Obsessing About Your Stats Won’t Sell Your Book, But These 12 Tips Will

If you can’t stop checking your stats, here are some better and more effective ways to use your energy.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

You know how it is. You’ve poured your heart out in a book you know everyone will want to read. You dream of hitting all the best seller lists, landing a spot in Oprah’s book club, and the kind of house with an ocean view you’ll be able to buy with your royalties. Publish day comes, and it’s like Christmas. Your book is finally live, and you’re a published author! You kick back your heels and check your book stats, expecting to see a steep climb on the charts.

Instead, you see a flat line.

Obviously this can’t be right, so you refresh. The line is still dead on arrival.

You step away, do something else, maybe share a link on social media to remind people that your book now exists in the world. And when you come back? Still nothing — except you now are on the road to becoming a stats-aholic.

You might be a stats-aholic if you do the following things:

  • Check your stats numerous times a day
  • Obsess about whether your stats are moving or not
  • Spam your social media accounts to create movement in your stats
  • Repeat

So why doesn’t this work? Let’s put it in terms of dieting.

You want to lose weight, so you purchase a scale. You then proceed to eat the food you always eat, and spend the majority of the day enjoying sedentary activity. The next day, you check your weight to see if there were any changes, and are surprised that the number hasn’t decreased. The rest of the day, you continue your regular routine. Except this time, you weigh yourself several times a day. Still, nothing is happening!

Why? Because you’ve done nothing to actually lose weight.

It’s going to take more than checking your stats obsessively to actually sell your books — and no, spamming your social media accounts won’t help.

So how can you stop the obsessive stats checking and use your energy to actually get readers find your books? Here are 12 things you can do now.

1. Make a vow to stop the stats obsession NOW.

The least you can do is to refrain from checking your stats more than once a day. If you’re not doing anything proactive to make that number move, it’s akin to checking your weight when you know you’re not eating well. It’s an ego boost or an ego deflater — nothing more, nothing less. By checking your stats repeatedly, you are placing your worth on your findings. But the honest to goodness truth is, you’re worth more than whatever those stats will tell you. So just stop, okay?

2. Limit the mentions of your book on social media.

The reason to have social media is to be social with others. But if you’re constantly shouting about your book, no one is going to want to interact with you. Think about it as if it were a dinner party. The people who are the most fun to talk with are those who shine the spotlight on everyone around them. They are the people who make others feel good about themselves, who ask questions, who are genuinely interested in what others have to say. But those who can’t stop talking about themselves? They are the ones everyone avoids. Be the first guy. You can mention your book now and then. But focus more on drawing people in by putting the spotlight on others, sharing something that makes people feel good, and shedding light on who YOU are instead of what you wrote. Need an example? Go to the pages of your favorite authors and see what they’re doing to draw people in.

3. Create a website.

It doesn’t even need to be anything fancy. I prefer WordPress, but there are many different platforms where you can create a website, even for free! Your website should have information about you, your books or articles and where to find them, how to contact you, and links to your social media.

4. Start blogging!

First off, if you blog regularly on your website, it helps you with your SEO rankings because there’s more movement on your website, and because there are more topics on your site to search. It also gives people a reason to keep visiting your website (where all your book links are!). Blogging gives potential readers a glimpse at your writing style. It allows you to shed light on a topic you’re passionate about. It’s another form of connecting with others. It helps people to get to know you, and entice them to want to read the books you have for sale. Need ideas on what to blog about? Here are 50 ideas.

5. Start a newsletter.

The best way to reach readers is directly to their inbox. Social media and blog posts work, but kind of in the same way as posting an ad on a billboard. However, emailing a reader is like knocking on their door. It’s more personal. What can you include in your newsletter? I’ve posted blog posts, or excerpts from the last several blog posts. I’ve shared book news and events. I’ve offered a tip of the week. The topics are endless. How often should you send out a newsletter? That’s up to you. I suggest not sending out more than one a week so you don’t overwhelm people’s inboxes or make them feel like you’re spamming them. And I suggest sending at least one newsletter a month so that people don’t forget about you. The ideal method is to send newsletters on a schedule, like every other Thursday or on the second Tuesday of each month. Need some inspiration? Join my newsletter here.

6. Reach readers through their ears.

Consider starting a podcast, or a video series on YouTube. These don’t have to be complicated at all, and they offer you something else to share on your website or social media to help potential readers become more interested in you. This blog post offers a few great pointers on vlogging, aka video blogging.

7. Team up with other authors.

Many hands make light work, especially in the way of marketing. If you want news about your book to spread, enlist the help of other writers. In exchange, share news about their book to your readers. Another benefit of teaming up with other writers is that you can help each other with otherwise-costly book services, like book formatting, proofreading, etc.

8. Offer your services on the things you know how to do.

This is how my passion project North Coast Stories came about. I am a writer at heart, but I also love editing and book formatting. Because of this, I’ve been able to provide this as a low cost service or trade opportunity to other authors, which has also helped my networking efforts. If you are an expert in a certain area of book writing or publishing, share the wealth with others. After all, Karma goes a long way.

9. Add a link that leads to your website, newsletter, or books to your email signature.

Every time you send an email, the recipient will automatically learn about your books.

10. Let someone else market your books for you

Specifically other company’s email lists. Author Marketing Club has a great list of websites where you can enter your book when it’s free or discounted, and they will email potential readers about it. It takes a little bit of time to enter them all, but it’s well worth it. Access this list here, and then scroll to the bottom of the page.

11. Do just one thing at a time.

This is serious. Know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you don’t have to do everything at once. First off, that’s overwhelming. Second, if you try to wrap your mind around too many marketing ideas, you’ll most likely end up doing nothing. However, doing one thing at a time will offer you baby steps forward to real results. So make a list of all the things you’d like to do to spread news about your book, and then vow to do one thing every day. Even the smallest steps will move you in the right direction.

12. Need more ideas?

Here are 119 of them from Bookbub.

Whether your book does well or not ultimately depends on the energy you’re spending toward its potential success. Checking your book stats obsessively won’t help you sell more books, but if you focus you’re energy on methods to get your books in more readers’ hands, you’ll experience more satisfaction than any silly graph of sales numbers will ever give you.

I don’t just write articles for Medium, I also write novels. My latest novel is Numbered, a dystopian romance set in 2050.

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, website at crissilangwell.com.

I’m all over the place, but I try to be honest in all of it. Find my books and musings at crissilangwell.com.

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