- Regarding public postings: Should readers be encouraged to buy books that are already selling well? This makes no sense to me. People being what they are (and I'll likely insult you here, so bite down), the herd mentality prevails. If book shoppers see that Eat My Shorts by Benny Bushwacker is Number One this week, they'll likely stop looking and buy Eat My Shorts instead of another book that could very well prove a more satisfying read. Shouldn't overlooked titles be brought to readers' attention instead of those that are doing well on their own?
- Regarding both public and inhouse postings: How does it affect a publisher's non-bestselling authors to see that their efforts aren't being "rewarded"? Will they succumb to a defeatist attitude? Or will they start playing copycat? Neither consequence is desirable. The former could cripple truly good writers who have much to offer, and the latter will result in a slew of derivative submissions as lowlist authors try to ride the high-flying coattails of their more successful peers.
- Finally, there are those doofuses who will go around proclaiming they're bestselling authors or such-and-such a title is a bestseller, even though these distinctions only exist at Peapod Publishing. (I confess, I just threw this one in because it annoys the snot out of me!)
A couple of my publishers share sales rankings with their authors and only with their authors. They're damned good publishers, too. I sure as hell don't fault them for doing what they're doing. Openness invariably garners my respect.
That said, I never look at the figures. I don't want to see them. I don't want to feel discouraged, or pressured into writing stuff for which I have no real affinity just because I think it will increase my sales. I don't want to become a mope and I sure as shit don't want to fall prey, however subconsciously, to the copycat syndrome.
I'm wondering how readers and other writers feel about this trend. Are you influenced by bestseller lists? If so, how?