I’ll admit I used to have an addiction. A sales rank checking addiction (better known in the self-publishing world as SRC). If you have something similar, don’t go and hassle your doctor – it’s something you can learn to control yourself!
When I first published my novel ALEX on Amazon, checking my sales was just a novelty thing, a hobby – but as I became increasingly serious about my self-publishing efforts I found myself checking a little too often. OK, it was a lot. I wanted to know how my book was doing all the time – what the number was next to that hash tag, if I had any new reviews, comments and so forth.
I just couldn’t stop refreshing that page and so, like any bad habit, knew I had to knock it out the park – but I found that this one needed a massive swing to send it sky high. Bad habits are usually not only bad for you, but also waste hefty amounts of your time – and if you’re an author with readers awaiting your next book, you’ll know just how precious that time is!
Let’s take a look at why checking your sales rank frequently throughout the day is completely unnecessary:
1. There’s nothing you can do about it!
Firstly, let’s get one thing very clear: no matter how many times you look at your book’s page, you cannot change the ranking – a watched kettle never boils! What else should you do instead, then? Reading a book or writing your new one wouldn’t be a bad idea. Just don’t fall into a stupor and worry about something which is entirely out of your hands.
2. Some days you just sell more books than on others – deal with it!
You just can’t understand it – yesterday your self-publishing ranking was noticeably higher. What’s going on?! Well…probably just the laws of unpredictability or, er…life. Book sales aren’t automated and people aren’t programmed to buy your book a certain amount of times each day. Think of all the different circumstances which may pop into peoples’ lives at any given moment. Sometimes – though it pains us authors to think of it – readers have much better things to do than buy our books. (I’m not quite sure what these things are, but apparently they exist!)
3. Ghosts in the machine – book distributors’ ranking updates can get delayed
Book distributors like Amazon, for example, state that their rankings get updated by the hour. And this is no lie. However, I’ve noticed it isn’t always the case. Sometimes my book ranking won’t change for hours. And sometimes it will drop significantly throughout the evening – almost stopping my beating heart! – until suddenly at 1am it will return to normal. So what was the point in worrying for hours on end? There wasn’t one! That time could’ve been spent spent better on writing! So please, don’t fall into the same trap.
4. A bad sales day isn’t the end of the world – seriously!
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you get a bad sales day. Whether half your potential readers got abducted by aliens or not is irrelevant – bottom line: they didn’t buy your book. Sometimes this dip in sales may last a few days. So what do you do? – give up on writing your new book and mourn the impending death of your current pride and joy? Of course not! Your sales will probably return to normal soon, and if you’re really worried, you could always spend a few minutes checking out your social media channels and website. Perhaps something went down? A server issue? Or something hadn’t updated for a while? Be diligent – but don’t obsess too much. Sometimes a bad sales is just a bad sales day.
5. A bad review has reared its ugly head – there’s still nothing you can do about it!
Ah, this is one thing we can be objective about. A bad review can and probably will – even if only slightly – affect your self-publishing sales. But wait…this review is vicious and it sounds like this reviewer – or devil – is out to destroy your reputation! There really isn’t much you can do about this, though. Trust me. Your book distributor will be reluctant to remove any reviews and so you’ll just have to take the hit. And remember, it’s only one review; if your book is any good – of course it is, have faith! – then there’s plenty of time left to receive many more positive ones. Don’t keep refreshing that page, wishing a bunch of new positive reviews will suddenly appear and bury that nasty one. They won’t. What you need to do is forget about it. (OK, you need to try to forget about it, at least. You’re still mortal and will never be immune to bad reviews – your book is your baby and someone has just jabbed it in the eye with a stick! How dare they!) My advice: get on with writing that new book, read, or do anything else that’s more productive.
And that’s it. The morale of the story is of course not to worry – unless there’s actually something you can do about it. Most of the time there isn’t, so just embrace the rest of your life and let your book get on with selling itself.
So how often should you check your sales ranking? Well, there is no exact amount. I’m no expert on the subject – this is only what works for me, but I personally only allow myself to check twice a day. Once in the morning, once before my head hits the pillow. That’s enough. It gives me the time needed to concentrate on writing and marketing.
As always, I hope you managed to take something away from this self-publishing article and would love for you to leave a comment below. I’m always pleased to hear from readers! Perhaps you have some tips of you own I failed to mention? Fire away!
Also, if you haven’t yet read my Kindle #1 Best Selling Thrillers & Suspense novel, ALEX, my chilling debut can be found on Amazon by clicking on a cover below. Plus, it’s now just £0.77 / $0.99 for a limited time!