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M. R. Sellars, writes books, brews beer, and pretty much does whatever his wife tells him to do.

I’m actually a little late to the party here.

Not just with the late blog, mind you. I mean with the topic. Although I have known about this particular issue for some time, I have been thinking on it. You see, I have a personal rule –

Don’t dis other authors, or their work, in public. It just makes you look like an ass.

I’ve been adhering to that rule, because I already look like a big enough ass. Or is that douchebag? I keep getting them mixed up. Oh well, either way, I’ve kept my mouth shut about this while the rest of the world had gone monkeyshit crazy about it. Well… I’ve finally decided to say something, but I think I’ll try to restrain myself to shithouse rat crazy.

You see, Snoopi… Wait… Snacki? No… That’s an Eric Cartmann thing… Snoozi? No… That was a dwarf, right?… Wait… Oh yeah. Snooki. I think she works in a pool hall or something… Anywho, it seems that Snoowhatever wrote a book. From what I understand, not a very good book. I have no intention of buying it, nor of even checking it out of the library. I did, however, accidentally read an excerpt from it.

I say accidentally because I was reading an article and it contained said excerpt. I read the first line of the selected passage and stopped cold. I had to read it three or four more times to make sure it said what I thought it said. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if it was trainwreck worthy. If that were the case I wouldn’t say a word, because no matter how bad it is, if it is trainwreck worthy it is something that will hook a reader and keep them going – ergo, it will sell books.

This wasn’t a trainwreck. It was more along the lines of suddenly discovering rat droppings in your Moo Goo Gai Pan after having consumed over half the carton. Yeah, disgusting and horrifying. Not just the content, but the writing as well.

But that’s not my issue. I mean, not everyone can write. Just like not everyone can be a brain surgeon. I do, however, take umbrage with the vast majority of folks out there who seem to think “writing” is easy and something just anyone can do. Case in point, Snoopi, or whatever the hell her name is.

But we still aren’t at my issue.

You see, I used to want to be on the New York Times Bestseller list. I’ve always seen that as some sort of brass ring where my writing career is concerned. You know, New York, New York… If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere… Hitting the NYT Bestseller list would mean I finally made it. My books would be flying off the shelves. My peers would take me seriously. As it stands right now, most of them do. The handful that don’t can kiss my… Well… getting off subject again. You know me…

But like I said, I used to want to be on the NYT Bestseller list. Now, I should point out that I have a few author friends who are, so my blog here today is not meant in any way to diminish their accomplishments. They are excellent writers who have honed their craft and deserve the honor. However, when I look at the list I also see that MOST of the names are people I’ve never even heard of.  Okay… So they made it too. Good for them. I’m a little surprised and not knowing who they are. I mean, I’m fairly well-read, but what the hell, I can’t know everything. Obviously they have a book that is so popular that it is moving off the shelves like hotcakes at the all you can eat free church breakfast.

I mean, after all, it is the New York Times BEST SELLER list, right? That sort of implies that the books in question are the cream of the crop. Those that are selling best, i.e., better than all of the other books.

Then you see something like this:

So… This bizarre little hardcover missive about a girl who launches loud, stinky farts while she “shakes her peaches for show” is a New York Times Bestseller.

Yes, it’s true. It debuted on the list at #24.

At first, that made me wonder about society as a whole. Truth is, I still do, but at least something like this meant that the Toob-Blinded sheeple might actually be READING something for a change. So, as distasteful as the chosen material happens to be, at least they were READING.

Then the Bookscan numbers came out. If you aren’t familiar with those, they track how many copies are actually sold. Well… Given that it was at #24 on the NYT Bestseller list within two weeks of its release, that number should be in the tens of thousands, right? Probably more like over 100,000.

Instead, it was 8998.

Yes. Eight Thousand Nine-Hundred Ninety-Eight. An eight followed by two nines and another eight. Four figures. Poverty level.

Too bad for Snoopi. Guess she’ll drop right off that coveted list with dismal numbers like those.

But no. She merely slipped a bit to #28.

