Monday, June 3, 2013

Taking Stock

The other evening I happened to go to my Amazon site. I don’t go there often for a variety of reasons. For one, they show some of my books with covers of old versions that no longer are for sale instead of putting up the covers of more recent editions. Another reason is my rankings aren’t what I want them to be. But I digress.

Because I rarely visit my Amazon site except to check for errors, I found myself reading reviews of one of my children’s books. No Boys Allowed deals with a young girl’s life after her parents’ sudden divorce. Though the novel first came out in 1992 or 3, the theme is still relevant. How divorce impacts on kids hasn’t changed much since then. When the book finally went out of print, I retrieved the rights and put up a new edition  myself. Reading the reviews made me take stock. Sure, I liked the compliments regarding my writing skills, but I was especially glad to know that Cassie’s situation touched the hearts of my readers. I smiled as I left my Amazon page, remembering a conversation with a teacher this past year and her telling me that she and another teacher in her school had read the book with their students. Remembering that a friend’s granddaughter’s teacher had read the book to her class. No Boys Allowed is alive and flourishing, and reaching new readers!

I do my best to bring my books to the attention of readers via social media. I blog, I guest blog, I go on Facebook, I tweet, etc. Nothing seems to raise my sales, though No Boys Allowed is #29 in the Kindle store for children’s books concerning marriage and divorce through no effort on my part. Perhaps that’s through word of mouth. Taking stock, I realize that making my novels available to readers is what’s most important to me. I love hearing a reader say she enjoyed one of my mysteries and hopes I write more books in the series. I take delight in receiving emails from children telling me they love a particular book, or that one of my books hit a particular subject spot on. This is especially heartwarming because my kids’ books deal with serious themes. In Getting Back to Normal Vannie copes with life after her mother's death. In And Don’t Bring Jeremy, Adam finds himself and a way to relate to his older brother who has
disabilities. I’ve decided not to worry about rankings and numbers and to focus on what I love: writing novels for myself and for my readers.


Patricia Gligor said...

Checking sales, rankings and reviews can be frustrating. It's so easy to fall into that trap.
My publisher recently did a free promotion for "Mixed Messages," the first novel in my Malone mystery series. We gave away a lot of books, which was good. Within a few days, sales increased too, also good. But, I found myself becoming a little too involved with checking numbers. It was like a roller coaster ride. One day sales were up and the reviews were great; other days, not. It was affecting my mood and my writing.
I finally decided, like you, to focus on writing my third book and let "the chips fall where they may."

Jacqueline Seewald said...

My husband often says the same thing to me: focus on the writing. I tend to get too involved in promotion to the detriment of the creativity. It's a big mistake!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yes, writing is what is important. You can get depressed reading any of that stuff on Amazon, including reviews. One bad review among a bunch of great ones can be devastating.

C.M. Albrecht said...

Yes. Reading those Amazon accounts is depressing, especially when one of your books is down around what has to be the bottom at 10,000,000. And I see I'm not the only person with old covers still being shown. Those are from publishers long gone and Amazon continues to show them because, as they tole me, there may still be available copies out there.

Palmaltas said...

I read this quote from Stephen King this morning, which I find quite appropriate for your blog: "...(writing)it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well."

Marilyn Levinson said...

Pat, Jacqueline, Marilyn, CM and Pat,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving worthwhile comments. This writing business isn't easy, especially the business part of it.
Marilyn, You hit the nail on the head when you mention how it hurts to receive an unfavorable review. Why do we give it more weight than all the favorable comments? Human nature, I suppose. The thing to remember is we can't please everyone all the time. Most of us have no compunction criticizing movies we didn't like.
Pat, thanks for the Stephen King comment. I know writing enriches my life, and I like to think what I write also enriches the lives of my readers.

Jana Richards said...

I don't check my rankings. I'm too busy to bother, and besides, I'm sure knowing the numbers would just depress me. You're right to focus on your readers, and to just try to write the best book you can.

Marilyn Levinson said...

How smart of you not to check your rankings. Those numbers can be depressing.
And I wish there were a way of finding out what elements of PR and marketing really work.