Don’t get hung up on watching book sales stats

Whenever you self publish a book, you’ll have the opportunity to track sales, or see how many books you’ve sold. You may have to go to a couple of different web pages to do this, though, if you sell a book at both KindleDP and Smashwords. Be aware of where these pages are and check them out – but don’t obsess over the numbers.

If you were an internationally-known author whose books regularly made the bestsellers list, you’d have an agent who watched those numbers for you. As an indie author, your numbers may not change significantly (if at all) for a few days at a time.

While knowing the total number of books you’ve sold is interesting, put the information to good use by seeing what promotional efforts result in sales. Sales numbers may not always be easy to correlate to a specific effort, but over time you can make some generalizations.

A personal example: Watching sales of four published works for more than 18 months, I’ve found that when a blogger reviews or features one of my books, its sales go up. They also jump (not surprisingly) between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Book readings move a couple of books as well. Radio interviews on a show targeted at those interested in the arts always leads to book sales, much more so than when newspaper articles appear about the book. However, if the newspaper article mentions one of my book readings that’s coming up, the host book store typically sells a few more of my titles. What conclusions can I draw from this? The more I target my marketing to specific audiences who would be interested in my book rather than a general, albeit large, audience, the better my book sales. Knowing this helps shape my promotional efforts for future books.

There’s one other good reason to track sales: You want to ensure your royalties match what is paid out to you. Though such problems are rare, they do occur.

In any case, refrain from checking out your book sales stats every few hours let alone from day to day, especially if you’ve published only one or two books. Your time will be more effectively spent promoting your books – or penning your next one!


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.