Is Tracking Rank, Ratings, and Reviews for All My Books Worth It?

In a nutshell, we believe it is worth tracking rank, ratings, and reviews. And here’s why…

The modern author wears many hats

No longer is an author just a great writer. Modern authors are writers, editors, cover designers, social media marketers… the list is endless. They are savvy entrepreneurs who manage their writing career as a business. Being a successful author these days means rigorously assessing where to spend your time and allocating it to those things that truly drive value. Words written. Books sold. Readers connected with.

So, if you are going to spend any of your precious time business building instead of writing, it better be worth it, right? You want to understand whether the time you spent writing that blog post helped new readers find your books. You want to figure out whether your guest appearance on that podcast helped increase the pre-order sales of your new book. You want to know how successful that release campaign was, how well that Facebook ad worked, what the sell through on a free ‘first-in-series’ looked like.

Successful marketing is as much about knowing what efforts had no effect at all as much as knowing what efforts helped grow your readership. So, how can you tell the difference?

Data, data, data……rank, ratings, and reviews.

Show me an author who didn’t constantly refresh their book on Amazon on release day!! Rank becomes a proxy for sales volume.

Ratings are a proxy for how well your book is being received. It’s the immediate first step of the reader to let you know what they thought of your book.

Reviews are the second step. Why did your readers rate the book the way they did? (Note: There are two schools of thought on reading reviews. Some authors don’t read any, some authors do. Do what works best for you). But having reviews, whether your read them or not, is crucial. Verified Purchaser reviews can help stoke algorithms. They become social proof that your book is worth reading, they can help make up a new reader’s mind to purchase. So, having them, and knowing how many you have can be highly beneficial.

However, once you’ve decided to track rank, ratings, and reviews, getting that information in a usable format, especially in a traditionally published world, is complex.

Data collection and analysis is hard

Retailers and publishers have lots of data on book sales but that information is slow to trickle down to the author. Especially in a traditionally published world, that data may only come twice a year in the form of total sales for the prior six-month period. Meanwhile, you are trying marketing effort after marketing effort with little data on how successful they have been.

Where data is available, it requires effort to manipulate it into anything meaningful. Data without the ability to extract insight is meaningless. It’s just numbers. So, you go from the world of Word to Excel (or equivalent!). Authors can work with Word like Miles Davis worked a trumpet. Working with Excel is a whole other ballgame.

In a perfect world, you’d be able see your rankings in real time, in one place, for all countries. You’d be able to graph the rankings so you could see on one chart what happens when you push hard on that Amazon ad, what impact the BookBub for a first in series had on sell through of the next three books, what happens the week after your appearance on a popular podcast or after a great review from a well-known blogger.

What if we told you that it existed?

Authicist makes it easy to track rankings, ratings and reviews*

Hopefully you are convinced that monitoring the rankings, ratings and reviews of your books is great way to grow your readership and give you more time to write. Here’s how Authicist can help.

We’ve got a mobile and desktop app that make it really easy to add the books you want to track

It takes one step to add a book to Authicist… one URL of the book from any Amazon page and we’ll find it on all global Amazon sites for you.

Once you’ve added a book, we monitor the rankings, ratings and reviews of your books while you’re busy writing. If you want to see the latest data, you can open up either the mobile or desktop app and check where your book is at. And for those release day jitters, there is a refresh button so you can click away and refresh to your hearts content.

*It is currently only available for Amazon rankings worldwide. It’s on our roadmap to add further retailers.

Oh! And wake up to a pleasant surprise!

Setting up an app to track your rankings, ratings and reviews means you’re notified when your book gains momentum. Perhaps you have a marketing plan in play, or perhaps it’s as simple as an influential blogger who takes a chance on the first book of series you wrote a few years ago, loves it, and posts about it. Unbeknownst to you, that series is gaining new readers like a snowball on a hill. Who wouldn’t love to wake up to a message telling you that one of your back catalogue favourites just jumped up 20,000 places on Amazon.

We want to make it easy for you to celebrate those moments of success and figure out the actions that drove them. We also want to help you shut down activities you’ve always believed you should do, but don’t actually yield anything at all. Because we want you to spend as much time as you can doing the thing you love to do best. Writing your books.

If you are ready to try Authicist and want a free one-book trial, please feel free to click here for more information.

Published by Tim Borden

Senior Software Engineer

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