So my book, Addition by Adoption, officially released on Amazon last week. And so I began my fixation with Amazon’s sales rank, something I imagine most authors go through (whether or not they admit it).
Before the May 11 release date the book’s Amazon sales rank was in the 500,000 range. Not too shabby, considering the millions of books that are published, right? Then on Tuesday the popularity surge began. It zoomed into the top 100,000, eventually settling as high as 55,721. It did end up at #35 in the adoption category.
Whoa. I know, right?
I assumed my book must be selling like hotcakes. Wow. All my hard work trying to spread the word about this thing (i.e., being annoying) must be paying off.
Not quite. Turns out the Amazon sales rank doesn’t mean as much as you might think. Depending on what you read and who you believe, cracking the top 100,000 might mean you’ve sold a single copy lately. Cracking the top 10,000 might mean you’ve sold a dozen copies. The top 1,000 might mean 50 copies.
It’s all relative. It’s all fluctuating. It’s all meaningless.
Just as quickly as my book surged, it also flopped. Today we’re sitting at 483,172. Total monthly sales to date? Seven. I don’t know what ‘selling like hotcakes’ actually means, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than seven.
I snapped a bunch of pictures (which seemed eerilie like what my father would do), but I wasn’t the only one. While standing in line at the post office a steady stream of people were going out of their way to check it out, standing around gawking and taking pictures. My favorite was the college-age girl snapping a picture on her cell phone. Stereotypically not who you’d consider to be a car buff, though who knows.
The car was quite the attraction, and you can see why. The owner said he had just rebuilt the engine and drove it in a neighborhood parade and car show. Compared to a modern vehicle the thing is ridiculously simple. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there aren’t a lot of controls (yes, that’s the battery sitting in the middle of the dashboard). It even has a starter crank.
I remember in middle school when I learned how an internal combustion engine worked I commented to my dad that it seemed like most of the systems in a car were just complications to deal with issues with the way an engine works (either making things easier, safer or more efficient)—radiator, starter, alternator, transmission, muffler, power steering, brakes, suspension, shocks, etc. You don’t really need all of that (though it sure helps). And this thing is proof. Never mind the creature comforts—seatbelts, airbags, window wipers (heck, windows), climate control, radio, brake lights, a paint job, etc. Though it does have a horn! I didn’t ask the owner if it was a classic ah-ooh-ga sound. I also love the real wood paneling. Even the wheel spokes were made of wood.
In the end it’s not much more than an engine. And that’s really just harnassing a controled explosion. Incredibly simple when you get down to it (if you can call controlling an explosion simple). Amazing how far we’ve taken the basic automobile.
It seems I mucked this post up a bit. In trying to confess something I consider to be wrong about myself, some people seem to be reading it as praise for that very feeling.
Doesn’t help that I unwittingly trampled on those who have difficulty getting pregnant. I apologized for that one. And I am sorry. That was dumb of me. I have close friends in those circumstances and I should have realized how idiotic my words could sound.
I wasn’t trying to say that adoption was better than biological parenthood. Having an adopted and a biological child myself, that’d be a pretty hard position to maintain without making some terrible implications about my own kids.
Here’s the thing: I think adoption gets the shaft. In wishing to correct that, I probably overreact the other way.
I wrote a guest blog post today over at the Buck Daddy blog. It’s a confessional, painfully honest post. Basically I admit to not being excited about people’s pregnancies because I think they should adopt.
I know, pretty horrible, right?
I know adoption isn’t for everybody. There are people who just aren’t ready for it and there are people who simply shouldn’t adopt. And I get that. But I can’t help hearing about a pregnancy and thinking that they could have adopted. I wish they’d consider it. And maybe they have.
I’m trying to get over it.
I used to be excited when I heard that friends or family were pregnant. A new baby! A new life coming into the world and all the joys and wonders that come with it. High five!
Justin McRoberts is back. Never mind that he already put out an album this year (welcome to the new musician-controlled music industry). Now he’s revisiting his second album, Father, originally released a decade ago, and offering rearranged versions of four songs from that release. You can get them for free from NoiseTrade (you can also score $3 off his latest covers album).
Twelve years ago this month Justin lost his father to suicide and depression. These songs explore his father and the experience of losing him. But this time around there’s something deeper:
“Every May 6th since has a surreal quality to it; as if the day should have been retired for all its wear and tear. But this May has a different shade to it than the past 11, as my first child, a son, is due May 31.”
So this collection marks the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one. As a father myself, that’s pretty cool. I started listening to Justin McRoberts more than a decade ago (has it been that long?!), and it’s been cool to watch him stretch and grow as an artist and person.
It’s short. At only 82 pages and comprised of 140-character updates, this one isn’t going to take you long to finish.
It makes Twitter useful. Lots of people like to make fun of Twitter and joke about how useless it is. This book is proof positive of the usefulness of Twitter.
It’s for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds will go to build a well in Ethiopia through charity: water. We’ve already raised $276 for clean water, but we have a long way to go to reach our $5,000 goal.
Let me add a big thank you. There are so many people who have made this book possible, from my hilarious kids to my lovely wife to my friends who helped create the book and became my marketing team. It’s humbling to see the responses pour in over e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. Thank you.
I’m indebted to a lot of people for this book, and one of them is the cover designer, Brian White of TriLion Studios. He jumped on board and came up with an incredible design right out of the gate.
The cover is such an important piece for a book. Even though my book will likely never sit on a bookstore shelf, you still need that eye-catching cover.
But more than being a great designer, Brian is also an adoptive parent. In 2007 his family moved from Kansas to Guatemala to complete the adoption of their baby girl. They spent about eight months living in Guatemala providing foster care for their daughter until the adoption could be finalized. A blog from that time captures some of their memories.
They also continue to be connected to Guatemala through work with the organization Paso a Paso (I blogged about this back in 2008). It’s an understatement to say it’s cool to see that kind of commitment.
Teachers have a hard job. Somehow everything is their fault. We rarely blame the parents or the administration or the kids themselves. We like to blame those lazy teachers, who clearly went into the job for the money.
It’s easy to dump on teachers and education in general. Marketing guru Seth Godin has given education a beating, especially with the release of his latest book, Linchpin. I haven’t read it, but much of they hype and talk surrounding the book’s release related to education. It centered on the idea that schools churn out similar students who are factory automatons and don’t know how to think differently or be remarkable—resulting in failure in the real world. I constantly hear people go on much like Godin does about how horrible schools are.
Tonight I watched the Detroit Red Wings with the kids. The Wings faced elimination against the San Jose Sharks, but they battled back and won 7-1 (the first time in 45 years the Wings have won when facing elimination in a 3-0 situation—or something, didn’t quite catch that crazy stat).
Anyway, the Wings scored five times in the first period (on only 9 shots!), so I had plenty of opportunity to teach Milo how to say, “Goal!”
I’m a little-biased towards this one, since it’s my wife. Abby is doing a fun giveaway with some motivation to better your chances of winning. Tweet/blog/whatever about the book or make a donation and you increase your chances of winning. Very cool.
Faith & Geekery
A more traditional ‘enter to win’ giveaway from a site that covers all things faith- and geek-related. They reviewed the book and I’ll also be doing an interview with the site that should appear on Friday.
So check out those sites and try to win yourself a copy.
A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.