Book Stalker


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? 

 

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26 Comments

This is filarious! And I’d be the same way. (Is it a bad omen to say “I’ll be the same way.”?) My small contribution was through an independent bookstore (The Novel Neighbor), so it won’t show up on Amazon scores, but it’s helped propel you into an Independent Best Seller! Yowza!

I’ll figure out who will star in the movie when I get further into it. Except I never go to movies, so I only know a few people. Hmm … I’ll figure something out.

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    “Filarious” just might be my fave new word! Like DLM’s “vomment.” THANK YOU for buying the book, John (ms) Frain! Of course I’ll want to know your opinion when you’re done!
    Funny how so many people have said “movie.” I’m sure it’s halfway in jest, and the funny thing is this book isn’t doing anywhere NEAR as well as tons of others – that won’t get made into movies either.
    I’d just be happy to see consistent (or maybe I should say persistent?) sales. THAT would be mahvelous!

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How could I have missed this wonderful post? I just found it in my junk email, sheesh…
I hope you received my email about my beloved Dixie, Donna. ❤ ❤ ❤

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A Happy Thanksgiving to you dear

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Review completed and posted on my blog http://wp.me/p1JvZQ-Uh and also Goodreads and Amazon (after they review content). All the best to you, Donna!

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Since I am self employed I don’t trust anyone. I keep an eye on everything I can find to be sure I have an idea how much money I am owed. Most time I sell something at a minimal price and add an addendum on for each unit. When (there is no room for if in the equation) I get published it will be the same as you. No matter what it is your baby and you have an emotional attachment to seeing how people consider it out in the real world. I would tell you not to sweat it but I know where that would go.

Dixie wants to suck me in and become a part of me. I know it will hurt so I have decided to wait until after February 4th to finish it. Sorry, but the holidays, January and half of February already hurt enough.

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    Holidays are a tough time, particularly when you’ve lost part of your heart. And, whenever you can read her story, it will, of course, mean a lot to me that you have.

    As to knowing some of the finer details about what’s going on, it’s pretty hard to get a realistic picture. There are so many ways to sell a book – but one thing that was really interesting to me was the fact someone at Kensington shared with me that it was “selling like hotcakes,” at the airport and Hudson Booksellers. The last place I’d ever think of…!

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Finished and loved it! Besides writing an Amazon review, is there anything else I can do to help promote it? I have an author page here on Amazon or you can find me at http://carolyndenniswillingham.com
Yay for you!!!

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    Awww, thank you Carolyn! I’ve been in a state of worry since it released. I’m going to assume that’s normal too – like the stalking thing? LOL!

    So kind and generous of you to write a review for Amazon. Are you on Goodreads? Just cc/paste whatever you write up there too, if you are… That’s a true gift, from one writer to the other…and I appreciate it so much. Looking forward to reading about Emma June…when is your pub date?

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      Looks to me that you have NO cause to worry (I know, easier said than done). Yes, I have an author page on Goodreads as well and will paste it there too. Emma June is still stuck inside the pages and hasn’t yet breathed in the outside world. I haven’t sent it “out” because I’m waiting for an edit. Then, I might have to send it out for another edit (you know how that goes). The Moonshine Thicket is set in 1928 and I’ll market it as a YA/Coming of Age. If you have any agent advice for me you can email me from my website contact page. I’ll be working on your review sometime today (I want it to be perfect). I will also blog the review on my website. Take some deep breaths while Dixie flaps her arms and struts her stuff in her brand new world. 🙂

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      I’ll be flapping my own arms right along with her – apparently. Will contact you via your web page. 😉

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Of course, it’s so normal! I’m half-finished now, and I’m afraid to read on and afraid not to! You’ve done such a nice job with this book! I marvel at the interiority you’ve managed with little Dixie. As a southerner, I especially love the setting!

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Reblogged this on CD-W, Author and commented:
I must reblog this. I am almost finished with “The Education of Dixie Dupree” and I’m LOVING it!

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Yes! I try not to look on Amazon everyday to check on The Last Bordello. But when I do, and there’s another review? Well, let’s just say someone has to pull me down from the ceiling. Donna, I too have “finished” a new novel with and eleven-year-old female protagonist (set in 1928). I LOVE DIXIE DUPREE. I will definitely promote your book when I’m finished (almost there). For now, I will reblog your post! So happy for you!!!

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Love this! And ALL authors want to know these same things. I think it’s a lovely part of the process following the launch of a book — and that you should enjoy every second of sleuthing. (I especially love the Bestsellers tag above your book at the Denver airport.)

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    Phew! Boy, am I glad to hear I’m not the only one who thinks this way, or does this! I was thinking, they’re gonna think I’m nutso! 😉

    Yeah, that Bestsellers sure did jump out at me.

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