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.
LOVE that last picture of Ginger. She’s such a thinker. I will say you always have hurt my head. In a good way, though. This particular post is a real keeper for me. Not that I want to track the dismal trails of my sales, but the promo advice could work. I’m off to try it - tomorrow! Thanks for the tips.
My head hurts with all those numbers. Periodically, I check my Amazon sales (since I'm self-pubbed I can see daily sales) but it's depressing. I check Kobo occasionally. It's interesting to see where my books sell. Being so obsessed with numbers would keep me from writing. I have enough distractions. Love the pictures of Ginger. Our snow is gone. Last week, I thought the ducks were walking on water. Turns out the pond refroze. LOL We're in for a nice warm up this week, thank goodness. I'm tired of winter.
Margo, that's actually Ginger's pissed off pose in the last picture. She was below the deck catching snow, her favorite shoveling activity, when she took off barking. I dropped the shovel and tracked snow through the house to see what she was barking at. A car was stuck in the street (it hadn't been plowed yet), and their dog was running around while they were shoveling it free. I made Ginger come inside, then she chose to sit with her back to me on the deck while I finished. Pretty darn funny! Glad my promo advice inspired you!
I check my KU numbers daily, too, Diane. But since my self-pubbed books are pretty old, they don't move a whole lot. I also check KOBO and B&N, but they don't do much. Apple is frustrating since they don't give me numbers to obsess over. The nerve! I can picture the ducks walking on water. Ginger would chase them. LOL
Ah, a woman after my own heart--anther data geek! As an indie author, I check my numbers all the time, too, on the sites you mentioned. I tell myself I need to keep close tabs on the effects of my advertising, but it's more that I'm just obsessed. Every now and then I'll have a mystery burst of sales that doesn't relate to any effort on my part. What has Amazon been up to? I try to persuade myself to graciously accept it as an anonymous gift and move on, but it's hard. I always want to know the cause of every effect, the why for every happening--like I actually have any real control. It isn't easy. LOL
We're very much alike, Alison. Control freaks! I've actually had as many clicks (7) in just over a day on my new Amazon ad campaign as I did in two plus months on my old one. Those key words are huge! No sales yet. I'm curious what your click to sales ratio is and if it started out slower and built. I'm asking here since I figured others thinking about doing this will want to hear your answer.
Everything about the ad process builds with time. They say data may take 72 hours to show up, and they mean it. You can't judge anything for the first couple of weeks. I'm currently averaging about 1 sale for every 6-7 clicks, but sometimes I'll get a sale on the very first click for an author. Other times, I might have 15 clicks without a sale. If that happens I often "pause" that keyword on the assumption that I misjudged and my books are not a good fit for that author's readers.
Really good info, Alison. Thanks. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I'll try. LOL
I am sooooo not a numbers person. I don't like analyzing those statistics any more than I like reading reviews of my work. I'm in a hold pattern for sales and promotions right now while I try to get my head back in writing, so I'll file this for now, until I'm brave enough to face reality! (Ginger sounds like a hoot! I love her pissed off pose!)
I do the same thing, Jannine, a couple of times a day. And it's addictive!
I wish I could ignore them, Leah. But I can't seem to make myself do it. Ginger definitely has her moments...
I probably check them 5 times a day, Brenda. Maybe I need therapy.
I didn't know dogs could hold a grudge...or is it just Ginger? Anyway, her pose reflects the way I feel about my numbers right now. In addition, I spent five hours at a gigantic book signing and sold 7 books, which was a high number for the 26 authors there. We got fresh shrimp, turkey rollups and some neat other finger foods along with champagne, which makes this book signing the most posh I've ever experienced. Sales are down for everyone. One of my friends is liking Book Sweeps. I'm going to check it out.
I have to say I rarely check numbers but then, due to what's been happening in my life, most of my recent books have been in anthologies so I let someone else do the checking. Cute dog, btw. With all the snow we've been having I could use a bit of company, too.
Sounds like a fun signing, Rolynn. 7 books is great for one of those group signings!
She’s definitely great company, Andi. I’m currently between my winter and summer jobs so I have a whole month with plenty of time to check numbers!
thanks for the information. Calvin fell yesterday, so I'm late responding. He's fine. My back and arms are sore from lifting him up and carrying him to bed.
Wow, Vonnie, scary! I'm glad Calvin's okay.
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