by Kelly Carey
An accurate way to track the sales of your book are through royalty statements. But those statements often come only twice a year, and you might be itching to see how your book baby is doing much more frequently than that. There are few unscientific ways to take a little peek at how your book is doing out in the world of readers. Here are a few I check daily - I mean occasionally.
Warning: You need to assess your mood before you search through any of these sites. If an unkind comment from a reviewer will have you in a hedgehog-ball on the couch, best to wait for your royalty statement. But if you’ve tested your skin for the day and found it acceptably thick, dive in!
Yes, we all disparage the big online giant and prefer the indie bookstore down the street, but since Amazon exists, we might as well use it to see how our book is fairing. There are a few indicators on Amazon that you can peruse. Peek at the book’s star rating and overall number of ratings at the top of the listing, then scroll down and read any reviews. It can be fun to keep track of how many readers have left reviews. But, please, read the good reviews multiple times and never read the unfavorable or unkind comments. You can only care about the folks who loved your book!
At the bottom of your book’s Amazon listing under the header Product Details you can see your book’s Best Seller Ranking and where it ranks in the categories Amazon has assigned to it. If your book hits a top tier of these rankings, it can earn a special orange banner.
Finally, I always get happy when a notice pops up from Amazon saying something along the lines of “Only 8 in stock (more on the way).” I love knowing that more copies are being ordered and on their way to the Amazon warehouse.
Like Amazon, Goodreads uses a reader collected rating system that not only shows you an overall rating out of 5 but allows you to view details of how each reviewer rated the book. You can also find detailed reviews here.
Along the right side of your book’s Goodreads page, you can also see what other books your readers are enjoying and you can peek at the bookshelves readers have selected for your book. It’s especially fun when you find that your discerning readers are also enjoying books that you esteem.
Barnes & Noble
Much like Goodreads and Amazon, Barnes & Noble allows folks to rate and review books on their website. As a result, you can visit your book’s page on Barnes & Noble and see its overall rating as well as view and read individual reviews from readers.
Edelweiss+ is an online platform used by booksellers and librarians to get information to help them sell, discover, and order new titles. You can sign up for a free account and check out your book’s entry. You will see reviews from booksellers, librarians and fellow authors and you can also peek at comp titles, reviews, and recommended marketing plans. Your bio and website should be listed here. It’s a good idea to make sure the information here is accurate. If you notice any issues, contact your publisher.
WorldCat is a global catalog and search engine for library items around the world. You can visit www.WorldCat.org and go to your book’s page. On this page you can view all the different libraries that have a copy of your book in their collection. It's like playing an author version of Flat Stanley when you get to see all the places your book has traveled. You might be tickled to see that patrons in places like Hot Springs, Arkansas, or Anchorage, Alaska and Chicago, Illinois can all find your book on their library shelves. WorldCat also provides the Goodreads reviews of your book.
This is my favorite. I log into my local library’s online catalog. This allows me to see all the local libraries that have my book on their shelves and more importantly, I can see if my book is currently checked out. There is a wonderful thrill when you see that your book has been checked out of a library a few towns over and you wonder if a little reader chose it for their bedtime story last night. Or maybe, they are sitting on the couch right now enjoying your words.
You wrote your book to be read. Take a peek at a few of these places and take heart in knowing that readers near and far are indeed enjoying your work.
Then open a fresh page and get going writing the next one!
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