Yawatta would like to welcome JT BARONI as her special guest! She’s happy to hear that his novel is doing well, and she thought it’d be cool to get some insight into the best way of tracking book sales. This is his second mention on her blog–the first was Read A Spooky Ghost Story And Help Sponsor A Leader Dog!
Hello everybody! Yawatta asked me to research and write a piece on how authors can track their book sales. In a nutshell, here’s what I have to offer; some of you may already know this. For those that don’t, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Read on…
Unfortunately, there are very few ways for authors and publishers to track accurate, precise book sales. Of course, there is the very expensive A.C. Neilsen “Bookscan” reports that show actual sales, but only the largest companies and wealthiest authors can afford this expensive service.
One way we starving writers have is NovelRank, a completely free website for authors to track their Amazon Sales Rank on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de (Germany), Amazon.co.jp (Japan), Amazon.cn (China), Amazon.it (Italy), and Amazon.es (Spain). NovelRank is also a free resource for self-promoting authors to track their print and ebook sales and Sales Rank on Amazon with charting, RSS feeds, and real-time data. The Amazon Sales Rank is a number that reflects how many other titles have sold more than your titles, the smaller the Amazon Sales Rank number, the better the sales.
Then there’s Aaron Shepard’s Sales Rank Express website, another place where a writer is able to check their Amazon Sales Rank. It’s a neat site, similar to NovelRank, with a few more bells and whistles, it also has user-friendly charts and graphs.
However, the major drawback to these two sites is that you can only track sales from the time you join.
Which brings us to the Giant amongst all booksellers…Amazon! Most seasoned writers know the benefits of participating in Amazon’s Author Central program. It’s totally free, and Amazon encourages you to update your author bio, import your blog’s RSS feed, view the reviews written for your books, and more. And the best part? Sales are available from nearly day one when your book hit the market, no matter when you join!
This amazing platform now includes book sales data as reported by Book Scan, by A.C. Neilsen. Although this data doesn’t reflect every book sale, it does offer authors an interesting opportunity to gain valuable insight into sales trends, with the numbers being surprisingly accurate.
For example, you can see book sales geographically. From an author’s viewpoint, I thought it was fascinating to learn that my books have been selling across the country, from Maine to California, and all points in between. I felt as though I accomplished a great feat, even if only on a small scale. I also think it is so cool to think that people across the US are actually reading my novel, which has received seven five star reviews on Amazon so far. One of the best reviews came from our very own gracious host…Yawatta! From Shepard’s site, I learned I had two sales in the UK. Also, I have determined that most of my sales came from blog touring.
This information and service provided by Amazon is priceless, especially from a marketing perspective in tracking the results of your promotional efforts. In other words, if any of your hard-earned dollars spent in advertising paid off. For example, if you had bought an ad in The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, you are able to see if there was a spike in book sales in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area of Western Pennsylvania as a result of when your ad ran.
I imagine other tracking websites exist; however, once I stumbled upon Author Central, I quit Googling “tracking book sales.” I now have time to promote my paranormal tale, The Legend of Rachel Petersen, and to concentrate on writing my next one!
For those writers who did not know about this unique and free Amazon service, I hope I passed on a great and invaluable piece of information. I have only briefly touched upon their offerings, so I encourage all published authors to personally investigate the benefits of joining Author Central, and the other two sites, for a complete understanding. To reiterate my opening statement, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
However, as a cautionary word of advice, if you are involved in a dispute with your publisher over royalties, you will need more than this information. Seek legal advice on an audit.
And Yawatta! My gratitude for asking me to write this piece, and especially for having me on your blog again. It’s always my pleasure! Be sure to keep everybody smilin’, now!
P.S. I welcome any comments and feedback on this column, and any reviews on my spooky tale.