13 March 2007

Navel Gazing

As an author with a book on Amazon -- indulge me while I say that a few times -- you suddenly start to check your book's page as often as a child checks MySpace. The number you're addicted to? The "Amazon.com Sales Rank." As an avid Amazon shopper, this number used to never concern me; I just looked at a book's price to see of it would help me qualify for free shipping. But now the only number I look at is the Sales Ranking. I study it like I would a stock I invested all my savings into.

What does the Amazon Sales Rank mean anyway? Amazingly, nobody really knows. Sure, if you've got a book in the top ten (the lower the number the better), that means you're making bank, but what if your book is say, ranked #47,743? Well, first things first.

The ranks are correlated to how many books you've sold through Amazon, but not directly. It's a relative rank that is recalculated periodically -- typically every day. So, if you're selling five copies a day for a week straight, your rank could still fluctuate up and down based upon how other books are selling that day. Here's the short explanation of how Amazon Sales Rank works; and here's a long explanation.

Suffice to say, when you're wondering how your book is doing, Amazon can provide only a partial answer.

I've been using this cool online tracking tool called Title-Z to track my book's Amazon Ranking. I'm usually in the #50,000 range and once in awhile I'll get really close to breaking the #10,000 barrier (I've been as high as #3,000 on Amazon UK). A ranking of #10,000 or better roughly translates to 2 copies of the book sold every five days. I can do better than that right? I live for the day the book breaks the five digits barrier. To 9,999 and beyond!

Heck, if everyone I knew took turns buying the book each day, I'd be in the top #5,000 for sure! Reverse calculate that and I'd have to have, um, well, fifty friends? Do I even have fifty friends?

Additonally, if you are an avid reader, feel free to join goodreads, which was discovered by Lilly and is a sort of Friendster for book lovers. Hit me up, we can be book buddies!