I've been wondering what to write about for a few days now as the 18th drew closer and closer. While I stared at the blank page, my nimble fingers opened other tabs to check numbers. Yes numbers! I'm obsessed, so I thought I'd share. Maybe you can become addicted, too!
First of all, I should be writing. Instead, I'm constantly checking statistics to see if there's an actual reason for me to put words on the page. These are the sites I use to feed my addiction. If you're an author, they're pretty darn useful for a number junkie like me...
Amazon Sales: Did you know you don't actually have to go to the Amazon site to see how well you're selling. Sales Rank Express has all those fun facts and figures for every one of your books on a single page. Just pop in your name under author, and you can get your ranking for not only the good old USA, but for all the other countries, too. Info included is a graph with blips for each sale. If the graph isn't there, click on the rank tracker by NovelRank to start tracking. It also tells you how many customer reviews you have. With this handy-dandy feature, I can obsess over not just my sales rank but also my reviews, all on the same site!
Before we leave the subject of sales, I discovered another incredibly fascinating feature on Author Central to gobble up my time. Just when I thought there was no way to know if my print books in stores were actually selling, I discovered Nielsen BookScan under the Sales Info tab. This tells me how many copies of BURIED TRUTH I sold each week in physical stores. It also has a handy geography feature to tell me where I sold them. I was pretty darn worried I'd sold about 10. I was actually kind of freaking out over this. Turns out, I did sell a few. The current count stands at 832, but my graph formed a pyramid point at week three and is currently on the downhill slide. I'm afraid there isn't a long shelf-life for newbie authors in print. But, the geographic map gave me another boost. I sold books in 95 out of the 100 regions! The largest was "combined areas," an amorphous blob made up of all rural/smaller town areas. Coming in at the top of the pack of cities was New York. Go, me! So, while I'm not exactly selling in the millions, it's a start. My editor actually said I did pretty well in Barnes & Noble before he ruined my glow by adding that was only a small part of the overall picture. He said I definitely had room for growth. I'd laugh at that if it wasn't so damn depressing!
Also on Author Central, try clicking on Author Rank under the Sales Info tab. This will give you a graph of how you rank compared to other authors. Talk about a wake-up call. I have a feeling my growth potential in that category is also unlimited.
Moving right along... Sales, rankings, and reviews aren't the only numbers I obsess over. I also check the posts on my Facebook Author Page to see if anyone besides me is looking at them. Then I compare posts that do well to ones that don't. Somehow, I should be able to use this info to reach a broader audience. Unfortunately, I have yet to crack the secret code. I'll let you know if I do.
And since I don't seem to have enough numbers to make me crazy, I finally got my act together and put one of my old, self-published books, WE'LL NEVER TELL, on an Amazon Sponsored Products Ad Campaign. I tried this before and failed. This time I put in way more key words, added a catchier tagline, reduced the price to .99 cents, and am using the awesome new cover Alison made. We'll see if any of that helps. In the meantime, I have all those beautiful impressions and click numbers to feed my addiction. If you're interested in trying Amazon Ads, get started at the Amazon Marketing Dashboard.
Since I'm sure your head is spinning by now, I'll leave you with pictures of my dog in the snow. March came in like a lion and is still roaring! We've had our entire winter in one month. Happy reading! I think I'll go shovel the deck... Ginger likes to help.