hankrules2011

A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Scott C. Holstad’s TOP Subject Rankings in Open Library

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 19, 2022

Open Library is overseen and operated by the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/), the self-described “Digital Library of Free & Borrowable Books, Movies, Music & Wayback Machine.” It’s an online “Library” that loans many items out and makes others they claim have been donated to them for free distribution available to readers and users. Wikipedia states it claims to have over 20 Million records in its database, so it’s not a small operation. I have an author’s listing/profile there which was created by an Anonymous User on April 29, 2008 for reasons unknown and over 20 years before I ever heard of Open Library, let alone found I had a listing there.

My Open Library Listing: https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL2928969A/Scott_C._Holstad

Scott C. Holstad’s Open Library Author Listing

I honestly have some mixed feelings about the practice, this business model, because while they’re likely the most “credible” of such sites, like all of them they can be subject to abuse, usually unintentional, but during the pandemic, the Authors Guild (I am a 30-year professional member) lost it because it claimed the Internet Archive violated copyright laws, authors rights, basic promises they’d made to adhere to professional and ethical standards by the site’s decision to forgo the limitations they set for themselves, which is to “loan” only the literal number of copies they allegedly have for any given work – as a legitimate library does – but throwing that out the door and for the “good of the world,” I guess, making everything available to anyone with little to no limitations, which I disagree with as does the Authors Guild.

The Internet Archive has three of my books they’ve made available to all without my permission, with no thanks or acknowledgement, but there are serious Pirates out there making a killing illegally selling tons of my stuff all over the world and you have to pick your fights, so I’d rather go after thieves essentially stealing from me than a digital library that may take some liberties one doesn’t like but which isn’t anything like the Pirates.

For those interested, here is the Authors Guild stance on the Internet Archive, which they’re so ticked off about. It isn’t on their webpage of “Where We Stand” statements on issues like copyright, free speech, piracy, etc., but on their main homepage with its own special place. You can find it here: Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library is ILLEGAL. Here’s Why.


In any event, that’s not the topic of this post, but merely an introduction to Open Library if you don’t know it. You can find out more on their website or — as always — through Wikipedia. When I stumbled across my listing there a few years ago, they had probably about eight of my books listed. If you’ve seen my Goodreads or WorldCat profiles, you’ll know that’s a pretty small number compared to what I actually have. And since both of them — and every other catalog, index, etc., out there listing my books — are also way off, the only bibliography close to accurate is the one you’ll find here on my site. However, while some 30-40+ can be found here, as my Goodreads profile states no one really knows (including me) the actual total number of books I’ve edited or published over my career so estimates are higher. Thus eight on OL was a bit slim. It’s now up to about a dozen, and I’m really not very worried about it was I’ve been out of sight for awhile, I never was Stephen King-popular and I’ve got bigger things to concern myself with. That said, I sometimes take a peak at these various profiles just to see if there’s anything different so I went to my Open Library page a couple of months ago and realized — and I must admit a search engine query result for something else turned up a topic I never would have thought of which is why I pursued this — that apparently what I had listed in their database included tags or subjects for each of them and you actually can find lists of the top authors — in terms of quantity — for the most publications per any listed topic. Which I thought was kind of cool. Especially since this one search result informed me I was a top author for an OL topic that I’d never known about.

The common ranking is worded as the “Most Prolific Author” among authors who have written books that have whatever the subject is associated with that book. Obviously this doesn’t take into account authors who aren’t in the library or who are lacking all of their works (which would include me, Stephen King, etc.), who if subjects/tags were appropriate but don’t appear, it’s not recorded in the library’s database. Thus someone who may have only written six books on a subject with many books written by other authors may end up first because these authors may have written only a few or been credited with such. I know this is the case because I myself am listed high in areas where people more famous and successful than me should belong. So these rankings apply to Open Library ONLY. That being said, as of a couple of years ago, Open Library offered over 1.5 million books and has only grown since, so it’s still a nice statistic to have.

Well after I discovered this, I decided to waste a couple of hours trying to find if I was listed as a “Most Prolific Author” with other topics and if so, how many and which ones. And I came up with some surprising results which I am now going to share here despite any embarrassment I should feel but don’t.

