Monday, October 28, 2013

The Peril of Knowing Too Much

If one publishes through a publishing house, the book statistics are perhaps every month, every few months or even annually.  One knows their book is out there in stores but how it's doing - that part is a mystery.  In some cases the book may appear on bestseller lists, reviews and other things but the actual sales statistics are a mystery day to day.

But when one publishes through amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, as soon as the book is uploaded, the stats are live.  One could check hourly on how many are sold, borrowed and returned and from each country that it is available in.

Though I don't check hourly, I'll admit to checking often because I'm curious and because I can.  First, I'll check out the current selling rank of my book.  If it's doing well, then I know that there have been some sales.  Then I'll go into my KDP account and see what the numbers are.  I have a running spreadsheet on the sales amounts and estimated royalty deposit.  It's always off.  I was never good at numbers but it doesn't stop me from trying.

Lately I've noticed that my book has had a couple of refunded books.  At first I was a little sad.  Did they not like it?  Was it so awful that they had to permanently rid themselves of it?  Will a 1 star review pop up soon?  This is the peril of knowing too much about my book stats.  If my book was in a bookstore, I most likely wouldn't know the exact number of returns or the ups and downs of sales.  I'd just continue on and hope for the best.  But now I'm able to check often and obsess a little if I feel like it.

Yesterday I downloaded a few free books for my kindle.  I hit the "buy-now with 1-click" button and belatedly realized that the book was not longer free.  Since it wasn't a must-read, I promptly went to my "manage my kindle" page and returned it...for a refund.

I'm so sorry about that, dear nameless author.  It's really not you, it's me.

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