My debut novel shot out of the gates. I remember checking my rank on the hour, squealing with delight when the book moved up into the top 100 in several Amazon lists. That heady feeling became rather addictive, and it continued well into the second and third months post-release. Then, my book baby started to fall ever-so-slightly. Did I stop checking? Heck, no! In fact, I think I checked more frequently. Talk about a waste of time. Still, I could not help myself. I am a first rate worrier, and as a new author, I thought perhaps my rank translated into the degree of success . . . or failure.
I still have what I think are respectable, consistent sales for a book that released eight months ago, but I’m starting to see big peaks and valleys between 60,000 and 400,000, and as a new author, I wonder if free falling rank is cause for concern.
What should we do when our books start to slip in rank? Does rank even matter? Let’s ask our trusty Seasoned Authors.
Here’s the lineup this week. Please feel free to click on their names to learn more about them.
Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.
Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.
Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.
Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at https://www.summersrye.wordpress.com
Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.
Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.
Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.
Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.
What do you do when your book falls in rank? And at what position do you start to worry about your title? Should authors even worry about rank? Is there a magic number that makes you hit panic mode?
Collette: I don’t think there is a magic number, and freaking out about rank will only zap your creativity. Write the next book, do a giveaway or two or three, engage readers, and let the rankings be.
Tema: I just did a Kindle Countdown and it seems to have thrown me back up to the top in several genres. Not a best seller by any standard yet, but I’m in the running.
Tina: From what I understand, ranking on Amazon does not necessarily reflect sales. Because my first book came out two years ago, I don’t even look at them anymore. When it goes on sale or for free, I do watch them. To me, hovering over rankings takes time away from what I should be doing – writing the next book. I certainly don’t lose any sleep over them.
Catherine: Stop watching the numbers and write the next book. I don’t worry about my numbers now. I watched them like a hawk at first, but it got to be an obsession, so I quit. I’m not in this to be an overnight success—that only happens once in a blue moon, and I’m quite aware of that. I write because I can’t not write. I did it before I was published and I’d still do it if I never got another contract. Like my publisher says, write the next book so when your breakout book hits you’ll have a backlist for readers to discover. I like that advice.
Ryan Jo: To be honest, I don’t even look at rank. I check my sales, just to see which book is selling and how many copies. Where it falls in the ‘rankings’, I don’t worry about. Like age, weight and such, they are all just numbers and change anyway. I know authors who obsess over their rankings, and if it motivates them, great.
Stacy: For me there is no set number for “free fall” or “panic time.” Numbers flux over time. I have made it a point with myself not to make myself crazy over it. I do, however, check my sales numbers periodically. If sales are down, sometimes I focus more on marketing. I post in Facebook clubs, which does take some time. I also take time to see which low-cost ads will be effective and then schedule those ads. But I’ve found that sales will also go up and down inexplicably.
For me, concentrating on writing my next book is the best way to get my numbers up. Each new release brings me a larger amount of sales, and new readers. My advice would be to not worry about rank because writing the next book may solve the ranking problem.
Samanthya: The best thing an author can do is write. No need to panic. Your book will sell or it won’t. Keep writing.
Petie: All authors worry about rank. It’s inevitable and it’s also probably psychologically repressive to do so. However, we can’t seem to help it. An author has to resign themselves to continue marketing, pressing, and interacting regularly with readers for the long haul. I’ve run promos where spikes occur soon and promos where spikes occur later. Readers step up to the plate at different times, and you can’t control them. Do your best job every day, put your best marketing foot forward, and then force yourself to stand back and let the chips fall where they may.
If you don’t constantly push marketing efforts for a book on some type of regular basis, your rank will naturally erode, but do not fear. I’ve recently done a book tour for an older release of mine that had been out for two years, and the tour was just as successful as the ones for my new spring release. So never panic, but never give up on your rank either.
Sage advice from our seasoned authors. Do you worry about rank? How often do you check? Come on, ‘fess up!
Up next week: Keeping it All Organized.