As regular people to this site already know, I try to give you tools to help you be successful as writers. The most difficult task for people is marketing. For me, it is something that comes like second nature, but for others, it's as big a mystery as the origin of the universe.
In my prior life (i.e. before spending full time activities in publishing) I was a Software Engineer, a Product Manager, and yes a Marketing Manager, among other things. When I came into new organizations I was amazed at how they would make decisions "from their gut" rather than from "data". Well I'm a data kind of gal so I've always paid particular attention to numbers and you should to.
If you don't track your results, how do you know what is working and what isn't? The good news is that there are many ways to track even for those that don't have access to sales data except during royalty statement time. I'm going to discuss social networking stats (tweets, klout scores, face book likes, etc) as well as Amazon tracking...and cover that another day. Instead I'm going to focus on a site that has been very good for Michael and other Ridan authors...Goodreads.
First and foremost if you are an author and not a member of Goodreads...go sign up now. I'll wait...done? Good. Now did you sign up as just a member or did you claim your author author profile? No? Well it's pretty simple - follow the directions here.
Okay now when you login, in the upper right of the screen you'll see a link to the "author dashboard". While there is a lot on this page, the thing we're going to concentrate on is the stats which can be found right at the top left. Here is what Michael's stats look like:
You should open a spread sheet and record this data. I do it by having the following columns: date, num books, total add, total rating, total reviews, on shelf, unique, fans, friends.
From looking at Michael's data you can see we've focused on getting books on the shelves, and ratings/reviews and really haven't spent much time collecting friends or fans. We'll discuss how you effect these numbers (i.e. make them grow) but for now let's focus on data measurement so that once we start doing things, we can decide if our activities were successful.
Now, at some regular interval (daily, weekly, monthly) you should add a new row to your spreadsheet. I've been off goodreads for many many moons, and recently I've pushed Michael to spend a bit of his day interacting with people on this site (because he has a new release coming out in November) so I've resumed my tracking to see how well he's doing. I try to collect the data daily but sometimes there will be a few days between data captures so I always "normalize my data" by looking at the information on a per day basis. Let's use some of Michael's data to help illustrate this.
|Date|| Books on Shel||Days||Change||Per Day|
|09/9/28/2011||5,496|| 2|| 21|| 10.5|
|09/9/29/2011||5,525||1|| 29|| 29|
The "change" column if found by subtracting the data from this row with the previous row. Then the Per Day is Change divided by number of days. You could of course eliminate the change column and just do a single calculation by using a formula such as: =(D24-D23)/M24 but I don't want to turn this into a spreadsheet tutorial.
Okay...So let's look at the data I've been collecting for Michael from 8/11/2011 to 10/7/2011 for Books that are on the shelves.
- From 1 - 12 we had no new promotions, and Michael hadn't yet started back up participating on goodreads so we get about 3 - 15 (avg 8.4) adds per day if we aren't doing anything.
- Starting at 13 Michael started participating a bit each day on Goodreads and low and behold the number of book adds increased.
- At point 18 we released a free short story so we got a spike that day of 24 new books added
- At point 21 we added a "free giveaway" and not surprisingly we got a huge jump, but not as big as I would have liked...so guess what...I'm going to be working that a bit more in the future.
- Past 21 the only "different thing" we've done is allocate a bit of Michael's day to go out on goodreads and interact (again I'll show you what that interaction looks like in a future post) but the books added per day went up to 11 - 51 with an average of 23.8) which is a 277% increase. But of course we are also seeing results of the short story and free giveaway, but still, I think that I can determine the following from this data.
- There is more potential to exploit in the free giveaway and I'll do some promotion to that end.
- Not enough people know about the free giveaway so I'll need to promote that more
- Being more active on the site (and 1 & 2) have produced results but there is still more potential.