Aside from any topics where I’m listed as first (accurate or not – recall this only relates to Open Library’s own database) with some topics, I weeded out official government historical census records, etc., because there may be hundreds for a topic while an actual “author” might truly be the top AUTHOR, which is the case for me with the subject of the city of Phoenix, as an example. So ready to find yourselves surprised? In no particular order…


  1. Long Beach CA. (Place)
  2. Psychological Horror. Genre (Subject)
  3. Los Angeles Poetry. (Place)
    • Scott C. Holstad is ranked #1 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of Los Angeles Poetry. Out of 179 books listed on this subject, I am attributed with seven (7) and several others are tied for 2nd with three each, including Suzanne Lummis and Charles Harper Webb, both of whom I know, particularly Webb.
  4. Phoenix. (Place)
    • Scott C. Holstad is ranked #1 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of Phoenix. Out of 316 books listed, the top three ranked are companies – seed and nursery companies – so I am the top ranked actual “Author” with five (5) books relating to Phoenix – with two people tied for #2 behind me with four books each.
  5. Dark Humor. (Subject)
  6. Confessional Poetry. Genre (Subject)
  7. Beat. Genre (Subject)
  8. Surreal. (Subject)
  9. Hate. (Subject)
  10. Social Activism. (Subject)
  11. Addiction. (Subject)
  12. Slasher Porn. Genre (Subject)
  13. Beat Poetry. Genre (Subject)
  14. Horror Poetry. Genre (Subject)
    • Scott C. Holstad is ranked #1 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of the Horror Poetry. (There are many, many authors all tied for 2nd place with only one listed book each while I am alone in 1st with four (4) listed books.)


I basically stopped with 14 Number Ones. Pretty diverse list, eh? A few odd topics? Some of the authors I’m in front of here — wacky! Of course we all know that if their entire catalogs were represented here, I wouldn’t even appear on most of those lists. There are actually a few additional topics where I am not currently ranked Number One, but I’m second or close so I’m listing a few here, but not all as that would simply be too many. I’m listing these due to personal interest and no other reason.


  1. Burbank. (Place)
  2. 1990s. (Time)
  3. Sanity (Subject)
    • Scott C. Holstad is ranked #2 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of the Sanity. I am behind the author ranked #1 by only one listed book. That author is Stephen King.
  4. Terror. (Subject)
    • Scott C. Holstad is tied ranked #2 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of the Terror. I am tied with six (6) other authors behind the two authors tied at #1: Stephen King and HP Lovecraft.
  5. Police Brutality. (Subject)
  6. Insanity. (Subject)
    • Scott C. Holstad is tied ranked #4 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of Insanity. Out of 1,019 books listed I am tied with several other authors at (four) 4 books, behind two authors with seven books each tying them for #1: William A White (American psychologist who died in 1937) and Richard von Kraft-Ebing (European psychologist who died in 1902).
  7. Violence. (Subject)
    • Scott C. Holstad is tied ranked #5 as the Most Prolific Author on the Subject of Violence. Out of 9,183 books listed, I am attributed with eight (8) and am tied at the #5 position, but not with an author, rather with an organization called Human Rights Watch. The #1 writer is Rene Girard with 15 titles. (I had to look this author up. He’s a dead [2015] and he was a historian and philosopher [What? But he’s FRENCH!] not a novelist or other form of creative writer.)
    • BTW, there are five authors listed ahead of me, but one of them tied for #4 with nine books is labeled “United States” and the titles seem to be historical documents produced by the U.S. government, so there are actually only four “authors” in front of me. Like #1 Rene Girard, Wilhelm Heitmeyer is not a creative writer, but a German social scientist of some sort, as his books deal with violence research, school shootings, etc. Additionally, the #3 author, Ted Robert Gurr, is also a researcher of some sort with titles like “Violence in America,” “Peace and Conflict,” etc. Finally the #2 author in the Violence category is a deceased researcher named Marvin E Wolfgang, who wrote many works on topics based in criminal homicide, criminal violence, criminal behavior, etc.
      • Thus, I guess the “good,” NO, “Awesome” news is that even though I’m ranked #5 in the subject of Violence, I’m actually the sickest bastard of all the writers as the four in front of me are all researchers while my books containing Violence as a subject or topic are all creative works, though many DO address the topic from a social critical, moral outrage perspective. That said, just as many are sick horror, “slasher porn” type pieces that border on infamous to some while a couple have been compared to American Psycho of all things. So I guess I could argue that in terms of creative writing, eliminating science or research for this particular topic, I’m a kind of #1 in Violence too, in a slightly sick, psychotic way. Whoa!!!

Finally, as I indicated, there actually are other subjects in which I am currently ranked #1 but I’m not going to focus on those or even really include them other then to note some I know exist. The reason these “don’t count” at this point is due to the fact that the only reason I have the top ranking is either I’m the only one with any books in that category or there may be one or two others, but we’re all tied with one each in a few cases. In other words, technically #1, but not really…

A list of some in no particular order. As above, oddly diverse.

