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Amazon Sales Ranks

Want to talk about a roller coaster ride?

Forget the Montu. Forget Superman. Forget space mountain. Publish an eBook and put it on amazon.

I swore to myself I would stop looking, but it’s kind of like a car accident. You just can’t help it. It starts out sooo innocently. Just a quick glance here and a, “Hmm, not bad.” Then a quick glance again with a, “Oh, that’s not good. Then it gets out of control from there. Wake up, eat cornflakes, check sales ranks. That’s good enough for a few days. But then, you tweet about your book. You want to know right away if your tweets got you any sales, so you sit in front of you computer pounding the refresh button like some sort of sick twisted game of whackamole. Then one of your friends lets you know, “Hey, dipshit. Did you know it takes four hours for amazon to update their sales ranks?”

“Um, yeah. I knew that,” you reply and hide your inner shame. So you’re game of refresh whackamole turns into a four hour endeavor. By the time your books been out for a week, you need a splint and some serious rehabilitation for your poor abused mouse clicky finger.

But wait, there’s more. Your morning and sales checks turn into an obsession…

Trust me, if you have an iPhone, throw it in the Potomac. It will only aid you in your obsession. I have three books on amazon right now. the fourth is coming. Soon there will be a fifth, sixth, and seventh. As of right now I have every book I’ve written saved as a book mark in my Safari browser. All I have to do is type the first letter of each book and it takes me directly to their innocent looking amazon sales page. I scroll down just a hair and there…right there…yup, you guessed it. The sales rank is right there. I no longer need my computer to aid my addiction. It’s like portable crack. I don’t need a whole crack house! I can smoke it right from this shiny glass pipe in my pocket anywhere!

Damn you, technology. Damn you to hell!

Wake up, check ranks, say, “Shit. Nobody bought anything while I was sleeping! Don’t people in Australia buy eBooks?”

Brush your teeth, check ranks, say, “Jeez. People must still be brewing coffee. That’s why they haven’t bought my books!”

Get dressed, check ranks, say, “Huh. Don’t nekkid people buy eBooks? I do.”

Hop in the car, take the kids to school, and on the drive to work innocently reach down, grab iPhone, check ranks, say,” Oh shit! A stoplight!”

Get to work, check ranks. Eat lunch and stare at your iPhone. “Maybe somebody will buy one while they’re eating!”

It never ends. Everytime someone buys a book your sales ranks drops down like 80k bringing you back down into the 20k range. Slowly it creeps up until somebody buys another one. I think they might own stock in Xanax and have introduced the sales ranks thing, just to get people to buy their product. “People who wrote this book also bought anti-psychotic medications.”

It’s a good thing I have a LOT of really long hair. Or I’d probably be bald.

Oh, and a word of caution. The first person who comments the phrase, “A WATCHED POT NEVER BOILS,” gets a punch in the face.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Never a truer post. And, I’m told, those ranks are not accurate.

    • April 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

      LOL. I’m told that too. Still look at em. 😀

  2. April 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

    A watched pot boils in the same amount of time as one that is not watched, so do something else while it comes up to temperature. 🙂

    In all seriousness though, this is something I bet I will struggle with when I release my book (hopefully by this weekend). It’s tough not to. It’s not like (I’m sure) traditional books where an author won’t hear for weeks, maybe even months before the sales numbers come from the publisher. Having direct access to that on a somewhat real time basis is certainly a bitter-sweet feature.

    I imagine it’s probably not good to make anything like this an obsession, but I suppose what I take away from this is to remember not to get discouraged if my sales become stagnant or go down. I know I’ll probably not ever have a huge seller, and some books I release will do better than others. It’s a dynamic world and predictability is a crap shoot.

    Fun write up, thanks!

    • April 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

      It is. And advertising is expensive and word of mouth takes ages. All we can do is close our eyes and hope.

  3. April 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Great post! It’s psychosis inducing, isn’t it? Who knew that we’d get so nuts?

    • April 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

      I know right. I’m buying a jacket. With extra long sleeves. That cuff behind me.

  4. April 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

    A watched pot…er. Yeah.

    I’ve had to make a deal with myself not to check rankings and only hit KDP about twice a week for sales. It’s maddening otherwise.

    • April 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

      We should all be medicated! I wrote a book. Here’s your meds.

  5. April 7, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Hi Sean! What page can I go to in order to find out what your books are about, if they are a series or stand-alone, and what order I should read them in? Also, I’d love to interview you on Writing Insight (http://writinginsight.blogspot.com) if you’d like to do that. Drop me an email at cmdrsue@gmail.com 🙂

  6. April 7, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Hi Sue!

    Origins is book one of the Demonkin Series. Book two, Deceptions, will be out later this year. Its and Urban fantasy about vampires, demons, etc. The series has its own website. http://www.demonkin.com

    Lady Dorn is a steampunk short, also about a vampire. It has its own page on http://www.seanhayden.org. If you click the book to the right it will take you to the description, etc.

    First Flight is the first of the Magnificent Steam Carnival of Professor Pelusian Minus. The second of the series will be out this month, it’s called Second Chance. I’m particularly proud of this series because I wrote it with my 11 yo son and it’s part of a get kids to read program.

    And yes, I’d love to do an interview! Emailing you now. 😀

  7. Ania Ahlborn
    April 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    A watched pot never—waitaminute.

    Great article, Sean. My book isn’t out yet (my fingers are crossed for June) but I can totally relate to this. I’ve been posting my artwork online for years, and checking ranks and potential sales is just… all-consuming. It’s like, one day you’re a normal person and the next day you’re washing your hands forty times a day, checking all the door knobs in the house before you leave, rushing to the computer… just once more… just ONCE more.

    I broke out of the cycle, art-wise, but I’m sure I’ll be back on the crazy train as soon as my book is up for sale. Joy!

  8. Anita Wakeham
    April 8, 2011 at 4:27 am

    What is “Amazon”? Lol! Makes a note `Stay away from Amazon, it’s not good for ones mental health` ;).
    Joking aside, I will get around to going in and buying your book/s, need to do it from my mum’s, as the only credit card I use is my mum’s (she is the only credit facility I have lol) I have no such cards of my own lol.


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