50% of These Stats are Meaningless
As a budding author I’m very interested in understanding everything I can about the process of writing, publishing, and selling a book. Or multiple books, in my case. The writing and publishing part I’ve got down. The selling part I’m fumbling through. One way of tracking progress to that end involves tracking the numbers and correlating them back to strategies and tactics employed. Well the tactics at least, a strategy would be more of a far reaching direction, such as becoming a persistent bestseller. A tactic would be a task undertaken to fulfill that strategy (e.g. writing a blog to expose people to my writing and making them curious about my books so they buy one or more of them).
The irony is in the details. As in their is just so many details out there! Using Google Analytics I can track my websites and try to glean some useful information from them, such as how many people visited it and where in the world they came from. Or stats on this blog, which tells me how many page views I’ve had and how they found the blog (what website referred them here) and whether they clicked a link in the blog to go elsewhere. Some of it is even sort of useful, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in them and focus on one or more facets and lose out on the big picture.
What I’d like to do is track my Amazon sales in a more reasonable fashion. I’d like to know daily and even hourly sales numbers. No, I don’t sell a book every hour (working on that, feel free to help me out by buying some). But that way I could have a better idea of when more people are awake, alive, and interested in buying books – or at least my books. This is an attempt to understand my target market better and be able to cater to their wants and needs better. See how thoughtful I am? ;-)
The problem is the delay in Amazon’s reporting service. It looks to me as though a sale on Amazon takes about 2 hours to be reported, based on a couple of specific examples I’ve been able to pinpoint. I’ve read of a few services that offer to do this for you, but of course they charge money to do so. It’s not an obscene amount but is it worth it to have something available that keeps me from having to manually check and record sales every hour of the day? I’m thinking I might focus more on blocks of time (morning, midday, afternoon, evening, overnight, etc.). Hey, what can I say – I like to sleep too!
With that said, this means I’ve got a new research project I can post about and share my results for. Keep in mind it only applies to the people who buy my books. I’m not quite certain how to narrow that group down, but this is one of many attempts at defining this diverse group. For my fellow writers, I hope this can help you figure out your own markets and best means of reaching them. For my readers, keep checking back to see how I manage to identify you – if I can identify you, that is! You’ve got a few things in your favor already – if you’re reading my books that means your intelligent and you’ve got good taste! ;-)
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.