Rank Vanity

Obviously my unwholesome obsession with my book’s ranking at Amazon.com isn’t unusual. In fact, there’s an entire web site devoted to authors’ unwholesome obsessions with their Amazon ranking. Amazonscan.com tracks your book, video tape, or tchotchke over time. And even ranks the top gainers and losers each day. Like a stock ticker.
My personal page shows the hour by hour ranking of my book since it shipped on December 5. But that’s just not enough. I need a chart.

chart.jpg

I’m guessing the high peaks after Christmas and 1/12 occurred when Amazon ran out of stock. But I love how it’s hovered below 40 ever since. Hey. I’m not getting any money for this book. I’ve got to get my jollies somehow.

And, no, I haven’t written a Perl program to update the graph yet. It only reflects results through 2/4. Although…

44 Replies to “Rank Vanity”

  1. So let me get this straight…
    Jollies = knowing your book ranking.
    No Jollies = hanging around studio naked.
    Got ya.

  2. “So when do we see the chart showing how many times you mention in on air?”
    As soon as Leo gets that old mainframe on the TSS set running.
    Seriously though that Amazonscan site is cool…I think I am going to use it to track some of my favorite things.
    Kent

  3. Now, Wait a minute… you don’t receive any money from this book? WHY?
    I mean, look Leo… you WROTE the thing (well, mostly) and you deserve a few bucks from the sales. Or is ther some devious, microsoft-like clause in your
    employment contract that says that Tech-TV (ZD?) get’s all the moola?
    Frankly, man, as much as I like the book (and I do…) I would have hesitated even BUYING it had I known that.
    Kevin Miller
    (slightly miffed)

  4. OK well I got some money for it. A $5000 advance. Which is about 1/3 normal. And I’ll get 1% of the net after 40,000 are sold. That’s about as close to no money as you can get and considerably less than I got for my first book which only sold about 5,000 copies.
    Someone is making money from the book but it ain’t me. I knew that up front, though, and agreed to do the book, and two more in the next two years, for the promotion value, both for myself and TechTV. That’s why I’m hyping the book so mercilessly. I’ll benefit eventually if the book is successful. I guess you could say I did it to prove a point.
    (And if you’re thinking the point is that I need an agent, you’re probably right!)

  5. Are people really that bugged with me plugging the book? I think we do it minimally and with tongue firmly in cheek. I know there are some vocal opponents, but it it really THAT annoying? If it is I’ll stop cold. It didn’t seem that egregious to me.

  6. Plugging the Book: Why it is mis-understood and aggravates some people, by EB.
    Not all viewers or fans of the show come to Leoville, not everyone knows that you got 4 cents a book as a royalty or whatever it comes to, and most people assume that you are plugging away to get into the next printing to juice up your personal take. They don’t realize that your aren’t selling your version of the George Forman Grill, but rather that you’re just trying to make a blip on the radar before your next step to fame and fortune. Unfortunately it PO’s a lot of people who think “you are better than that.”
    The very best way to achieve this awkward, but neccessary evil of non-stop self promotion, is to have others shamefully promote you, while you yourself sit basking in the “awww-shucks, it’s just little ole me and my little ole book” mode of glory mongering. It achieves the desired effect of plugging the book, while you get to wrap yourself in modesty and mock-sincerity and also a bit of wonderment at all the fuss being made. This is called passive aggression.
    Get the fine folks at Tech TV to make a “gee whiz” Promo or spot that rolls into the commercial break, with another announcer’s voice (not yours) claiming the wild success of the book, include graphics of its sky rocketing popularity on Amazon, your chart, or whatever, and then saying something like “written by our very own Leo Laporte of The Screen Savers.” [fanfare, fireworks]
    Then you may continue to wear the mantle of the “everyman” and not risk sullying your “street cred.”
    :^)
    ************************************
    Enjoy yourself Leo, this is the fun part!
    Don’t let anyone (including me) keep you from enjoying yourself and basking in the attention you are receiving for the Book….. if you remember back to the time you spent staring at the computer screen writing it, and re-writing it, this is the point in time in the future that you kept telling yourself it would all be worth it one day!
    If you want to add some fun to the book plugging, use a flash light when the camera is in on a close-up, to make it look like a follow spot or something, and get the sound person to play the Robin Hood trumpet fanfare, (or maybe even the Gunga Din fanfare!) everytime the book is mentioned, or have a countdown clock in the corner of the screen clicking up a notch everytime the book is mentioned… you know, go for it! Have fun! And, by the way, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
    (I bought two copies at full price, so go ahead and spend that 8 cents on something!)

