Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tricking your way to a bestseller...and ruining it for everyone else.

Here's something else I heard about on Goodreads: Apparently, some authors have taken to shanghai-ing their way to the coveted New York Times Bestseller title by having several people as "collaborating authors" on a boxed set--several novels sold as one product. Often, one of these authors will be a traditionally published writer with some exposure.

They price the collection (ebook, of course) on Amazon at 99 cents. Four or five novels for less than a dollar.

Naturally, lots of people jump on such a good deal. This results in a huge surge of sales, propelling these folks into the Top 100 ebook list on the New York Times Bestsellers.

And, forever after, these authors can call themselves NYT Bestselling Authors.


That list is supposed to mean something. It's a big deal--or it was--to end up on the NYT Bestselling list. Readers still think it's something to take notice of. If the people doing this are producing poor-quality work (which is likely, if they need to cheat to get noticed), then soon that association, that interpretation, will fade and all the legitimate NYT authors will suffer for it.

What the heck?

Moreover, this ruins the idea of legitimately creating a collection, for fear that you'll be lumped in with the cheaters. I think, personally, that a collection of first novels by a group of authors who respect one another's work and are in a similar genre or style would be awesome. It would need to be priced appropriately, of course, but it would be a great way to get visibility and readership, borrowing from each other, exposing readers who might never have seen the other authors in the collection.

But if I do that, am I a cheater? I have to admit that being a NYT Bestselling author would be a pretty awesome appellation, but I wouldn't be expecting that. Just hoping to help myself and my fellow authors expand our audiences.

Still. Perception weighs heavily. Because I got the idea from cheaters, it makes it feel like it's cheating.

What do you think?

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