So I've made the decision to stop checking rankings and sales and reviews of my books.
I'd gotten pretty obsessive over it, checking multiple times throughout the day.
I'm not sorry I was doing that. I learned some things. Mostly I learned a negative, that is, sales didn't happen because of how many times I mentioned or highlighted my books, or how often a publisher did something, or even how many reviews I got. Books with 10 reviews sell as well as books with 35 reviews.
As long as the news was mostly positive -- as long as I was selling some books every day and the reviews were all positive -- I don't think checking hurt me.
But the downside is so much bigger than the upside, that I've decided to quit while I'm ahead, with the understanding that not paying attention can't hurt my sales. I mean, I'll still pay attention to my blog and Facebook and my publishers' sites and emails. Just not the rankings and reviews.
It had gotten to the point where sales and good reviews were expected and where no longer getting much more of a reaction than, "that's cool..."
Whereas, when I got only my 3rd 3 star review, it felt really harsh. I mean, what would happen with a 1 or 2 star review, which I think is inevitable?
So the upside benefits of checking were fading and the downside was increasing.
For instance, most of the criticisms of Tuskers were that it wasn't "believable." Well, if they didn't find book I believable, they sure as hell won't find book II believable, because I pretty much up the far out aspects of the story. That doesn't bother me -- it seems perfectly right. But I can almost see what the reaction is going to be.
Anyway, I look fondly back on the days when all I did was write and had nothing to do with the outside world. I have a perfect opportunity to do that again, because the next year is pretty much settled. The Tuskers books have a home, the Golem book is ready to be sent to find a home, and I'm assuming that if I write a third Virginia Reed adventure, it will find a home. So...I can turn my back on all the marketing stuff and just write.
I'll have to fight the impulse to check for the next 3 or 4 weeks, until it becomes a habit. Just concentrate on doing the work. Making the books as good as I can. Nothing but that.
I'm looking forward to descending into my little make believe world again. Incubating my daydreams.
5 days ago