All the advice I’ve read about marketing your first book cautions that you can drive yourself crazy looking at Amazon rankings, because no one really knows how the algorithm works that feeds them. Still, you just kinda can’t help it, especially in this pre-launch phase when there is little else to go on to let you know how your book will be received.
Actually, there are other indicators that aren’t as visual and visceral as my Amazon ranking, but are even more important to a book like mine because they demonstrate local support. Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville and Politics and Prose at Union Market are both hosting me for book events and I know they will have the book on their shelves, probably before it starts to ship from Amazon. The Ivy Bookshop will be selling the book at the Baltimore Book Festival and in their bookstores. I stopped in at Curious Iguana bookstore in Frederick last week to introduce myself, and didn’t even have to finish the name of the book before learning that they had seen the galley (sent to them by the awesome team at Johns Hopkins University Press) and were definitely placing an order! Now I’m working with them to set up something really special in Frederick for later this fall. It’s really quite amazing how many local bookstores we still have and I hope most of you do buy the book from your local booksellers.
But being on Amazon is still a necessary step that makes the book widely available, is a great source of information to help people decide if they want to buy the book either online or at a local store, and has that amazingly addictive ranking information. So today I’m celebrating my fleeting moment with the “#1 New Release” banner on my page! Sure it’s in the “Mid-Atlantic Food and Wine” sub-category, which is not exactly rife with new releases. But it’s great to be in a category that is not yet maxed out, there is so much more to explore. I hope The Chesapeake Table will be the first step for a lot of people. In the end, it’s not ranking that matters, it’s getting into people’s hands and opening up their eyes about the local, sustainable food that’s all around them.