Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tip and tricks: Track your Numbers

So I'm once again speaking as my other personality here, because well I don't really have numbers to track yet as Alexandra. This is one place that indie authors have the advantage, we get to see and track all of our own numbers, which means we get to see what is working and what isn't working. Why is this important? Which numbers should you track? Well this is what I'm going to cover today, and hopefully not forget anything.

Let's start with why. There are many reasons why you want to track numbers, some are going to tell you your rank on amazon, some are going to give you the obvious, like sales, and some is going to let you know what marketing tactics are working for you. Like I stated above, this is going to help tell you what is working and what isn't. Everyone has their own way of doing it, so you need to find yours, but do it.

I'm going to start with the most obvious first: Sales. Most authors, especially newer ones check their sales daily, I record them at the end of the month. I like the good old pen and paper way. I have a printed sheet that has the categories (print, ebook) and distributors listed, it also has a spot for last month's sales, and a running total for the year. On top of that it has a spot for how much money I made, because hey...who doesn't like royalties?

What this allows me to do: After a while it'll give me an overview, if I see one month is better than another I can see what I did that helped my sales. Was I more active on a certain social media? Did I run a sale? Did I have an ad going? Was there a new release? Did I have any reviews come out? All of those can play factors in my sales. Keeping track of the money allows me to see my finances, how much I made (I also have a way to track expenses.)

Next number? Amazon Ranking: I hate this one because Amazon doesn't lay out exactly what affects it and that drives me nuts. This one, because Author Central will give me an overview, I check once a week (unless I've had high sales) if your author rank is super high, check the best seller ranks and see if you've made it the (by high, I of course mean low #100's or so not the 100,000's).

What this allows me to do: See what I'm doing on Amazon. My goal is to hit best seller status, checking these numbers is a lot easier than hunting myself down on Amazon. Most days anyways. If my number jumped I can try and correlate that to a particular thing I did in marketing.

So those are the main numbers you want to keep track of, other authors keep track of different ones, but really I want to make it as simple as I can. If I can find a connection between those numbers and my marketing, than I can figure out what is working. Some months it may be different than others. Find a tracking system that works for you, it may be different than mine. Just do it.

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