Sunday, March 23, 2014

Amazon Author Central

So, as you may have heard (understatement, much?) MY FIRST NOVEL -- PRIMAL INSTINCT -- RELEASED THIS WEEK!! I've had friends send me pictures from stores all over the country: Georgia, Texas, California. I even have friends in Europe and Australia who hope to see it on shelves when it releases there the first week of April.

And, just today, I got to see it for myself on the shelves. At Walmart, no less. :-)

It's been an exciting week, clouded only slightly by the fact that Primal Instinct's release was sandwiched between two deadlines for my next books: Book 2 of the Omega Sector Series was due March 17, and the first three chapters of Book 3 is due April 1. It's a busy time.

So... deadlines and promotions and excitement, and in the midst of it, a terrible, frightening discovery:

Amazon Author Central. 

Cue evil music: Dun. Dun. Dunnnnnnn.

I thought Facebook was the greatest time-sucking force in the universe. I was wrong, at least for authors.

Author Central is really a pretty cool tool, it allows authors to add promotional and biographical info readers might want. I was able to add a quote from the wonderful Romantic Times review for Primal Instinct, as well as some other professional reviews and info about myself. So anything you see on an Amazon page that says "Editorial Review" or "More About the Author" stems from what an author has put in from Author Central. (Here's mine - click then scrolled down below to below "product details")

Harlequin actually handles the other stuff that readers see on the amazon page: front cover, first chapter, back cover. The reader reviews I can see, but can't do anything about them.

All this was great, until I discovered that I could see my "Author Rank" (where I stood in terms of all authors on Amazon).

Or, where Primal Instinct ranked in terms of romantic suspense suspense books:

Or where it stood in terms of all the books sold in the Kindle Store. Here it's #7,029; the highest I've seen it was in the 6000s.

Now, #7029 out of over 1,000,000 books is not too shabby.  I was thrilled. But then I realized this number was updated every hour.

Every hour I had a new rank in Amazon. Every. Hour.

Can you see where I'm going with this? Cue evil music again.

It didn't take long before I had to cut myself off cold turkey. It's easy to "just check" every time you sit down at the computer. Only takes 5-10 minutes. But I quickly figured out that 5-10 minutes lost each hour leads to 1-2 hours of lost productivity per day.

As someone so eloquently put it: Ain't nobody got time for that.

Plus, there's nothing I can do about it, really. I have already forced all my poor family and friends to buy my book. I've promoted it on social media and different blog tours.

I'm a new author. Primal Instinct is my first book, and a category romance besides. I'm not holding my breath for a NY Times or USA Today bestseller status any time soon. But maybe some day.

Until then I'll take the advice that bestselling author B.J. Daniels gave me: The best promotion an author can do is to keep writing good books that people want to read.

And stay off Amazon's Author Central.

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