In fact, you can’t count on numbers. I get a certain amount of amusement over indie authors who are so obsessive over their numbers, particularly on Amazon. How many sales per day, per week, per month. How many from this country or that. Which books are selling the best, and should this one go Select or that one go free. I suspect it’s the most obsessive people who are most thrilled when sales either take off, for no apparent reason, or most upset when they drop like a stone, again for no apparent reason.
But numbers are interesting, and I’m not entirely immune from paying attention to them, and wondering what’s behind them. As I’ve said before, I don’t do much in the way of promotion, so if my sales numbers trail off, I just figure that’s the price I pay. What’s more interesting than the numbers, though, is the patterns, and watching to see if what seems to be a pattern is just a random perturbation of the universe, or whether there’s really something there.
I’m noticing what seems to be a pattern, but may just be the result of random perturbations. Smashwords pretty much died for me, so that’s when I started selling on Amazon. The SW drought continued, while Amazon just got better and better. Recently, Amazon tanked, more or less, a phenomenon that other writers were also experiencing and chalking up to various outside forces such as the runup to the presidential election.
November continues with lousy numbers on Amazon, with a grand total of five sales in the first 18 days. But Smashwords has suddenly come back from the dead (though it’s still pale and shaky) and given me six sales since the fifth of the month. And the oddest part of it is that two of those sales were for The Darkest Prison, which had sold zero copies in its first six months. Go figure.
So what does all that prove? That you can’t count on numbers, and it’s better for your sanity if you don’t try.
Other numbers that can give you fits if you pay too much attention to them: blog page views. A big spike can mean something important or it might mean nothing at all. If it’s followed by a few new subscribers, all well and good, but don’t count on it.
More numbers. I wiped my visible word count from the NaNo site, but discovered that the stats page still shows the daily counts. I’m still working on The New Serfdom when I’m in the mood, and have added a couple of thousand words. I’m thinking about updating the stats page just in case I get a sudden burst of ambition sometime before the 30th. It could happen. Or not.