  7. Leo, I think it is awesome that your book is doing so well! You did a great job on the book, and it’s wonderful that so many copies are being purchased! If this keeps up, through your next two books, then when you go it alone (without TechTV), the book sales should go through the roof and then you’ll make the money you should!
    EB, some great ideas!

  8. Keep plugging the book! It beats paying for advertising. When you plug it on the show, you’re actually getting paid to advertise your own book. Can’t get a better deal than that.I must confess that I haven’t bought the book yet. Money is tight right now, but as soon as I get back on my feet financially (and from seeing that pic of you last night) I’ll be at the store.
    Ted

  9. FYI
    the folks behind Amazonscan.com are also the webmasters of that other famous site. F$#@!$compcany.com!
    OK Enough with the Book Already!

  10. FYI
    the folks behind Amazonscan.com are also the webmasters of that other famous site. F$#@!$compcany.com!
    OK Enough with the Book Already!

  11. FYI
    the folks behind Amazonscan.com are also the webmasters of that other famous site. F$#@!$Company.com!
    OK Enough with the Book Already!

  12. Some folks are easily annoyed — too easily.
    Leo and the gang have been having fun with the shameless promotion of their books/videos/whatnot. I enjoy it, especially since Leo let it be known that it was in his new contract.
    It’s obvious that TechTV can’t afford to promote things properly. Heck, they are still running several of the same promo graphics they had last summer when my cable system started carrying the channel. About the only thing updated since then was the cast pix after Black Friday….
    Have fun, Leo, and, while you are at it, tell someone with $100 to spare to buy a used Amiga 500, a genlock, and Deluxe Paint III so that TechTV can have new promo graphix :^)

  13. My comments were in response to the remarks made by serveral folks over on Paul’s Blog that were along these lines:
    “….. Also, make him stop plugging that stupid book. Either have the Bootcamp segment officially sponsored by the book or make him stop plugging it. I’m sick of hearing about the book. If we were going to buy it we would have bought it by now. Right now it’s hurting his street cred.”
    “….It is essential, absolutely essential to immediately STOP the constant pushing of the book. I cannot stress this enough. It’s played off like it’s humorous but it is not. It immediately creates a hostile environment for the viewer. You’re not QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Everytime Leo pushes that book it’s a mark against his credibility. Part of Leo’s respect is derived from fair and honest opinions of today’s technology, companies, and software. To see him push a product like that erodes that sense of trust.”
    Comments like those above tell me that this is how it is seen by people who aren’t “in the know” about the book sales and why you plug it so often……. I think it is more of a mis-understanding, since if they knew you didn’t make $10 a book, then they wouldn’t begrudge you all the time you spend hawking it on air. They think you are trying to get rich or something, imagine that? Anyone can tell you do it for the fun, not the money. :^)
    I’m up to about 8 cents now on my free advice meter.
    Elizabeth

  14. I totally enjoyed the book and am glad it’s doing so well. I think if your going to do a tip anyway, it might as well be from the book. Anyway, I think the total # of plugs per show has fallen dramatically in the last few weeks. In the begining it was –almost– too much, but the reason it was okay then was you guys were constantly joking about it. Not like it was Leo with book in hand and doing the Vanna White hand gesture with an announcer saying…”Poor Leo’s Computer Almanac. Perfect for every household!!”…in a cheezy announcer voice. Its just that people get irritated too easily. The plugs are fine you just need to say….CALM DOWN PEOPLE!!

