Friday, November 23, 2007

Dear Matt,

You have no qualms about telling everyone you’d like to have a girlfriend, but there’s something you need to know before you have a woman in your life, and that is this: logic, reason, and statistics are highly overrated.

I do realize that you are not only a guy, you are also a Smucker, two enormous obstacles to overcome in absorbing this lesson. But hear me out.

So last night I explained to you that has something like 4 million books on its racks, or maybe it’s 2 million, at any rate, several million. And when you look up a book on Amazon you can also look up its ranking, with the smaller numbers being the better sellers.

I have two books on Amazon and I check their rankings regularly. In fact, I keep a scrap piece of paper under the keyboard where I jot down each new milestone. It has been glorious fun to see them rise from 700,000 to 400,000-ish and then on up in the 100,000s and lately, with the Christmas rush, into the 30,000s.

Of course, each leap upward gives me visions of a fattening royalty check. And the other night when Upstairs hit the dizzying height of 27,162, I just had to call you into the office to show you.

And you said nonchalantly, "Yeah, that probably means you sold a few more recently."

I said, "Matt, this has gone up from like 500,000 to this!" and I tapped on the lovely number on the screen.

And you said, "Yeah, well, statistically, at that level, if you sell one book it would jump you up several thousand points." And you stood there eating your sandwich like a nerdy unfeeling engineering student, utterly unimpressed with your wildly successful mother.

Listen to me: in a situation like this, you swallow the logic and reason, grin big and say enthusiastically, "Hey, wow! That’s great! I’m impressed!"

Just so you know.


Quote of the Day:
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching."
--Proverbs 1:8


  1. Matt, she's right.

    Absolutely right, in fact.

    (So are you, of course.)

    Now go do the right thing.

    (ie -- You'd better listen to her.)

    Uncle Mark

  2. Dorcas, I'm impressed (whether Matt is, or not!) Congrats to you for rising in the Author's Hall of Fame...or do I mean Amazon Hall of Fame? :) Pauline

  3. Hi Dorcas, I heard you at the OCW conference (much) earlier this year, and I've been an avid reader ever since--I love reading about your your experiences and your take on life. I came home and started my own blog the next day.

    Hurray for you and your very impressive numbers!


  4. Yea dorcas....way cool!!!! Matt isnt this the coolest? :)

  5. dorcas,
    better you to tell him than his girlfriend! :-)

  6. Adorable, post. And so completely true. :)
    PS Congrats!

  7. I'm happy to have been part of the astronomical climb on your Amazon statistics. Congratulations!! And good motherly advice.

  8. So true! Is there anyway the Smuckers are related to the Nice's ;-)? Maybe it's just a male thing! I thought those numbers were very impressive! Congrats and cute post by the way!--LaDonna

  9. Glad I could help you become an Amazon superstar...if not with your son at least in your own mind. haha.

    I have an eight year old who sounds an awful lot like your Matt. I've learned that making him laugh, or impressing him, requires an entirely different set of conversational muscles than with my girls! I'm a little worried about what will happen a couple years from now when he's smarter and more well-versed than I am!

  10. Great post! Something all of us young men need to hear! :-D

    However, this does raise a crucial question. I am wanting to buy some of your books and am wondering which would be most advantageous to yourself:

    A. to buy directly from you, giving personal knowledge of sale, receiving autographs, and giving you greater profit


    B. to buy through Amazon, giving you the dual delight of seeing yourself rise on the Amazon best-sellers list and adding to your new-found (thus doubly delightful) Amazon Associates revenue?

    I believe I can hail as your most remote loyal reader. I am in the Southern Laos town of Pakse, trying to stay on the dusty village paths as to not get blown up by land mines and pushing our tuk-tuk out of mud holes and fording creeks in tuk-tuks, etc... (We had 30+ people in one ultra-dusty, 2-hour tuk-tuk ride from Salavan to Sekong. We sat nose to nose and had 5-6 on the roof. Full accounts and pics coming soon... :-) )

  11. So nice to know I have friends in the gallery rooting for me even if my son isn't impressed.

    Hans--you really do present a dilemma. Take your pick; I'll be happy either way. And yes, I do think you're the most remote reader. I know there's one in Turkey and Heidi in Thailand, but no others out among the land mines in southern Laos. (Be careful!)