where the writers are
When is a bestseller not a bestseller?

Every day I receive countless emails from people claiming that they can make me a bestselling author... for a fee, of course. Services offered range from the provision of 'top secret tips' (which, presumably, the other five million writers paying the cash will receive), to seminars that are guaranteed to get my book (and that of every other attendee) into the no.1 spot (perhaps we'd all have to share it... I'd get Wednesday mornings between 10 and 11, and the other writers would get the rest of the week), to schemes that will make me an Amazon bestseller for a day.

Isn't there something a tad dishonest about bribing a bunch of people to buy your book on a given date to trick Amazon's system into believing you're a bestselling author for one day, so that you can then go on to tell the world that you're one, plaster it all over your book jacket and web site, and attempt to fool would-be readers into believing that you actually earned the title? Try as I might, I can't see it as anything other than blatant misrepresentation. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the buying public into believing that a book is something it most certainly is not... unless, of course, the author who climbed to the no.1 spot using this method is actually intending to plaster 'no.1 bestseller on Amazon for one day after bribing folks to buy the book' all over his or her book's cover and web site. 

What I find more surprising than the emails I get that offer to make my book one of these faux-bestsellers, are the ones I get from fellow writers advertising their 'Amazon parties' (which, I might add, are decidedly spammificatious in content) that ask me to buy into this whole scheme to help them 'achieve' bestseller status. Where's the achievement in tricking the system? Why on earth would I want to buy a book which the author him/herself doesn't feel will achieve any sort of success on its own merits?

How about if I go to the local branch of Waterstone's just seconds before it closes and buy a copy of my book... can I say I was a local Waterstone's bestseller from 5:29pm until whatever time the store opens the following day as no other books would have sold? Could I add 'bestseller' to my web site, brag about it at signings, and blog about my huge success? I might just do that and see how it feels to make it big time.

If I sound a little bit ranty, it's because I dislike people who try to trick/cheat their way up the ladder. I don't like queue jumpers either, or rabid social climbers who name-drop every ten seconds to gain entry into circles/establishments that they feel can further their goals. Hard work and determination don't always get the job done, I realise that. However, if it's a choice between working hard and getting nowhere fast, or bribing people to gain recognition, I think I'd rather be at a standstill. I'd rather have three people buy my book, or befriend me, because they have a genuine interest in what I'm doing or who I am, than have a troupe of people do it because they have been sweetened into it.