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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:58 am:   

Yesterday I went to check my books on Amazon, something I don't do often as it's usually pretty fucking depressing, and I saw that they have a new category in that drop-down box that used to allow you to sort the books by bestselling, most recent, A-Z, etc. This new way to sort them is by Relevance. Do they mock me with this? When I plugged in Relevance and hit enter, I expected my books to appear horizontally instead of vertically, and somewhere near the bottom of the page. What makes one book more relevant than the next, and to whom is it relevant? The the actual jungle, its namesake, Amazon.com is teeming with mysteries, and this is just the latest.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 07:13 am:   

that should have been -- Like the actual jungle...
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scott benenati
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

merriam-webster gives this definition for relevance, "the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of the user." What needs must these be? At a quick glance, Portrait seems to have the most customer reviews, so I guess the most "social applicability" (another from webster). Whether they are good or bad reviews appears irrelevant. And how ironic to have a "keep your intelligence" list with the picture of an ass on the same page. Oh man!
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Bob Urell
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 08:38 am:   

You know Jeff, for some reason the notion of Amazon categorizing books by some sort of circumscribed "Relevance" comforts me. It lets me know that I'm not crazy when I say -- often, and at great length -- that corporations are roughly the sum of their parts, and that would be a gaggle of business majors, a dartboard, three paperclips and a shoehorn. Let the randomness commence.
Sorry, was that post not relevant enough?
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:26 am:   

Scott: Thanks for the exegesis.

Bob: Perfectly irrelevant. Thanks.
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scott benenati
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:34 am:   

Randomness, exactly. Looking up John Crowley I found his unreleased and unreviewed novel Lord Byron's Novel more Relevant than The Translator, which has at least ten reviews. And there seems to be barely any difference between Relevance and Bestselling.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 11:32 am:   

Scott: That last line you wrote there seems to point to the axis mundi of it all.
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scott benenati
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 01:18 pm:   

Jeff: I hope you didn't take the buttocks imagery I mentioned personally. Just pointing out how immaterial Amazon's selling strategies can be.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 01:30 pm:   

"Yesterday I went to check my books on Amazon..."

Ah, the life of an author!

What did we do before Amazon? Slog down to the local bookshop to count the remaining copies of F&SF on the magazine rack (all present and accounted for!). Hope for a postcard from a fan? ("Your tribute to Ferdinand Feghoot changed my life! More of the same, please!") Wait for annual royalty statements? ("We now owe Portugal a mere $557.")

I say god bless Amazon!
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JJA
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 02:08 pm:   

But a while back you said that God kills an author every time someone buys a book from Amazon. Now I'm confused.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 02:22 pm:   

I just got your galleys today!
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 02:40 pm:   

God likes to kill authors, so there's no conflict with Amazon. They have some kind of royalty arrangement.
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Scott Edelman
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 05:28 pm:   

I, too, received your galleys today.

And also multiple e-mails from reviewers wishing to cover it for Science Fiction Weekly.

So if nothing else, you're popular with book reviewers!
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:43 pm:   

Scott: I hope you see this. I think it only right to warn you that if you are considering sending the book out for review, you should know that the speculative element is very minor in that one. Got another one coming out over this summer as well that is a real fantasy. Don't know if this makes a difference, but truth in advertising, etc.... Thanks for letting me know, though, that someone's looking forward to reading it.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 08:28 pm:   

I should think the SF reviewers would be interested in reading it because you wrote it, however it might be categorized. It's a cookbook, right?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:33 pm:   

Jeff,
Don't worry about it--only Dave Truesdale would care :-)
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:36 pm:   

Marc: That's right.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:39 pm:   

Ellen: Isn't it interesting that the one story that has been DT's fixation for all these years is titled, "What I Didn't See?"
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John Klima
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 04:33 am:   

Strange, I didn't receive any galleys from you . . . but then again, I don't do book reviews, but I was hoping maybe everyone who checked the relevance of your books got a free galley or something. Oh well. :-(

JK
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Scott Edelman
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 04:59 am:   

Well, even though the speculative element is minor, it's still there, right?

Don't worry -- I don't need sword-wielding barbarians or cape-wearing vampires to call it fantasy!

And yes, there are at least three reviewers anxious to read it -- that's enough to make you relevant on Amazon, isn't it?
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John Klima
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 05:40 am:   

Strangely enough, after being a smart-ass here, there was a copy of VANITAS in my PO Box when I checked it this morning. So, not the new book, but new-to-me Jeff Ford is always good.

JK
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 06:13 am:   

A new-to-you Jeff Ford, yeah that's nice. I'd also take a slightly used Graham Joyce or a low miles Rhys Hughes, if ya got 'em. At AUTHO-RAMA, we'll get you into a previously owned author, too!
Wow. Nope. I don't know why I posted that either.
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 06:20 am:   

Scott: Yeah, it's there but it's sleight.

John: Read that with a red pencil in your hand.

Bob: There is Relevance to what you say.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 06:44 am:   

sleight? Were you being clever?
I'm not nitpicking typos, if you weren't, Jeff. I'm just thrilled that I might have got the relevance of your post.

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