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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fine, I'm Really Not Checking Anymore

I know, Bad Jackie. Ignoring your blogging responsibilities. No cookie for you.

Allison Winn Scotch, fellow Backspacer and author of the upcoming The Department of Lost and Found (Morrow, May 2007), posted about a very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal. Here's the gist:
  • Many authors obsess about their online book-sales rankings. (Well, duh.)
  • Web stores rank millions of book -- why not, when there's no shelf space to contend with?
  • These rankings, updated hourly, are featured on the book's individual page and on the online store's bestseller lists.
  • An email sales campaign can inflate a book's online ranking--temporarily--from the hundreds of thousands to single digits.
  • On Amazon, new and used book sales are counted equally.
  • Chances are, your book isn't getting multiple sales per day (unless you're in the 1% or so of sales) -- and a day without a sale can plummet a book from being ranked 10,000 to 50,000.
Okay. So this means exactly what other authors have been trying to get through my thick head for months: stop obsessing over Amazon sales. (And let's not even discuss Ingram's numbers.) So no more checking (compulsively) for me. It doesn't matter that as of this moment, Hell's Belles on Amazon is ranked #5,609. It could be that more than one person is buying the book every day...or it could mean that the same book or two are getting sold used and resold every day. It's all hocus pocus. The only thing that matters is my royalty statement. (Whenever I get it, that is. Note to self: check contract.)

But, that being said, the article also offered this nugget:

  • Publishers consider rankings from Nielsen BookScan, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal...and Amazon (among others) as "an indicator of future sales potential for authors."
:: headdesk ::

Back to checking obsessively...


At 8:38 AM, Blogger J.T. Bock said...

I just bought Hell's Belles on Amazon a couple weeks ago, so know there are still people out there buying.:) And you can't discount word-of-mouth. Brian and Sybir are part of my writer's group and you've been highly recommened. Brian loved your book! I'm in the middle of another book right now, but when I got yours in the mail I skimmed through it and loved your voice! I'll be reviewing it on my blog probably next month and recommending it to all my paranormal-loving friends as well.

You go, girl! Just keep churning out these fantastic, fiendishly-fun stories and you'll have no problem upping your sales.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Devon Ellington said...

Sweetie, just keep working on the next book(s) and doing your signings. Your royalty statement will tell you everything you need to know. Hang in there!

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've run into this dichotomy many times. It's frustrating, especially when editors and bookbuyers claim they don't pay attention to such things, then do.

Some of my backlist books, especially those that have been out for a few years, can vary wildly in Amazon.com ranking, swinging from four digits to high six. One can only hope that these people who don't pay attention to such things are paying attention on a favorable day.

I've check Amazon.com every now and then, especially when a book is new (I was very, very tickled when one book broke into double digits!) but have never checked Ingrams. Or Bookspan. I guess I'm inclined to agree with devon ellington; the royalty statement tells you a lot more than an Amazon.com ranking.

ec, currently signing in as Anonymous because blogger isn't accepting my password for some reason

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Amazon rankings are completely meaningless. That's why I only check mine five or six times a day.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

JT, Devon, Elaine, Michelle -- you guys rock. Thanks.

(And really, I'm not fretting over the ranking anymore. Bemused and confused, but not really fretting.)

At 7:02 AM, Blogger crowwoman / rhian said...

i see 'em moving out of Borders, babe. As of yesterday they had only one left on shelf again.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Demon Hunter said...

Your book are selling like hotcakes. I mention it to friends all the time. J.T. is correct; word-of-mouth is the best! Good luck! Can't wait to read the next one!


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