  • Glendale CA
  • Knoxville TN
  • Bar Stories
  • Phoenix AZ
  • Coffeeshop
  • Tits
  • Knoxville TN USA
  • Long Beach CA USA
  • Bravado
  • Big Tits
  • Misogamy
  • Populist Poetry
  • Self-Loathing
  • The Beautiful People
  • Dystopian Futures
  • Crude
  • Bukowski
  • Moral Outrage
  • Social Dysfunction
  • Breakdown
  • Psychotropics
  • Regrets
  • Government Criticism
  • Koreatown-Los Angeles County CA
  • Fantasy Death
  • Crude Humor
  • Theater of Absurd
  • Disturbing
  • Raunchy
  • Social Outrage
  • American – Psychological Horror
  • Bleak
  • Long Beach Poetry

Just a last note. If any of you found this post interesting and are curious about the books or why I’m apparently such a freak, you can find more out on this site (and elsewhere like Goodreads, LibraryThing, etc.). For a brief list of many/most of my books, anthologies, etc., you can look here (all of these links I’ll put should be accessible by the tabs at the top of my homepage). The webpage also includes over a dozen Identifiers, which you’ll find on my Wikidata page with even more if interested.

For more details on my books but much more such as research (some found on Google Scholar and Academia.edu), citations, resources, references, readings, libraries, and more, my ever growing Scott C. Holstad: Selection Publications page is the place to go (while starting to border on overkill, admittedly).

If you’re curious what others have said about some of the books and other writings of mine, you can find reviews and excerpts of reviews of all sorts dating back to 1990 on my Scott Reviewed page.

And in case you don’t know my work or can’t find my books, well there are reasons. The foremost reason is for the most part, my books are out of print. Including ones that were successful and/or that have remained in demand for years. Nuts, huh? Some did go through several printings and one or two were republished, but essentially, they’ve largely disappeared. You can find a couple for sale online, usually used and it depends on where and when you look. Some you’ll never find, some you might but they’ve always been in demand and may be priced fairly high, certainly compared to their original retail list price. (And some are cheap.) In case you’re interested, I actually have gone some years, mainly because of some large moves, without ANY copies of my books or anything else! This has driven me nuts. But after much searching, earlier this year I found copies of many of them, as well as some hundreds of magazines that published me, although hundreds more remain missing. The point is, I found extra copies of, I think, 8 of my books, including 3 that have never been sold online and my 2 most popular, rare collector’s items. Additionally my 2 best selling books, and a few others. Some of these have been ripped off for years by various Pirates who’ve sold them illegally and it’s really ticked me off. Most are in digital formats, and none of these were ever in that format; all were hard copy. I recently saw a copy of one of my most “infamous” and valuable books — Shadows Before the Maiming — which I’ve found used on occasion for over $275 being sold by a Pirate side in PDF format for $125! Crazy! There are even sites out there that CHARGE people to write custom book reviews about THAT book (and some of my others), which is nuts! Who would pay for that? I’m not a damned household name. Well, anyway the point is I decided to make a few available for sale — the few others are going to special collections libraries. I tried to price them competitively with the market and actually marked them down as much as possible but a couple may still seem a tad pricey. But if anyone is interested in getting one, bear in mind that as opposed to the used, beat up print copies one may find at a bookstore or on eBay or any of the illegal digital versions, these are original “new” hard copy books in Mint condition, never used, read, handled or out of their respective boxes straight from the publishers (and with some, I only have a few copies). Not only are they legal and authentic, but I’ll autograph each and if asked, custom autograph it as well for free, for what that’s worth. And since I don’t have a store nor do I plan to, this isn’t an eCommerce site but I was able to put up a simple page that allows one to purchase any of the 8 listed via PayPal or a credit card, the caveat being I had to add on a $5 fee to cover shipping, fees, etc., since I have no means of doing so otherwise. You can find this on my newest webpage: MINT, Signed Books For Sale. There’s a Contact form at the bottom of that page if anyone has questions and I guess that’s it for now. I’ve been working hard on a total overhaul of this website for months now and I hope to do a different post sometime soon letting you know about some other things one can find here. For instance, I’ve put together a page of actual famous writers I’ve been published with over the years and at this point, the list is over 200 and while some won’t be known by many, others are actual household names and some aren’t even famous as authors necessarily, but they’re damned famous (some infamous too) and it’s been interesting to see them join the list with me and others. Enough for now. I hope this post was interesting. I was fun to discover all of this and to put this together. Til the next time…

Scott


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When Is a Book a Book?

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 30, 2012

I’ve been seeing some strange things in the worlds of writing and publishing recently. I’ve been seeing more and more people talk about the books they have written — yet many of these people haven’t published a damn thing! Excuse me, but they are aspiring writers and authors, NOT authors!

