation on the list?

J: i just don’t know. I think I’d be upset if I read a book that didn’t deserve to be there and found out later the spot was purchased

I’d feel super cheated

M: I think most readers and authors would

I also think others wouldn’t care.

And still others think it’s a great idea

J: it’s those who think it’s a good idea that govern the rest of the world, too

well, and those who don’t even know it’s going on

M: No matter what you’re involved in, people do crazy things

J: siiiiigh

so no bestseller list for your bday?

appletini instead? I can go either way

M: Let me go find those cabana boys to serve us drinks all day while we write fabulous bestsellers.

brb

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your Write

freedigitalphotos.net/markuso

Have something to add? Go right ahead! Nothing new to say? Just tell M happy birthday, then! We love hearing from you.
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About Jen Barry

Author of Young Adult novels. Reside in Nashville with my husband, a gorgeous Irishman. Drink too much coffee. Online way too much.

4 thoughts on “J to tha M: Buying a Spot on Bestseller Lists

  1. […] via J to tha M: Buying a Spot on Bestseller Lists. […]

  2. Hey Guys… but hasn’t money always been a tool for elevating the “haves” into higher positions than the “have nots”? In almost every field of business, politics, or whatever?
    Since like, the beginning of human history?
    But as my Grandma used to say, “The cream always rises to the top,”
    That’s why I love your policy of printing honest book reviews, good, bad, or ugly. Their our weapon against mediocrity. They help level the playing field and keep things as real as they can be.
    Happy B-day, M!

  3. “They’re our”. I meant, “They’re our…” Not “Their our”. omg.

    • Jen Barry says:

      Heh. I really like you. It is true that money has been used for thousands of years to buy success, no matter what the field. The Haves keep making it while the Have-Nots scream that it’s not fair. It’s just a way of life. I think it’s still okay to be irritated or even outraged. I also think it’s okay to try to change things, or at least hope for change. Even if it doesn’t change for us now, it could for others in the future. Look at the publishing industry right now, for instance. Changes happen every day, and in many cases, they’re in the best interest of the everyday Have-Nots who are trying to make a go of this writing things. Will the whole system break down and magically become fair for all involved? Probably not. But it might get better.

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