Do You Have Any Idea How Many Books You’ve Sold?

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!

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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!

Thank you,

JT Baroni

P.S. I welcome any comments and feedback on this column, and any reviews on my spooky tale.

Book Review: The Legend of Rachel Petersen by J.T. Baroni

Did his book raise the dead?

Outraged when The Post Gazette overlooks him for a promotion, thirty-nine year old sports writer, Christian Kane quits and moves to the country to write fiction.

Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods. He compiles The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating story revolving around the dead twelve year old girl lying beneath the weathered tombstone. His book becomes a Best Seller; then Hollywood makes it in to a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous, but only to have Rachel rise from the grave to seek revenge on him for slandering her name!

This 18 chapter book had me rolling on the floor laughing. It was cool the way the characters’ dry sense of humor was on full display–whether through narration, dialogue, or thoughts. The funniest moments for me were: 1) at the banquet, Christian Kane didn’t get the promotion 2) when Christian quit his job because when he gave the middle finger, his boss’s eyes went cross-eyed to see the gesture 3) when his wife commented on his first vampire story.

Don’t get me wrong. This story was definitely scary. For as many times that I giggled, my eyes became huge with fright. I tried to calm myself plenty of times–‘it’s just fiction; it’s not real’. When Thad unburied Rachel Petersen’s remains, all hell broke loose. Her ghost was relentless in torturing him and his younger brother until they decided to help her. And, when she started going after Christian and his wife, I almost fainted. I’ll never look at red-head girls with green eyes, who are 12, the same way again LOL.

This is the author’s debut novel, and I have to say I’m very impressed. JT Baroni was brilliant with characterization. I felt like I knew everyone and understood their motives. I could picture them as real people instead of just characters in a novel.

I absolutely loved that Christian wrote The Legend of Rachel Petersen in this book; readers got a glimpse of the entire story, so we understood why it became a bestseller. When it discussed the Yoder family, the plot was very entertaining. I enjoyed the brother’s back and forth. Plus, my favorite scene was on the bus heading to school–all the kids looked out the back window to see the ghost appear through exhaust vapors. If Rachel’s ghost should’ve been upset with anyone, it should’ve been her friend Sam. He was 100 years old, who kept a secret since the age of 12. He should’ve came forward A LONG TIME AGO to clear her name!

  • Getting to see Rachel’s life before she died made me sad for her. I liked that the story got personal in that sense. Poor girl. All she wanted to do was rest in peace, to be left alone. I guess she figured if the town believed she murdered her family (making her an urban legend), then she might as well make the rumors true that she is a killer.

My favorite part is that readers got a glimpse of Christian Kane’s journey, trying to get published. With self-publishing, vanity publishing, beta-readers, etc. mentioned, it felt like I was involved in an inside joke for all writers.

The ending was very creepy. I wonder if Christian’s hell would be reliving the moment at the banquet? To relive it everyday like “Groundhog’s Day”.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Read A Spooky Ghost Story And Help Sponsor A Leader Dog!

YAWATTA WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME JT BARONI AS A GUEST:

Hello! And a big thanks to Yawatta for having me as a guest on her blog!

I am pleased to announce that my book, The Legend of Rachel Petersen, has been released through Damnation Books, and I plan on donating a portion of my book’s proceeds to The Leader Dogs for the Blind, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. This organization has been training Leader Dogs and placing them with blind people, free of charge, since 1939, and they have achieved this amazing feat all from donations.

I know all too well, both their generosity and the impact of their invaluable services. Furthering that statement, I also understand first handedly how strongly the visually impaired faithfully depend, trust, and rely on their dogs, whereas my older brother, Gene, has been blind since birth, and is on his third canine companion. As kids, my brother and I were constantly hand in hand. We went everywhere together. I was, in fact, Gene’s first Leader Dog!

We don’t get to visit each other as often as we would like, since Gene resides three hundred miles away in Philadelphia. However, the times I have visited my brother, I was impressed on how well Gene’s dog guided his blind master through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love. It’s absolutely amazing how smart these animals are. The people in Michigan do a fantastic job in training these Leader Dogs. Valor, Gene’s latest dog, is a beautiful Black Labrador Retriever, and when my brother puts the harness on Valor, that dog knows it is time to work. He even seems to enjoy riding the subway.

I live in a rural area of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and being the avid outdoorsman that I am, I spend a great deal of time in the woods, mostly within walking distance of my home. Last year, I came upon a lone grave in the woods, which inspired my paranormal tale. From years of weathering, the inscription was barely legible, it read, “Rachel Peterson, 1801 to 1899”. I changed the spelling of the last name and made my ghost character a young girl, which I feel gives the story a more realistic touch, while making the tale that much spookier.

But what is really ironic, and eerily enough, my story evolves around 39-year-old sports writer Christian Kane, who becomes outraged when The Pittsburgh Post Gazette overlooks him for a well-deserved promotion. Kane quits the Paper and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods, with the headstone having the dates 1851 to 1863, which means the girl died during the Civil War. He is then compelled to pen The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating and horrific story based on the dead twelve-year-old girl laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone. His book quickly climbs the Best Seller lists; then Hollywood makes it in to a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous, but only to have Rachel rise from the grave, seeking revenge on him for slandering her name! Or does she?

The Legend of Rachel Petersen is available both as an e-file at Damnation Books, http://www.damnationbooks.com/people.php?author=135 , or visit my website, http://www.jtbaroni.com  . However, I forewarn any potential readers, I wrote this story with a mature audience in mind; it does contain adult content, and one scene in particular may be disturbing for young readers. Two specific stories  majorly influenced my plot structure, The Devil’s Advocate and The Sixth Sense; both of which are my all time favorite movies. Therefore, two unforeseen twists come out of nowhere at the end of the story and smack you upside the head.

I would like to graciously thank everyone who helps support my cause; raising a puppy to Leader Dog status is extremely expensive, averaging forty five thousand dollars per sponsored dog.

In conclusion, thanks again for having me, Yawatta, and I hope everybody enjoys my novel!

JT Baroni