I have had the good fortune of having had 15 poetry collections published over the years, actually during a 14 year time span. That’s pretty good production. And at least half of these books were solicited by the publishers. But that’s another story. But the way I looked at it — and I guess the way I still look at it — is a book is not a book until it’s been published. A book that someone’s written that has not been published is a manuscript people, not a damn book! Quit trying to take credit when you haven’t done a damn thing. I worked my damn ASS off to get those 15 books published and I really don’t appreciate hearing all of these people out there these days talking about their novel or their book when it’s merely a manuscript, and quite frankly, one that may never be published. Of course, that brings up the notion of self publishing, which has really taken off, but that’s another topic.

Do you folks see my point? Is it fair for those non-published writers to claim to be authors with books when in fact, they do not have books at all — just pieces of paper floating around a desk? I’m starting to get sick and tired of it, and it especially galls me when I see so many of these aspiring, or even failed, writers give writing and publishing advice on their blogs. What the hell is that about? How dare they pass themselves off as experts when they’re anything but experts???

I have taught creative writing classes and I’ve taught classes on how to get published — the right way. I realize things are changing and there are more opportunities for the masses to get their work out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s good work when anyone can publish an e-book and declare themself an author.

Well, I guess I sound old and grouchy. If so, I apologize. I’ve had a long day and face daily aches and pains that I shouldn’t have at this age. So, if anyone reads this blog post, I’d be curious to see what you have to say about this topic. When IS a book a book? When it’s been written, or when it’s been published? I’d really like to know. Thanks.

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Poetry Readings and Book Sales

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 29, 2012

Most writers have to give readings of their work. Usually this is done to introduce oneself to a new and larger audience, and perhaps more importantly, to generate book sales. As the author of 15 poetry collections, I’ve given TONS of readings all over America. And much of the time it’s been fun. But it can be dreary and sometimes even depressing as well. What do you do, for instance, when no one shows up at your reading? Does the standing room only crowd at another reading make up for that? And just how many book sales ARE generated from readings?

The first poetry reading I ever gave was back in the 1980s at the long gone Black and Read bookstore in Knoxville, TN, where I was getting my undergraduate degree. That reading was shared by several people. My first reading I gave as the featured poet was at the also long gone Davis Kidd bookstore, also in Knoxville. There weren’t very many people at the first one. There were over 70 people filling the small indie bookstore for the second one.  (I was somewhat popular in college.)

Over the years, I’ve given poetry readings at universities, bookstores, sidewalks, bars, coffee shops, auditoriums, and even nightclubs. They’ve all been different too. My most depressing reading was at a coffee shop in Huntington Beach, CA. Not very many people showed up. My biggest readings have been at universities. Quite a few people came to hear me at UCLA and later, back at the University of Tennessee. I’ve read at other universities too. The strangest reading I ever did was at a Phoenix nightclub, where my reading provided the backdrop to an artsy fashion show. Talk about weird! I also really enjoyed the magazine publication readings out in California, especially for Pearl, Caffeine, and Saturday Afternoon Journal. I always looked forward to those.

I did a lot of readings on the West coast and parts of the Southwest back in 1996 in an effort to promote my new book, Places. It had gotten really good reviews around the world, and I’d gotten some good publicity in various newspapers around the country, especially in Tennessee and California. I took copies of the book with me to sell. And the results were always disappointing. Either people had already bought the book at bookstores carrying it, or they just didn’t care to have it, even if I autographed it.

Here are some stats. These are from my memory, circa mid-’90s. The average press run for a book of poetry in America at the time was 700 copies. At the time, 51% of Americans bought one or more books each year. Of that 50%, 1% bought a poetry book. See where I’m going with this? It gets worse. The standard royalty rate for an author is 8%, and since poetry books don’t sell and since only 700 copies are published, poets can’t pay their rent or mortgage on what they make. Indeed, they rarely even break even when you consider the paper, printing ink, postage, phone call costs, travel, etc., of everything involved in getting a book published. Basically, you lose money. So, you try and help yourself and your publisher out by taking copies to readings to sell. But they don’t sell. And that’s tragic.

Of my 15 poetry collections, one was published with only 100 copies. Fortunately, it did go through four press runs, but still. 2,000 copies of Places were published. It sold OK, I guess, but I still have a box and a half of copies of the book in my garage — books my publisher couldn’t unload. My guess is, hundreds….

I was fortunate in that most of my books sold well enough to sell out. Some were re-printed; others were not. And so it goes. Did giving poetry readings help my book sales? To a small degree, yes, I’m sure. Did I become a best selling poet through poetry readings? I’ll stop laughing now. You get the picture. Here’s a final request: go to book readings. Hear what authors are publishing. Buy their books and get them autographed. Authors appreciate the support and the sales. Book lovers — do the right thing. Support poetry readings and all book readings. Seek them out. I think both writer and audience will find it rewarding.

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