Don’t Believe the Hype

As an author, especially a self-published author, it’s easy to get caught up on numbers: sales ranks. Bestseller list position. Royalty amounts. Social media followers. Likes/retweets/Pins/shares. Trying to gauge these things will make you crazy, especially when you realize that the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Luvvie Ajayi, popular blogger, recently discussed the trend of bloggers purchasing followers, site traffic, and the like. She spoke of the need for bloggers  and other content creators to pay attention to the numbers in a different way: pull the curtain back and see if those numbers are real.

This is a problem I’ve run into when feeling out potential social media managers for myself. The ones I’ve encountered all all abut numbers, numbers, numbers. While there is some validity in that sentiment with regard to visibility, it’s not a one-size-fit-all approach. My writing really is geared toward a target demographic, which in itself is rather small. Because of that, I don’t expect huge sales numbers (but I am willing to be pleasantly surprised!). I know who likes my books, and who reads my books. Expanding that circle may net me a few more readers, but if the net is being cast across the waters of an audience that doesn’t really care–and therefore, won’t engage–that energy is not spent well.

For writers, those of us who sell books, it’s a bit different. Unless you are a big name (e.g., Stephen King, Terry McMillan, Nora Roberts, Eric Jerome Dickey, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) and/or on a major publishing platform, we don’t usually see the types of numbers provided bloggers–in terms of sales, that is. Not understanding this leads to a lot of unnecessary angst.

 

One of my old bosses once told me, “If you want a good review, write a good book.”  Likewise, if you provide quality content, the “numbers” won’t matter because your loyal following will keep you afloat. So what if you don’t reach #1 on the Amazon Sales Rank? It’s better to have only a few hundred, or thousand, people buy EACH of your books, than tens of thousands on ONE book and nada on the rest.

So chill with the numbers game. Sit back, take a deep breath, and write what brings you joy. A Twitter follower of Charles M. Blow (author of Fire Shut Up In My Bones), said it best:

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

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