Math and Stats

December 20th, 2004 · 4 Comments
by Jill Monroe

A few weeks ago, Booksquare discussed the rankings listed on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. My question is…do these really help the reader? I’m convinced most people don’t even see these numbers. My husband didn’t even know they were there. Now he is painfully aware.

This is a typical evening. Kids are in bed (finally) we’re sitting in front of the TV watching Whose Line on cable. Commercial. “Honey, I’m just going to get something from the back.” (Computer is in the back of the house.) I return two minutes past the end of commercials.

“You were checking your stats again.”
I affect a look of total innocence (suspect Husband is also starting to catch on to the non-sweet thing). I shake my head. “No.”
He raises an eyebrow.
“My hand accidentally brushed the mouse as I passed by. My ranking is slipping. I’m 100,000 places down.”
“I don’t get that. How does that work?”
Ding. Ding. Ding. I now know just how to work this. “It’s a numbers thing,” I say. “Who knows.” I add with a heavy sigh just to press the point home.
Husband perks up. “Oh?”

You see, here’s the thing. Like a lot of romance writers, I have married an engineer. Totally logical. Utterly rational. Then there’s me. Is there something more to describe polar opposite? Magnetic opposite? This is a man who chose CHOSE to take calculus 3. Remember in high school when some guy in the back asked the teacher if he’d ever have a use for pi after high school? My husband uses pi every day.

I majored in Journalism. You want to know the difference between the Journalism Major and the Political Science Major that had been my first declared major? Journalism students didn’t have to take a college math class. Which should be kind of scary when you contemplate the news.

The other day, my husband spotted me doing some math, and I had to carry the one. I put a little one in the tens column. (By the way – I’m calling it the tens column because I now have a second grader in the house. She calls it the tens column, and I’m just following her lead. I’m sure when I was 7, I called it the tens column, but I must have blocked it. Also, I’m confident this will be one of the few good years left of her thinking I can help with the math homework.)

Anyway, my husband spots me carrying the one. “You just can’t do that in your head?”
No. No, I can’t just do that in my head.

Which is now why my husband is armed with the link to explain how the Amazon ranks work. And it is also why my husband is checking my stats probably as much as I am (okay, not really).

So after all this…I really now understand wy the Barnes and Noble and Amazon rankings are there for – to drive the writer freakin’ crazy.

A job well done.

File Under: Jill's First Blog

4 responses so far ↓

  • Susan Gable // Dec 20, 2004 at 4:42 pm

    ROTFLOL – Yes, you’ve hit on the head – to drive us nutzo. Oh, and just FYI, they call it “trading” now, instead of carrying/borrowing. Trading, because it works both ways.

    Your husband really uses pi everyday? Wow. I’m impressed. (G)

  • Bill Peschel\ // Dec 20, 2004 at 5:36 pm

    Whoo! Another poly sci major who turned to journalism. I thought I was the only one who didn’t want to conduct a poll (which was the purpose of the statistics class you had to take before you could get your degree).

    The only thing i didn’t do was marry an engineer. Instead, I married a naval officer, and yes, she does the math.

    Anyway, I never pay attention to the Amazon rankings unless it’s pointed out to me. Considering that buying five copies of a book should send it skyrocketing, what dif does it make if it’s 5,263 or 12,589?

    BTW, Jill, you do all this work for the site, but I don’t see any links to your romance novels? Can’t you at least get some publicity out of this site?

  • Lean Left // Dec 21, 2004 at 6:08 pm

    The Explanation?
    If this is accurate and universal, it would explain a lot: I majored in Journalism. You want to know the…

  • Sheryl Nantus // Dec 22, 2004 at 7:59 am

    wow… I also married an engineer.

    there must be some sort of maochistic urge that overtakes writers.

    of course, there’s a slew of them in my family anyway – and they still can’t fix the leaky sink!