How to Deal When Your Ranking is Tanking

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Self-publishing
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I mentioned in a previous post that I had a habit of obsessively checking my sales figures when I first published my books at Amazon. But using the same weaning method I used to quit smoking a few years back, I managed to cut my sales checks down from constantly to three or four times a day. This month, I’ve discovered the be-all, end-all cure for the insidious ailment of ObsessiveCheckItis (OCI). Horrible sales numbers.

I recently had the pleasure of checking the rank (an appropriate word if ever there was one) of A World Gone Gray on Amazon and found it’s dipped below the 500,000 mark, which is the lowest the book’s been since I published it back in November. Like Life Itself: Ten Short Stories (also published in November) is doing even worse, and will probably hit seven figures by the end of February. I did my research before diving into self-publishing, so part of me was braced for the inevitability that a historical graph of my sales figures would resemble the right side of a bell curve after 90 days or so. But still. Yeesh.

Rather than take a nap along the busiest portion of the railroad switching station abutting my backyard, I’ve decided to launch a two-pronged plan aimed at: a) keeping my sanity intact and b) increasing sales. The first prong involves me not checking my sales figures for the rest of the month. Really, it’s for the best. It won’t be easy, but I’m going to approach this first prong as if it’s an incredibly boring, G-rated version of “The Contract” episode of Seinfeld. As such, I’m obligated to follow the honor system. And I solemnly promise to do so. If I cheat, I’ll tell.

Prong Two has actually been several years in the making. During my endless research into the whole self- (and trade-) publishing thing, I heard it mentioned again and again that the best advertising an author can do is to release a new book. Makes sense, right? So I think I’ll go ahead and do that! I completed the first draft of Signal Fire (working title: Beacons) several years ago, just before the writer’s block documented in my last post struck.  It’s going to undergo some obsessive last-minute typo-hunting over the next two weekends, and then it’s going to be released on Amazon and Smashwords on March 4th. It even has a cover and everything! But I’ll save the details for my next post.


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