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Sunday, May 1, 2011

More Straight Talk on Book Sales: The Power of Author Central

So, I've been talking about book sales and sharing real numbers. (Check out my earlier posts on what my latest royalty statement looked like--and what that means--and on how much I've made in the first six months on my new POD book on ghostwriting.

Here's the thing. In the past, you had to wait at least six months to receive your royalty statement to have some idea of how your traditionally-published books were selling. You didn't know how you were faring week to week.

That's no longer true with Amazon.com's Author Central. When you sign up for it (it's free), you get an inside look to how your books are doing, at least in brick-and-mortar stores. Every Thursday, the latest numbers are posted; you can see how many books sold in various markets throughout the U.S.

That's how I know that I'm selling about 60 books each week in bookstores. (While these numbers aren't huge, several of my books have earned out, which means these sales represent royalties--good news for me.) However, I was recently reminded that I do have the power to impact those numbers for the better.

Two weeks ago, I spoke at the Annual Writer's Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. A week later, I saw a huge spike in book sales. The week before, I'd sold 60 copies, including 48 of Small Changes, Big Results, 9 copies of Six-Figure Freelancing, and 3 of Goodbye Byline. That week, I sold 174 copies, including 34 of Small Changes, 58 copies of Six-Figure Freelancing, 36 copies of Goodbye Byline--and 43 copies of my book for new magazine freelancers, Ready, Aim, Specialize. That's a dramatic difference.

Of course not every event I do will produce similar sales, but these sales numbers were a reminder that:
1. One of the best ways to sell more books is to connect face-to-face with your readers.
2. Keeping tabs on your sales will help reveal what works for you as an author, and what doesn't.

Authors, what do you think? Are you tracking your traditionally-published books on Author Central--and why or why not?