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Is gaming the system worth it?

Hey Freelancer,

I’ve got another snarly, head scratching scenario on tap today.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some sort of saint. However, you probably won’t convince me that cutting corners, borderline cheating, gaming the system is worth it in the long run.

Case in point: in today’s article, I talk about an acquaintance who just last night hit a bestseller list. But, as I outline in my commentary, I’m not sure it was worth it…

Ack. When did this whole publishing/freelancing gig get so complicated, and so filled with impatient folks who disregard common sense?

Oh well. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this! Feel free to head to and toss a comment on this.

‘Til next time,

Beth 🙂


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Is this gaming the system? If so, is it worth it?

Beth Ann Erickson

Last night an acquaintance of mine hit a bestseller chart. That’s generally good news. Except this time, I was left scratching my head. Allow me to explain:

When I launched Filbert Publishing back in ‘01, I generally followed basic publishing rules, one of which was this: Always place your book in the appropriate category so potential readers can find it.

Not complicated, eh? It apparently is now.

Seems there’s a publishing strategy that maintains that customer discoverability is less important than bestseller status.

In this case, the author just released a thriller. Fiction. She apparently placed her book in the “Health, fitness, and Dieting” category. Uhhh… that’s nonfiction.

Turns out, the author found a category that wouldn’t be difficult to rise through the ranks. She placed her book in that category, sold a few copies, and boom… Amazon bestseller, in that particular category.

But… what about the reader? If you were perusing Health, Fitness, and Dieting to find a new book and you ran into a thriller… would that matter?

If you wrote a legit book in that category, would you appreciate your area being inundated with fiction, something not remotely related to your topic?

If you were a legit thriller author and were selling more books than this author, would you appreciate her bestselling status?

I don’t have any answers for this. In fact, I was pretty surprised to find fiction creeping into hard core nonfiction areas.

So here’s my question: Does this matter? Am I wondering out loud over nothing? Does best selling status matter?

I can’t wait to hear what you think… Comment below. 🙂


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