Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ten for Sale

Ten Things About Book Sales

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

1. The Internet Public Library's page on All-Time Bestselling Books and Authors.

2. Nearly one hundred years in the making: CaderBooks.com's Bestseller Lists 1900-1995.

3. [Note up front: the service is extremely overpriced, in my opinion, but it's your money if you want to spend it this way]: The Book Standard "offers look-ups for single titles, and provides both weekly and year-to-date sales figures for any edition of any book from January 2004 to present . . .Look-ups start at $85 for one ISBN, $145 for two, $340 for five and $600 for ten." I'd wager that the best time to use this service is right before January 1st to get the most accurate year-to-date sales figure.

4. The number to call Ingram and check on book supply, demand, and YTD sales from the indies: 1-615-213-6803 (free, limited to 5 titles per call, and you will need the title's ISBN number to use this service.)

5. Making Books ~ The Bestseller Lists: Totting up book sales is not as simple as one, two, three By Marina Krakovsky.

6. Track your book sales and that of your competition on Amazon.com using Sales Rank Watcher freeware.

7. Sales Tracking: New Ways to Drive Yourself Absolutely Crazy by Karyn Langhorne

8. Track Amazon.com sales ranking and run comparisons online with the still-free-with-registration serviceTitle-Z.

9. The Book Industry's Best-Seller Lists: What are they, and why do they matter so much? by Eliza Truitt.

10. What do those rank numbers mean, exactly? Read Rampant Techpress's article Understanding Amazon Sales Rank.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for giving me something new to occupy my already crowded brain... :)

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  2. #9 is very, very interesting. I didn't know half that stuff!

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  3. Rob wrote: Thank you so much for giving me something new to occupy my already crowded brain.

    You're welcome, lol. I know how much writers obsess over these things, so I thought that at least the freeware would come in handy -- and that Title-Z service gives you little stock-market type graphs. A great way to track what, 1-2% of your sales. :)

    Cora wrote: #9 is very, very interesting. I didn't know half that stuff!

    Me, either. The most comforting part of that article for me was this statement: These days, what best-seller lists are most likely to reflect is the amount of money spent to publicize the books that wind up on them.

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  4. Ah, well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one...

    I've got all these Post-Its above my desk with the numbers from Ingram every week. It's hard to know what they actually mean except that The Devil's Pitchfork is actually selling. I've noted a few jumps that seem to tie into particularly noteworthy promotions, like David Morrell's rave review in the International Thriller Writers' Report, but aside from that... beats me.

    The Amazon ranking is even more amusing, since there are authors whose novel doesn't come out for 8 months who have a higher ranking than my novel that's been out a couple months. I kind of take the Amazon ranking to be an internal indicator of whether anybody has ordered your book on any particular day, but aside from that, it's almost wildly unuseful.

    I'm ever so slightly tired of people asking me, "So how's the book doing?"

    I'm fairly sure the subtext here is: "How much money have you made?"

    And neither one really has an answer, but instead of saying, "Beats me," I'm inclined to say, "Doing good, thanks," and let them figure out why I'm driving a used Saturn VUE rather than a Mazerati.

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  5. If I go crazy, I'll know who to blame.

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  6. Mark wrote: I'm ever so slightly tired of people asking me, "So how's the book doing?"

    I'm fairly sure the subtext here is: "How much money have you made?"


    Or the other most popular subtext, "Why aren't you raking in the millions and sharing some with me?"

    Whenever anyone in real life asks me how much money I'm making, I say more than I did scraping the remains of drunk drivers up off the freeway. If that doesn't shut them up, my anecdote about the driver whose body we found crushed under 17 tons of semi and raw lumber generally does.

    Nalini wrote: If I go crazy, I'll know who to blame.

    Rats, my evil plan so quickly revealed....

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