I feel like it’s the job of every high school math teacher to drone on about how no matter a student’s desired profession, they’ll need math, and it’s the job of every right-brained student, myself included, to believe that teacher is lying through their teeth. Years later, I found out that marketing is intertwined with so much math, I had to take seven courses steeped in numbers before they would give me my diploma.
In the case of book marketing, in particular for self-published authors, being able to analyze your own sales figures is one thing (how is book two selling compared to book one, how much profit is left after marketing), and I expect that a lot of authors stop there, but the next step, should you wish to embark on it, is finding industry trend data (author, publisher, or bookseller surveys; rankings; annual reports; reports on trends; anecdotal discussions, etc.) and knowing when to adjust your marketing strategy (price point, advertising, grassroots tactics, etc.) if you’re falling short of either those standards or your own targets.
And if the exact data you’re looking for doesn’t exist or is cost-prohibitive to acquire, the next best option is to search for parallel data and find a way to work with it: compare number of reviews received, compare search engine keyword rankings, search for any way to compare your numbers to that of other authors. Maybe you have author friends who would be willing to swap over-the-shoulder peeks at KDP dashboard graphs, for example.
There’s also the fact that every author is a business, and we need to have some basic grasp of financial accounting, even if we outsource our income tax work. We need to be able to decide on and balance a marketing budget, for one.
And the numbers go on! Google Analytics (the Google service that tracks data for your website), can be a walk through muck on a stormy night with hawks trying to pick you up by the hair, but their free option has lots of useful numbers.
In percentages, views, and clicks, most of the big social media sites provide a certain amount of free analysis of your efforts. Want more? There are ways to pay for it, whether directly through the social media site, or through intermediary service providers.
E-newsletter delivery services also have those fancy dashboards that show your performance, in numbers. Dashboards are a book marketer’s friends.
Attendance and sales at book tour events, ratio of blog reviewers solicited to yeses, ratio of hours spent writing to hours spent marketing, the list of numbers authors can concern themselves with goes on infinity.
I wrote this post for the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To continue hopping or to join the hop, click here. (There are more than 200 of us, and it’s fun!)
Whether in the pre- or post-publishing phase of your career, what kinds of numbers do you pay attention to? Do you think the service providers noted above provide you with enough data, or is there something else you would like access to? Please share in the comments.