Who’s Out There Reading?

I’ve been told that one of the things new authors tend to do is obsess over ratings and reviews. Because I’d had a lot of experience with Young Adult (YA) titles before breaking into the adult trade book market, I’d gotten over a lot of that. I can laugh off the occasional cranky review, and don’t expect to see the whole world talking about my book. My YA contracts were “work for hire,” so I didn’t even have to concern myself about sales after publication. Freelance writing is different, though, and it’s hard not to care at least a little about how the public is responding.

I’ve learned that Amazon rankings usually give a sense only for whether the book is selling almost no copies, selling a few, or selling a little better than that. The rankings fluctuate widely with the purchase (or lack of it) of only a few copies, and a book has to be in the top several hundred to be filling up the trucks leaving the warehouses. I’ve learned that the proliferation of websites devoted to reader reviews means that I will probably never see the majority of published comments about my work.

For a new writer of mainstream books such as UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH and THE FOUR SEASONS, it’s important to remember that sales are a significant marker of success, but not the only one. Libraries, used book stores, and book-sharing networks are all means by which authors develop a reputation that will carry over into the next book, so it’s impossible to know how much impact the sale of an individual copy is having.

That’s why the statistical data for this website have been so interesting to me. Yesterday, for example, there were more than eighty visits to the home page. All those people had somehow become aware of my work as an author and were interested enough to track my website down. Some clearly have come more than once, since over the course of each month, approximately eight hundred unique visitors make around two thousand visits total. What do they do when they get to the home page? Almost all look at the diary and scroll through the photos. Dynamic pages–the ones that get frequent updates–are by far the most popular.

So what does this tell me? People are showing interest in my work, and that’s very good news indeed. Thanks for coming to my website, for loving books, and for supporting authors.