Monday, December 21, 2009

Tracking sales on Amazon - more alternatives and methods to gather and interpret data on Amazon sales rankings

In an earlier post I commented on one of the positive features of using CreateSpace, the fact that by logging in on your Member Dashboard you are able to get reasonably up to the hour figures on sales for each title you have published with CreateSpace.

Besides just wanting to know how many books you have sold, for self-publishing authors who must market their own books, being able to track fluctuations in sales and then be able to match that data with marketing efforts is important, particularly over an extended period of time.  Simply watching the sales rank of  your book(s) go up and down on Amazon is not really helpful and if you are like me, setting up some type of reasonably accurate method of determining what Amazon's numbers mean in real sales requires more math skills than I possess.

There are fortunately individuals who do have the math skills, the time and the motivation to share their methodology with us through the internet.  I have already mentioned RankTracer.com which charges a minimal fee for their service but does give you a two month free trial.  This site tracks sales based on Amazon's numbers and among its features you can ask for reports for a single day, a week, a month or for the duration of the time you have been tracking the book with RankTracer.  It has other features that I have not yet investigated and may be more than what I need at the moment.

Titlez.com is another service accessible on the internet.  At the moment Titlez does not charge for its service but it states that its software is still underdevelopment and when the bugs are all worked out it will probably become a fee based service. Until then, the service is free to use.  This site does not estimate sales but rather tracks Amazon sales rankings.  After creating an account you are able to select books and track their rankings.  Titlez keeps data on a books best Amazon ranking, worst ranking, current ranking and the books ranking over a 7-day, 30-day and 90-day period.  You can track books that are not your own, allowing you to compare your own titles against other popular competing titles which I find useful and interesting.

A visitor to this blog was kind enough to tip me off to another site and it is also worth investigating for those of you who want to track Amazon sales rankings. This site is MetricJunkie.com.  You simply create an account and enter books you want to track and save them to your collection.  I have just started tracking a couple of my books with this service and will provide more information about it as I learn more by using it.  Thanks to Mark, the gentleman who shared the existence of this site with me.

Aaron Shepard, author of Aiming at Amazon, has his own sales ranking site and it is simple to use.  You simply enter the required information and hit enter and you will get your recent sales ranking.  His site is called salesrankexpress.com and is free to use.

For those of you who are interested in the math involved in this process you simply have to visit Morris Rosenthal's site and blog.  One of his blog posts is about interpreting Amazon sales rankings and how to estimate sales based on data collected over a period of time.  To find the blog post, go to fonerbooks.com and click on the link to the Self-publishing Blog.  On the left hand side of the blog you will see the link to the archived post on interpreting Amazon sales rankings.

I hope this information is helpful and saves you some time, at least before you spend the time you saved constantly checking your Amazon rankings and trying to determine how many books you have sold!