|"The Cradle" - Henry Sandham|
And whether at work, at conferences, reading social media blogs, or having conversations with other people in a similar role as mine, there are two acronyms I hear again and again:
- ROI (Return On Investment), meaning, is the time/money/effort behind what you're doing worth it? What's your bang for your buck?
- KPI's (Key Performance Indicators). How are you measuring success, and how are you doing?
Here's the thing when you're an author trying to figure out the best way to self-promote: I have very little idea what is working.
As a traditionally published author I basically have two numbers I can look at: the Amazon sales ranks for the hardcover and Kindle editions, and my Bookscan number of copies sold (as provided by Amazon).
The Amazon number is fickle and clearly only reflects a portion of my sales. Bookscan also only captures a portion, usually estimated to be 70% of sales, and that percentage varies from title to title.
Here's what I don't know as an author, or at least don't know particularly accurately:
- At which outlets are my sales taking place? Is it doing better at B&N? At indies? Online?
- What effect are my promotional campaigns having? And where should I focus my attention?
- Who is buying my book? Mostly blog readers? Other people? What's my reach?
- What do the numbers suggest I should be doing more of?
Not knowing is no way to be. I would love to calibrate my approach and tell you precisely what is working and not working. I just don't have the data.