Over the years I’ve heard hundreds (maybe thousands of times): “I want to be on the bestseller list!” Great, I say, that will take a lot of work and a lot of planning and even then, nothing is guaranteed. For years now we’ve seen companies come and go, they buy up books to surge the bestseller lists and get the authors fame. Generally the “hit” to the list is short-lived, hence the nature of buying up your own books or, putting another way, faking it onto the bestseller list.
Look, I’m no Pollyanna, I get that this happens; what I don’t get is why authors still support this. And even more important, how is this allowed to happen? The Wall Street Journal just did a piece on this today, and noted that Amazon refuses to do business with these firms (Yah, Amazon). I would encourage more publishers to follow suit. Only then will we see the end to fake list surging. Oh and by the way, how about we create systems within our bestseller lists that spies these fakers and weeds them from the list? Amazon does with IP addresses, it’s really not that hard.
And all of this begs the question: whatever happened to believing in your book? Whatever happened to some good ol’ marketing muscle? Yes, we’d all love to see our books hit the bestseller list, but if you bought your way there it’s sort of a hollow victory, no? In the end, I believe that if the book didn’t get on the list by its own merit, it will never do as well as it would if, let’s say, it actually earned the right to be there.
Yes, I know we often live in a world of fake, but I’d rather leave the fakers to the reality shows and handbags. Please keep fake out of publishing.
Gaming the system, it happens with physical and ebook sales, it’s never going to be stopped but putting in at least some deterrents is a great idea.