  15. Leo,
    I am much relieved to see that you get SOME money, but you’re right that it leaves MUCH to be desired. Now that I know you DO get some $$$ (more on the reprint, I hope?) then I am going to start giving them as gifts! 🙂
    (Hmmmm… Maybe I can use them as a textbook in my adult ed. computer classes…)
    Anyway, Leo, I think you’re right… you NEED AN AGENT! *lol*
    As for the idea that you over-plug the book, forget about it. Some people are just too easily annoyed and have NO SENSE OF HUMOR!
    Hey, man, the reason I WATCH TSS is because it is:
    A: Entertaining
    B: Informative
    and you are the major reason for both of these. So, as one of my old teachers used to say:
    “Them that can, do. Them that can’t stand by and criticize those that do.”
    Don’t change a thing. Come on, people! Let’s get this book into it’s 10th printing! Maybe we can get them to give Leo a dressing room! *grin*

  16. If people can’t see that the plugs are being done tongue in cheek they need a serious crash course in humor. Leo, every time you plug the book in Boot Camp it puts a smile on my face. Those of use who watched you struggle with it on the Leo cam last year know what you put into it. I’m the proud owner of three, one bought at full price, two as gifts. I wouldn’t trade or give any of them away. As I said before in a thread, a good plug for a good book never hurt anyone! Plug on Leo!

  17. “Are people really that bugged with me plugging the book? I think we do it minimally and with tongue firmly in cheek. I know there are some vocal opponents, but it it really THAT annoying? If it is I’ll stop cold. It didn’t seem that egregious to me.”
    Don’t know why people would be annoyed. The regular television advertisements that are repeated over and over again, interrupting television programs must he h*ll for them.
    Doesn’t bother my enjoyment of the show a bit.
    It would seem strange if you didn’t promote it.
    I think when you have a site like this and you’re on a more personal level with people, they want you to ‘stay the same’ and not be too famous.
    (something like that lol)

  18. Hmm…… Interesting
    From: Leo Laporte, ZDTV (laporte@crl.com)
    Subject: Please allow me to introduce myself
    Newsgroups: rec.radio.broadcasting
    Date: 1994-11-07 18:57:28 PST
    Hi, Bill et al. I’d like to introduce myself and ask for some input…
    I’ve been a professional broadcaster for 18 years. Starting as a DJ in
    college radio in the 70’s at WYBC, New Haven, then at KMBY, Monterey,
    KLOK-AM, San Jose, and KLOK-FM, San Francisco. I started doing talk in 1987
    at KNBR, San Francisco. I am currently a weekend talk show host at KSFO, San
    Francisco.
    I am also the creator and former host/producer of “On Computers,” (nee
    Dvorak on Computers) a nationally syndicated computer talk show that is
    still heard in 60 markets and on Armed Forces Radio.
    After suffering a falling out with the syndicator of that show, I left and
    now host “Laporte on Computers” Saturdays from 10a-1p on KSFO, 560 AM, San
    Francisco.
    I also host a weekly television show for Ziff-Davis titled “The Personal
    Computing Show.” It can been seen Sundays at 1p Eastern, 10a Pacific on
    CNBC, and on Jones and the Sci Fi channel at some ungodly hour. But don’t
    look for at after 11/13/94 — we’re going on hiatus until early ’95. (I
    think that’s what they told Martin Short, too.)
    I’d like to start a conversation with you computer-literate radio types
    about what you think a good computer radio (or TV) show would be like. How
    high (or low) to aim the content. Do we focus on issues, consumer
    information, or tech support (or all three). Guests? Tutorials? Features?
    Just lots of calls?
    I have some ideas about all this, based on the last four years of computer
    broadcasting, but I don’t want to prejudice you, so I’ll hold them for a
    later message (or until someone asks me for them!)
    Nice to meet y’all. Thanks!

  19. Leo,
    Hey don’t worry about those few that have little or no sense of humor. Don’t change a thing. We all love you just the way you are.

  20. I’m just kiddin around Leo, keep plugging the book. I think it’s great that it has been so high in the ratings the last few weeks.
    Kent

  21. Why you should keep plugging your book:
    1) It helps people with computers
    2) It helps people who don’t realize that reference books are a great way to learn about computers.
    3) You stand behind your own product.
    4) It makes people laugh. Especially when they bust your balls about plugging the book! 😉
    Matías

  22. I see nothing wrong with Leo plugging the book. Look at it this way, if he was
    a musician with a new album, he’d be promoting that right? Do you get angry and
    annoyed with your favorite rock star because he’s trying to sell his album?
    Hopefully not. Same concept going on here.
    Leo, I say go for it. Do what you have to do, and don’t let the nay sayers
    discourage you. :o)

