Clinging to life in the Goodreads Emergency Room

I’m haunted by this recurring vision in which I have a sudden crisis. I am rushed to the hospital and hooked up to all the most sophisticated machinery. As the doctor hovers over me and shines a light into my glassy pupils, the nurse hooks up the monitor, displaying all my vital statistics, as found on my Goodreads Author Dashboard.

The nurse starts reading important stats for the doctor to consider. “His average rating is stable at 4.29, but it’s based on only 21 ratings.”

“How many reviews?” the doctor asks.

The nursed scans the screen. “Seven.”

The doctor sighs. “That explains why I’m seeing signs of a collapsed ego.”

“It gets worse,” the nurse explains. “There are four books showing, but they only show up 1200 times on ‘to read’ shelves.”

The doctor shakes his head. “That’s only 300 per book. It’s a miracle he’s still writing.”

The nurse gasps as she continues reading. “Oh my goodness! There’s only one ‘currently reading’.”

“For each book?” the doctor asks.

“One, total,” the nurse replies, stifling the instinct to cover her mouth with her hand. “He’s hanging on by a thread.”

The doctor wipes sweat from his brow. “This is serious. Please tell me he has a few followers.”

“Yes, 37,” the nurse replies, trying to sound up-beat.

“That’s not good,” the doctor laments, “but I’ve seen worse. Is there anything we can use to jump start his writing career?”

“Well, he’s got quite a number of blog posts, but not too many people read them, maybe one view per post.”

“We’re going to have to do something to get his numbers up before his ambition flatlines. Set up some Giveaways, STAT! Let’s start with three and see where that gets us. Then I want him in some groups. Maybe we can get him interacting with people, if it’s not too late. If we can’t get his numbers up, he has no chance of becoming relevant.”

Later, the doctor greets my loved ones in the waiting room. “His writing career is not out of danger,” he tells them. “The good news is we were able to raise his average rating slightly, to 4.32. Also, we got his ‘to read’ shelf appearances up over 1300 and his followers to 39. These still aren’t great numbers, but, as far as his writing career goes, it’s a step in the right direction.”

“Doctor, I have just one question,” my wife says.

The doctor leans forward, showing a large, empathetic ear. “What is it?”

“Why do you keep making air quotes with your fingers every time you mention his writing career?”

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