Wednesday, June 22, 2016

There’s Always More to the Story

Last week, I explained to you what my rankings are and how they worked. I mentioned that I constantly check them like a junkie looking for a fix, but I don’t think you realize how bad it is. There are times when it’s automatic. When I’m not even thinking about it and I find myself on Amazon. I just shrug it off like it’s no big deal.

But I think it’s a real problem.

I’m going to be honest: I get bummed out when I check my numbers and see they’re on the rise. It breaks my heart a little bit when I fall out of the top 100. I expect it, sure, but it still has an impact. And it shouldn’t. Because if I think about it, they’re only numbers. They only tell part of the story.

Sure, it tells the part about sales and reads. Which can be important when figuring out royalties and that readers are actually reading my work. But these numbers don’t show what kind of impact the book had on the readers—whether good or bad. Reviews can do that, but not all readers review books. That doesn’t mean they didn’t like them, they just don’t write about it online.

And Amazon isn’t always the best place for reviews anyway. Especially since they took to policing comments and taking down those that may or may not come from someone an author knows. Goodreads is probably a better place to find reviews, but I’m terrible about getting on there. I really need to make an effort to get better about visiting.

The rankings numbers don’t show the messages I get from fans about how much they enjoyed the work or how worried they are about me when I go through a tough time. It’s amazing how much support I get. Some days, it absolutely blows my mind. It’s the best in the world, and I’m thankful for the love.

The numbers definitely have their place in the larger picture, but I put a lot of stock in them. There are days when they are the only thing that matters and if they’re high, something must be wrong. I have to remind myself that while this can be an important indicator of success, it’s not the only one.

When it comes down to it, it really all depends on what I want out of my writing and how I measure my success. I can be excited about low numbers, and I can be bummed out when they start to rise. But I must always remember that there’s more to the story. I have to realize that no matter if the numbers are high or low, they don’t—and shouldn’t—define me as a writer.

I’m working on cutting down how much I check my rankings. I feel like if I spent as much time working on a new story as I look at those numbers, I could be half down by now.

Still, I owe all of you readers and fans a big thank you for all that you do for me. As I always say, you’re the reason I write. Without you, what’s the point?