A Numbers Game

Apparently EVERYBODY looks at Amazon Sales Numbers … and yet, until three weeks ago I had – somehow – managed to wander through life without ever having heard of them. What ignorance! And how times have changed.

My (traditionally) published brother-in-law, Gregory Murphy, opened my eyes to this magic figure and since then I’ve been following UMA & IMP’s Number with the fervour of a WAG hunting down Hermes’ newest handbag.

Officially called the Amazon Bestseller Rank, the Amazon Number is basically an indicator of how well a book is selling (through Amazon). The lower a number, the more people are buying a book. Writer nirvana is to reach the top 100 …

UMA & IMP’s post-launch Number was incredibly (strangely) high. At one point the book was ranking around 7,500 though that was just for a fleeting moment. The low was around 325,000 and at the moment the book is trolling around 260,000.

But who cares? At least (sorry Greg) that was my thought when I first heard about all this.

But care … because it can matter.

Two weeks post launch I applied for inclusion on a register of authors available for school visits … and was rejected … not for being self-published (as I’d expected) but because my Numbers were too low … grrrr, gnash …

Up until that point, I’d been very happy that most of my book sales had come through either the ImpPrint Books website or direct. Suddenly I was wondering whether it might have been better to encourage everyone to buy through Amazon – even though the revenue margins are, of course, way lower. This storm of madness passed. If someone’s getting the book I’m (more than) happy, regardless of how it’s bought.

And then I realised something else … nobody really understands HOW the Numbers are set. Well, ok, someone must know, but not anyone I’ve spoken to. One sale can bump UMA & IMP’s number from over 200k to 50k but yesterday, randomly, 16 copies sold through Amazon and the Number hardly moved AT ALL.

Ah well. I’ve never been a numbers person, so no change there!

So, apart from number-tracking, this week I have also:

– Got some independent book reviews following the Goodreads giveaway. Two 5* raves and one 3*.

– Had a meeting with my daughter’s school and been signed up as their Writer-in-Residence (unpaid but will give me experience and confidence to approach other schools for paid work).

– Had a moment of publicity glory in my local newspaper

– Had a meeting with a local charity about doing a workshop for local kids. They found me through the newspaper article, so that worked!

– Visited an independent bookshop and was told a gentle ‘no’, though the owner said UMA & IMP’s production quality is very high, so that was good.

– Written to a few more local papers and magazines to see if I can get more print exposure.

– Signed up to do a couple of readings at a Santa’s Grotto for a high end London private members’ club. Not sure how many books will sell, but it’s all worth a go.

– Sold a surprising 30 books. I’m thinking the 16 that went yesterday must be one of my more flush friends getting books for every child they know – ?

Although that sounds like a lot of stuff done, my impression is that I’ve sent out less arrows this last week. Maybe it’s just in the last few days. Still, I’ve got a few book signings/sales coming up now ahead of Christmas so hopefully will shift some copies that way too. The first is tonight – wish me luck!

Thank you for reading,



4 thoughts on “A Numbers Game

  1. Well done. I check my download numbers daily. Have you thought about writing to Writers’ News about your new indie author journey? I’ve been in there a few times, in the readers’ section.

  2. Pingback: Ten-Minute Blog Break – 2nd December | Words & Pictures

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