Even though sales are sluggish right now, I’ve had way better numbers than those. Makes me wonder why I haven’t spent some time on the NYT…

But like I said. I “yoosta wanna” make it onto the NYT… After seeing this, not so much anymore…

More to come…


For the record: Positions on the NYT Bestseller List are NOT calculated based solely on sales of a title. It is a complex algorithm drawn from initial print runs, marketing hype, units shipped to retailers, and strategically scheduled lunch dates. ACTUAL sales to readers are a variable that is thrown in after the fact and carries far less weight than the first four factors at the outset. Its relevance grows as the book  either rockets through its sell-through cycle, or simply founders and ends up with vast numbers being returned and “remaindered.” I know this just like every other author on the block, so please take this piece for what it is – a satirical look at the publishing industry, smoke and mirrors marketing, and the “wag the dog” principle.


  1. I find the whole “Jersey Shore” phenomenon distasteful and embarrassing to NJ as a whole. Hopefully, each and every one of those people will be Darwinized out of the gene pool….

    And as for the NYT: Shame on them for promoting such a disgusting waste of human skin.

    Yeah, I know. I really need to learn how to express my opinions in a more forceful way, right?

    1. LOL!

      Honestly, that’s how it’s done. If my publisher came out of the gates with 125K of a given title sitting in a warehouse, and bought a lunch or two for the right folks, I would be there. But it’s not something most can afford to do, which is exactly why you RARELY see a book from a small house on the NYT-BL.

      The NYT-BL is a marketing venue. It’s sort of like buying advertising in a sense. You don’t get on it by selling a lot of books. You get on it IN ORDER to sell a lot of books.

  2. But then again there are those of us that know that what’s “popular” isn’t always “quality”. And it’s all a bunch of BS anyway…just like politics. You keep writing and I’ll keep reading!! You’re right up there on my list with DeLint and Salvatore!! 🙂

  3. Wait, so, let me get this through my Twisted Brain. Unlike Gold Records, which actually means you’ve sold a certain quantity of albums, or “top ten”- which means that your songs are played on the radio, or “Billion Dollar Box Office Movie” where the titles go with numbers that in our Capitalist society means success, The “NYT Best Seller” list doesnt have anything to do with quantities of books sold? Money made? It doesnt mean, even, that a number of people on the staff of the New York Times actually read the books and think you should read them? It just means someone spent a lot of money schmoozing someone who will then print your book on a list of books that people will decide to read because the New York Times said so?-oh, heck. someone told me thats how it really works. I dont think I believed them.

    (pause) I think I’m doomed as an artist. I’m not charming and I dont think I’ll be any good at schmoozing people. Well, only if I can laugh at myself a lot in private.

    1. Yep hon, that’s how it works…

      And, I don’t think you’re doomed. I think you are both charming and can schmooze. Especially when you wear Mary Janes 😀 LOL! Now… If we could just get you into some leather and stilettos… 😉

  4. You might get me into suede and cowboy boots, hon, but I’m mostly a blue jeans and barefoot girl. my shoe closet has more flat sandals than anything else! 😉

    I just need to get out of the house and get my stuff out there, I think!

  5. ????? No that is crude. I won’t say it…… What is the world coming too if someone like that is on the NYT Best Sellers List? I guess this is just totally beyond me. (never watched the show and truly have no desire to watch it) I can think of many talented authors (you among them) who deserve to be on said list but if I read your blog correctly it obviously does not mean what the majority of people think it means. Now I am not saying I have not read authors on the list. I admit until the last year and a half when I started reviewing books did I really even look at the list.

    There are somethings I will never understand…

    I guess you have a point Murv at least some of the reality TV watching crowd do read. But to be honest, that is one book I will not even pick up for 25 cents at a library book sale.

  6. For years, I’ve actually used the NYT list as a guide to what NOT to read, or to read last. I have to grit my teeth when patrons at my library are ordering books based solely on the damn list! We librarians have a list too…based on literary merit, story construction, and the SYI factor(Suck You In). You’re right up there, Murv. Confusion to the Times!

  7. Well, I guess my dream of being on the NYT Best seller List is flushed down the oval office. I might as well set my two year old in front of the ms doc and tell her to have at it. I bet you that would make it before my novel that was put together with blood, sweat and tears.
    Apparently, I was just setting my goal to high.

    P.S. I truly appreciate your humor in things. Without laughter and sense of play, we would have nothing!

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