Friday, September 2, 2016

Quality versus Quantity

I read.  A lot.  And I don't mean for work, or to find out about current events... I mean fiction.

At the moment, I'm in the middle of a recorded book on CD in the car, I've got a paperback book in the boatbag that I'm partway through, I have a print book that I've been reading in the evening and right before going to bed, and I have an ebook that I'm reading on my iPad.  (I have the kindle, nook, kobo, iBook, and GooglePlay reading apps on my iPad.)

Lest you think that this is the "quantity" that is part of the title of this post... hold on.. I haven't gotten there yet.

And as some of you know, I've also started writing fiction, and have formed an indie publishing company with a partner.  This means that at various times, I write, I edit, I format, and I promote.  And when everything goes well and falls into place, I (or, rather, the publishing company) actually sell some fiction.

So, as you can see, I'm interested - and involved - , in nearly all aspects of writing....  creating, publishing, consuming.

One of the distributors that the publishing company uses sends out weekly notices that tell us how trending books that are similar to the ones we've published, are doing.  And while this is interesting to me when I wear my publisher hat, it's also interesting to me when I switch to my reader hat.. because I'm always on the lookout for another book to add to my to-read list.  (Not sure why this is true, I already have enough books on my to-read list to last me well into my 130th year of life.)

This morning's email listed three titles in the email labeled 'Trending Books like The Weatherman'. And one of the titles caught my attention and piqued my curiosity.  For this blog post, I'll call this title Q.  Wearing my publisher hat, I see that Q's Amazon ranking is 22% higher than it was last week, and that it's currently #3 in the Amazon category of Science Fiction>Adventure... and I know that Amazon's rankings are based on some sort of algorithm that includes a combination of reviews and sales.

Wow!  That constitutes a lot of reviews, and more importantly, a lot of sales.  (THIS is the quantity part of this post.)

But as I said, I'm also a reader.  So I took off my publisher hat and put on my reader hat, and clicked the link on the book to take me to Amazon.

The description of the book was ...  interesting.  Not fascinating, but interesting.  So I moved down to the reviews.  There were 7 'top reviews' listed.  All 7 reviews were only 1 star.  But that was not the worst part.   In all seven reviews, the reviewer expressed tremendous regret that they'd started the book, and not a single one of them had finished the book.  I just re-read the reviews, because I decided I must have been mistaken... but I'm not.   7 reviews.  1 star each.  Not one of those reviewers had finished the book.

Wow.  Clearly, THIS is the quality part of the post.

I'd like to think that if there was that sort of response to something I'd written, or something I'd published, that I'd remove it from being on sale.

The author of Q must be doing something right.. or at least doing something.  Perhaps the author is buying his own books, or paying people to post positive reviews.  I did notice that Q was on sale, so maybe the author just makes the book so inexpensive, or does a better job at marketing, because it certainly looks like the author of Q is making more money from the book, than I or my publishing company are, from our titles.

BUT.   I choose quality (of book) over quantity (of sales).  That applies to what I read.  That applies to what I publish.

I've not told you the real title of Q, nor have I told you the name of the author.  Because the point of this is not to slam the book or the author.  The point is integrity.  And if you have integrity, then you value Quality, over Quantity.  In fact, you value Quality, even at the expense of Quantity.

And of course, you always value tea.

P.S.  Teapot Musings is not a 'writer's blog', where I share tips and reviews, and it's not an 'author's blog' where I ask you to buy my book.  And I will not be changing that.  But for those who are interested, you can find my author page here, and the website for the publishing company, here.

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