Sunday, October 23, 2011

A New Transparency in Sales Reporting

If you’re a writer who sells books through any of Amazon’s.sites, I’m guessing that you take a look at your sales stats from time to time. Okay, who am I kidding? Most writers take a daily look, and I know some who track their sales hourly, especially if they’re selling ebooks. While hourly checks are far too much for me, I do appreciate the option. Traditional publishers haven’t done this for writers in the past. In fact, authors really have no idea how their sales are going until they receive their bi-annual royalty check and statement.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, however, three large publishers are moving into the twenty-first century, by creating portals which allow their authors to view sales stats more often. The portal just created by Simon & Schuster, for example, lets authors and illustrators view not only the number of sales but where they came from and in which platform. This new transparency is a great thing not only because authors are better informed, but because it could help the author identify which marketing effort works best. For example, do radio interviews generate a spike in sales? Ads? Book tours? Blog tours? Of course, as Amazon junkies know, this new transparency will likely make some authors obsessive about tracking sales.

Random House and the Hatchette Book Group will also be creating portrals and expect to have them up and running in 2012. Interestingly, the president and chief executive at Simon & Schuster stated that this plan was not in response to anything Amazon’s doing, but rather to better serve their writers who are always requesting this information. Whatever the reason, it sounds like a good idea to me. You can read more at

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK,, now out on paperback at

1 comment:

Catherine Astolfo said...

Thanks for this info, Debra. I too appreciate the transparency.