When you self-publish, or probably even when you traditionally publish, you become obsessed with stats and sales ranking. You check Amazon every hour on the hour to see if your ranking changed. If it shot up, you celebrate. If it shot down, you become morose, like some kind of special author variety, rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. You cling to those screen shots of high numbers because, dude, you need PROOF THAT IT HAPPENED!
Needless to say this is a big time suck. And all the non-writer people in your life are totally like “Huh?”
I don’t know about you, but it TOTALLY interferes with my ability to write. My focus is totally outside my creative self, and it’s SO easy to get mired in a place where you measure your worth as a writer by this hour’s ranking.
I am happy to report that, for now, I’ve broken free of this habit. It’s not like I did it on purpose. When I started the $2.99 experiment, I was tracking pretty steadily to see how that impacted my ranking on FBS. And then I had to watch it on DE for comparative purposes. But…eh, it is what it is. Neither is a new release anymore. They aren’t FINISHED by any means, as there is always room to attract new readers, but the focus really has to be on producing something NEW.
I still log in every day to check my sales and update my spreadsheet, but mostly I’ve stopped looking at the rankings. Because right now, they don’t matter. I’m still making sales, albeit less than I was (really MUST get back on the marketing train), and it means I’m spending way more time with my head in THE STORY than in statistics. Which, considering I ripped out over 2k yesterday is a GOOD THING.
I think it’s a natural response when you have a new release to obsessively track it to see how well it’s doing. You want to know that the platform you’ve built, and the fanbase you’ve acquired is actually there supporting you. Whether this, that, or the other thing you’re doing for marketing and promo is effective. So when Red releases, when Riven releases, I’m sure I’ll hop back on that train for a while. But until Red is finished, I’m trying to do everything in my power to STAY FOCUSED. I’d love to get to a point where that’s the norm rather than the exception.
What about you? Are you ranking obsessed? What do you do to break yourself free?