Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obsessed with Amazon Sales Ranking? You're Not Alone.

Just in case you needed another reason to interrupt your writing productivity, Amazon's got a little something for you.

They must be aware that authors obsessively check the sales ranking of their books, at least three or four times a day. No sniggering, you know you do it, too - "Oh, let me just check one thing before I go to bed....woohoo! 11,395!" followed next morning by, "Hang on, just have to look at one thing...damn! It's 13,794. Heading the wrong way!!!" In fact, I know it's not just me who does this - Amazon even says so on the Author Central website. Now, authors have an (easier?) way to manage their compulsive need to check sales rankings.

If you have no clue what Amazon Author Central is, let me sum it up: a free Author Page, where you or your publisher can list your biography, books, photos and videos, your blog, and even tour events. Two things you need to get started: a book you've written and an online account with Amazon. Ever wondered where your books are selling? Amazon has taken it a step further by providing sales data paperback and Kindle purchases of your book(s) in the US from Nielsen BookScan. This service was once available only to the publishing industry at thousand-dollar fees. Also, Author Central consolidates your sales ranking history, viewable over a span of two weeks, one month, or based on all available sales data. Admit it: isn't it much easier to have all the information over a span of time, rather than obsessively checking the ranking several times a day? Feel free to check as often as you want, and jump for joy or freak out over the information - no one will ever know.

This move by Amazon has spurred all sorts of responses. Some of my favorites from Twitter are here. Reasoning behind the decision? Amazon VP Russ Grandinetti says: “Authors are an important community for us … We’re really happy to make it easy and free for them to see geographical BookScan data updated weekly, as well as historical Amazon bestsellers rank, for their books. We hope this creates an improved feedback loop for authors and enables them to develop more effective methods for reaching the widest possible audience.”

Ha! All thoughts on corporate culture and reasoning aside, I know one thing it's gonna do for me - feed my obsession! Mwahahaha, mwahahaha.

1 comment:

Marcella Denise Spencer said...

I had no clue what Amazon Author Central was. Thanks, Lisa. And yes, I signed up.

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