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  • Writer's pictureBill

Sales of New Novel: Baby Doe

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Waiting waiting waiting for new information on costs and author royalties for Baby Doe. You'll know when I know.

Equally hard is finding current sales information even for Amazon sales. I do get quarterly detailed reports on sales from the publisher containing sales info, not only for Amazon, but that info isn't available for a couple of months after the quarter closes. That will be the end of August at the earliest. In the meantime, one can try various ways to infer sales using a book's Amazon ranking. You can do this for your paperback and for your ebook separately. The rankings are independent of each other, but book reviews for either are on both the ebook and the paperback sites.

Why can't I get daily information on sales from Amazon? One can, if one publishes on Amazon Kindle direct publishing (KDP) which is one option for those who self-publish, but KDP also can be used by small publishing companies like mine. If you self-publish, you are the publisher. Publishing with a small publishing company like I've done results in my book being admixed with the other books they publish on Amazon, and I can't get access to the publisher's dashboard because it has sales info for all of their books. And that's confidential info. I'm told I can request access from Amazon for sales info on my book alone, but I haven't wanted to that yet. because my appeals to authorities for an exception to a rule have usually been unsuccessful, and that's a euphemism for scorned.

While I don't know the provenance of this technique, one simple way to estimate sales is to divide a book's overall Amazon ranking into 100,000. For example, my ebook overall Amazon ranking this minute is about 250,000. Divide that into 100,000 equals 0.4, which estimates I'm selling not quite half a book today... Why does this work? Does it? Don't ask me.

Another more opaque way is to use something available on the web like this.

The TCK Amazon Book Sales Calculator estimates that I'm selling one book a day, but it also estimates somehow that I'm selling about 12 books a month.

All inexact and frustrating, because if one is running ads of various sorts, it's hard to know the real cost/benefit of the ad.

The fun of these tools is that you can finish reading any book sold on Amazon and get an estimate of the book's current sales. But, then, you can just look at the book's overall sales ranking--the smaller the ranking number, the more the sales.

What's the ranking of a book with the most terrible sales? Two million? Nope. I checked an out of date textbook of neonatology published in 1991 that I helped edit. It has an overall Amazon ranking of over 16,000,000. I don't know whether that makes me feel better or worse.

On the other hand, if you're in the mood, why not buy a few hundred copies of Baby Doe here and see if you can make the sales rank of the novel drop like a stone. You might even create a best seller. I'm thanking you in advance.

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