This morning a notice from Amazon popped up on my screen. The message said a customer had liked my review of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Buried Giant but made no mention of whether or not he or she actually bought the book. (Blog 5/5/15) Next I was reminded I’d written 13 reviews on Amazon and 6 had received a similar responses. According to the company, among all the reviews written, mine ranked number 120 million. Naturally, I didn’t crack open a bottle of champagne.
I understand some people take their Amazon rankings seriously. I don’t. (Blog 1/14/13) Most of the reviews I’ve written are for people I know who have self-published. Few of these works have artistic merit, which is why I never use my real name. The sad truth is, more writers exist in this country than readers of books — which shows in the products churned out and which explains why I’ve been known to lie. (Blog 1/14/12.) Certainly, my friends have lied for me. To give my books 5 stars is to rank me with Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Jane Austen. I think not.
What Amazon needs to understand is I’m not pimping for them. I’m pimping for my friends. I don’t fib in my blogs, however and because what I’d written there might be of help to potential buyers of Ishiguro’s curious book, I appended a shorter version of my blog on Amazon. (Blog 5/5/15) Thoughts about my ranking were nowhere in my mind. I merely wanted to help.
Facebook, too, can’t resist goading me into competition. Each day, I receive information about the number of people who’ve read my blogs and plying me with the numbers of their most successful bloggers. Having laid bare my insecurities, they assure me, that for a modest fee, they have a marketing package that will extend my reach.
I doubt their promise because my blogs, as one reader recently remarked, “Aren’t beach reads.” I took that as a compliment.
Life isn’t about competition, though the world of commerce would have us think so. Life is about connections. I’m happy to settle for a few good ones.
(Originally published 5/20/15)