Just as timely as the NYT discovered such hip neighborhoods as Williamsburg or Smith St years after they became a scene, they're now showing their cutting edge by reporting on something all us in the industry have known for years. Checking your Amazon.com ranking is author crack. We've all heard the plaintive "What does it mean? Why am I only at 1200? How do they come up with these rankings? What if I buy 40 copies on Amazon at once?" The Amazon.com rankings are a double edged sword. They can act as a shiny lure, distracting the author from what's truly ahead of them OR spur them on to want more despite the fact that nobody wants to review them (or the reviews have been despicable). The immediate gratification is rewarding, sending that endorphic rush through the brain each time the number nudges slightly higher. I'd suggest a 12 step program for authors, but you know the meetings would degenerate into a "well, what was your ranking?"