Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm not insecure today, although maybe I should be....

Scrolling through my Blogger dashboard I just realized it is Insecure Writer Wednesday! And I definitely have a post to whip out, better late than never, since there's a topic I've been (sort of) thinking about recently. 

 Book sales-- eeek!

It's been on my mind because for some strange reason all four of my books have plunged in their Amazon rankings to an abysmal level. Like 300,000 or some such. Normally my rankings are in the five figures, maybe the occasional dip over 100,000 but then they'll drop back down to a 5-figure ranking. This pleases me. It's something I can live with.

There are times the rankings have been very good-- like after a Kindle giveaway. I never really expect those to last, of course-- it's just a fun thing to watch when it happens, however briefly. But to see them this bad for this long is a shocker.

I'm not anxious or worried or concerned, just puzzled. After two years of fairly decent and steady sales, why would they plummet all of a sudden? And on all four of my books? At first I thought it might be post-election. Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds, my two Mormon family sagas, did fairly well this year, maybe due to Mitt Romney in the running for president. And it was after the election that sales really began to drop off. Coincidence?

But Farm Girl and Lighting Candles in the Snow aren't part of the Mormon family saga series, so why did they also drop to the bottom of the well? Hmmm, it's a real puzzle. Like I said, I'm not upset or anxious about it, because this is the kind of business we're in. What goes up must come down. Or something.

Meanwhile, I'm headed out to see what up with the rest of you today! And remember, the insecure writer of today is the confident writer of tomorrow. (And vice versa haha.)

22 comments:

  1. Someone else posted today that her sales had dipped and my rankings dropped this month. I guess it's happening all over.

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    1. But we're not at all worried about it, right, Alex?

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  2. I wonder...maybe because it's the Christmas season, and although people may buy books for gifts, they also have a lot of other things to buy...and then there's the FISCAL CLIFF, and maybe people are tightening up. Maybe...?

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  3. Funny you should say that - I'm posting about that on Friday. My friend proposed a theory and I think she's right. Everyone is buying Christmas gifts, and those are usually something tangible, like a print book, so ebook sales are down. People also buy gift cards to Amazon and Itunes. People also aren't buying much for themselves, because they are waiting for Christmas to see what gifts and gift cards they receive.

    Makes sense to me!

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    1. Ann and Diane, I really think the season has something to do with it. It and the economy are as good a reason as any! I look forward to your post on the topic, Diane.

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  4. I love the last line. So true.

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  5. Don't worry Karen, it has to be the rush of Christmas. Honestly who has the time to read anything when our focus is on decorating, baking, planning family activities, working, SHOPPING, preparing the house for the dreaded deep freeze .... lol ... you get the picture.

    Sending you a BIG HUG ... that always helps...

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  6. Amazon rankings are a total mystery, understood only by the privileged few. Life it far too short to worry about them!

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  7. Hi Karen - they've recently changed their parameters I think .. what, why and wherefore I have no idea ...

    But I'll be back to buy shortly .. cheers Hilary

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  8. I don't understand rakings at all. I notice this is one of the most complained areas of publishing on the KDP forums.

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  9. Hurricane Sandy, the Election, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and amazon changed their algorthyms again. It has to do with their new author ranking system. They're trying to promote national best sellers, so even if we sold 15 books a day, we still wouldn't go back up.

    From Dec 24 to the end of Jan will be the better weeks to see your ranking rise. Promote Promote Promote

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  10. Lorna Suzuki, one of my Twitter friends, said her sales where down because her books were being pirated. She suggested Googling my book titles and seeing if they're being offered free on piracy sites, as that might explain it. I tried it with Farm Girl, which used to be my bestseller, and found a whole ton of hits. Still, not sure what that means. I just don't see a big demand for Farm Girl among the kinds of people who know how to hack computers and pirate books.

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  11. Lighting Candles in the Snow on the other hand is more popular with pirates. Over 5000 downloads. That means my latest novel has been stolen 5000 times, and it hasn't even been out a year. Should I be flattered? Don't think so!

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  12. I don't think this time of year you should take the ranking very seriously. It is gift season and there are going to be big boosts for the books that have bestseller stickers and such. Unless you've gotten some giant promo coup recently, I don't think it's unexpected that the rest of us fall some.

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  13. Huh. I have no idea why this would be. I guess Amazon has weird formulas for stuff.
    Crossing my fingers that you will see more excitement soon!
    Heather

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  14. There have been a lot of things happening that may account for it, election, storms, holiday shopping (people don't really do books as gifts).

    I hope that it gets back up and I'm glad you are not stressing too much over it.

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  15. I don't have the "problem" of tracking book sales yet, but from my seat here in the peanut gallery, I don't think you should pay the numbers too much mind. If you do, it'll drive ya nuts. The plus side is your books will be there for sale far far into the future. So when the Holidays are over, when the economy perks up, when people start spending more for e-books again... your books will be there waiting for them.

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  16. I'm still too new to this to know what I should expect my "average" ranking to be. But I did have to stop myself obsessively checking my Amazon rankings every day.

    I think the holidays are definitely going to affect sales. People stop buying for themselves and start buying for others, so the people who'd normally want your books will hold off until the new year.

    Whenever I feel the niggling tug of doubt I pick it up, remind myself how small a thing it is, and throw it away. I keep faith that the best will come in the end, and remain thankful for what I have. It's a philosophy which has served me pretty well so far. You'll get your sales back up, I know it. ;-)

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  17. Paul, I know people who have had to set limits on themselves--only look at rankings once a week, or once a month, to avoid the obsessively checking. It can become an addiction otherwise.

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  18. Dear Karen, I'm sure the sell of "A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story" and "A Cat's Legacy" are never, ever, as high as yours. But I, too, saw a real plunge downward in November and now in December.

    For a year, I'd sold about 15 copies a month of "A Cat's Life." In September, after a book fair, I sold 35. Then October went down to 20 and November to 5. Thus far in December "A Cat's Life" e-book has sold only 1 copy.

    Like you, I don't know what explains that, but I remain hopeful that Dulcy will continue to touch the lives of those who love animals.

    I do so admire your honesty. Peace.

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