Folks, I’m in the throes of making some minor revisions on BITTERSWEET and wrangling holiday decorations. When I’m not doing that, I’m trolling the ‘net, stalking my book, trying to figure out how it’s doing. Time for some tongue in cheek, debut writer shenanigans, I mean savvy business behavior. Oh, the things this debut writer will do. Searching. Analyzing. Figuring out ways to uncover the obscure details regarding her little darlin’ that probably mean nothing, or leave her speculating.
Actually, my clumsy, puny efforts have paid off in that I have figured out a couple things, and I’ve run across some wonderful reviews too. For instance, I kind a/sort a know how it’s doing at independent bookstores because I “happened” upon a list.
Happened is actually like discovering your kid standing in the kitchen, cheeks packed with cookies, and you ask, “how did you find them?”
“I don’t know.”
The look they give you tells you s/he went to some effort to “find” the secret stash. So, I’ve done a little digging too. Not to say that doing that is akin to snooping through the cabinets, but for some reason, I do feel silly, in a way, trying to discover how it’s selling. New debut writers hope for at least a tinge of moderate success. What that means – I don’t really know. Yet. Give me time.
Anyway, every now and then, a kind soul – you know who you are – will drop me a thrilling tidbit. “The book is selling like hotcakes at…”
And! There’s always Amazon to lurk about, and since they made it a Top Ten Pick + their Featured Debut, I find myself wandering by frequently, checking things out. Something they’ve done for authors is like a fix for a data addict – ahem, like me. Amazon has built some tools into the Author Page you can set up if you want. I set mine up a few weeks ago, not really knowing what it would provide, but boy, am I glad I did. I LOVE what they have, author ranking, sales ranking + Nielsen BookScan information. I had to do some reading from their Help page to make sure I understood exactly what all that data meant. I’d read somewhere in my ‘net travels that ratings drive the Amazon rankings, but, that’s not true. Sales drive it, and that makes sense to me. Sales are hard data targets. Ratings are soft targets, in that ratings are simply opinions, and as we’ve heard over and over, opinions = subjective.
Nielsen BookScan updates are scheduled for 12:00 a.m. Friday and it’s the same with the independent bookstore reports of sales, which updates every Wednesday. With Nielsen BookScan data, four to five days have passed by the time it’s released. The most recent data came in last night (no I wasn’t up at 12:00 a.m. sweating the results – it sometimes comes early) and was for November 7 – 13 book sales, yet it’s already November 18th. New data won’t arrive until next Friday, which means I have to cool my jets for another week. 🙂
Either way, you get the idea. There’s a myriad of information floating around out there and it’s no wonder I find myself trolling around, looking for what I might miss.
And…every now and then someone will send me a picture of my book “in the wild” as folks like to say when it’s spotted far, far away from where it was created. These are like extra goodies, and give me a sense of accomplishment, a “look what I did!” feeling. The pictures below were kindly sent to me by Kim Michele Richardson (author of Liar’s Bench and Godpretty In The Tobacco Field), and Teri Carter, who’s had more op-eds, opinion pieces and essays in magazines than anyone else I know.
Miss Dixie is shown at one of the Joseph Beth Bookstores in Kentucky (left) and at the airport in Denver CO. ***Notice that sign in the pic on the right. Yeah. I notice that kind of thing. Can’t. Help. It. What does it mean??? I’m sitting here sort of laughing at myself as I type this.
My question about all this is, don’t you think after all the work to write a book, and have it published, it’s only natural to want to know?