Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Watching the Numbers

One thing I love about being an independent author as well as an Amazon Montlake author is the way I can watch the numbers pretty much as they happen. With my Indie books, I can see both their rankings and their sales numbers, although with the Montlake books I don't have the exact sales counts. But with the two combined, I can get a strong concept of sales as well as compare with what's happening in promotion and other influences.

In the long run, three days of statistics don't seem to say very much. But watching the movements for different books at the point when some new books have come out tells me a lot about how books sell, what might influence that, and what reader prefer.

Here's what intrigues me right now:

Yesterday: FIRE DANCE and LOKI'S DAUGHTERS were released. They started out a bit slow, but that didn't surprise me since each of those books has a long history and over 130,000 books in circulation. The sale started to mount, but didn't jump off the charts.This is kind of normal for my books, which usually start catching on once word of mouth gets going. There had been some sales the night before, too. But I don't know if those were pre-orders or if the book was already being delivered.

By the end of yesterday, LOKI was doing very well, with FIRE DANCE not quite keeping up. But interestingly, my other books were picking up steam. I did put up a new cover for HIS MAJESTY, THE PRINCE OF TOADS, which might account for some of the gain. And more surprising was the rise of FAERIE in the rankings, even though it hasn't been released yet.

Today: Rankings started the morning a little lower than they were the night before, but then started picking up steam again. FIRE DANCE started catching up with LOKI. But then I started watching the others. The last I looked, FAERIE pre-orders were moving into the range of my already released books, and all of those older releases except one were continuing to climb. Books that had been out several years and had dwindled to maybe a few sales a month were suddenly back in the ranks of real competitors. Will they stay there long?

I hadn't done much with those older books in the last few months, being so busy with the upcoming releases. And we all know that book sales almost always follow a standard bell curve, that varies in both length and height, according to the success of the book. So I mostly figured those books had done their jobs and would continue to sell mildly as people looked for the back list.

BUT: has that changed? I saw last year that four of my books, each in their turn, took off rapidly, reached a peak, then dropped off, only to repeat this pattern one to three times. Will there be yet another rise and fall? Just how much does the introduction of one new book affect the older ones?

Well, I don't know. But maybe we're about to find out.

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I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.