  23. I want to post a message about the show. I have been watching it for over 2 years I believe. I first started watching leo on the site. that show was great, and leo were you the voice of that computer animated charactor?? but enough of that, lets get back to TSS.
    I thought TSS was for advanced users, and would therfore cover more advanced topics. The interview segments need to go. These segments to me slow down the momentum of the show. yes nano technology, physics, and is there life in space is intriging, but isn’t TSS about computers. Now don’t get me wrong, some of the interviews actually help you do computer stuff, so this is good.
    I would like to see more on Linux and even the MAC, even tho I am Mac impaired.
    As of now due to the blah blah interviews, my interest in the show is falling fast.
    So how about reconcidering the format of the show and start getting back to more advanced topics, or a weeky series of alternatips how-toos.
    Please consider my sugestions.
    Thank You
    Bill K

  24. Leo,
    One of the many things I love about the show is everyone’s sense of humor. You always have a tongue in cheek way of promoting your book, and that doesn’t get old OR lose its charm.
    nrt

  25. what book?
    JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!
    It has been very helpful….my sister would not think so, because well, I use it and your show to sabotage her computer. Really, it IS funny. I am attempting to get her to educate herself on computers-so far all she has managed to do is change the wallpaper on mine to a picture of a horse like creature with long ears. You think she’s trying to say something? Meanwhile her start button still says “press here if you are a moron”. And her right mouse button is now her left….MWAH AH AH!!!!!

  26. It is not plugging the book that is annoying people it’s the number of times you plug it. Yes I’m annoyed by how many times you plug it not the fact that you plug it. It’s the same when you’ve seen a commerical dozens of times, it just loses its charm after a while and becomes annoying.
    Norm

  27. I want to post a message about the show. I have been watching it for over 2 years I believe. I first started watching leo on the site. that show was great, and
    leo were you the voice of that computer animated charactor?? but enough of that, lets get back to TSS.
    I thought TSS was for advanced users, and would therfore cover more advanced topics. The interview segments need to go. These segments to me slow
    down the momentum of the show. yes nano technology, physics, and is there life in space is intriging, but isn’t TSS about computers. Now don’t get me
    wrong, some of the interviews actually help you do computer stuff, so this is good.
    I would like to see more on Linux and even the MAC, even tho I am Mac impaired.
    As of now due to the blah blah interviews, my interest in the show is falling fast.
    So how about reconcidering the format of the show and start getting back to more advanced topics, or a weeky series of alternatips how-toos.
    Please consider my sugestions.
    Thank You
    Bill K
    Posted by Bill K, February 7, 2002 09:47 AM
    I would like to second the above view and also add my 2 cents to improving the show, GET RID OF Kat and Megan, its quite clear they are not up on computers, even with you Leo and Pat and Martin almost doing the segments for them.

  28. I almost forgot….
    Leo’s Book debuts, Amazon announces first ever quartly profits.
    Coincidence? I think not.

  29. I bought your book and its great! When is the next one coming? The next book will be a #1 best seller on the NY Times list!

  30. So if you don’t get any money for it – why plug it and push it so much? And why aren’t you getting anything for it?

  31. And for all that knock him for plugging his book how else is he going to sell it, stand on a street corner selling it? All stars that go on TV are there to promote something. Leo keeping promoting your book it is one of the great literary works of our time!

  32. I’ve had the impression you turned the book/video plugs into a farce on purpose for some time now. And people are responding wonderfully. Tell ’em to go complain to Paul. 😉
    Did you ever figure out how (one of the) book(s) got all bent while you were in New York? Hint: watch the Boot Camp segments for those days.

  33. Leo, I personally have no problem with the book plugs you do. Like someone above said, some people are just easily annoyed; so annoyed that they have to repeat themselves several times! Plug away as long as you feel comfortable doing it. Once it starts to bother you, then you know you’re plugging it too much. 😉

  34. I don’t have anything to say, EXCEPT:
    Sometimes you eat the bar, and well, sometimes the bar eats you.
    Oh yeah, one more thing. I like the Mac tips section of the boards. It’ll come in handy when my new ibook arrives. (which I bought after hearing Leo rant about it, maybe he’ll get a cut from Mr. Jobs)
    If you Google Leo and Chris Pirillo, who gets more results?

  35. I don’t like buying stuff from Amazon, when will I be able to get it at wallmart? I see the tech tv how to build a computer stuff on sale there. I personaly don’t see anything wrong with you plugging your book, and there’s always going to be someone complaining about something. I miss not being able to vote on your Blog 🙂

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