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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: CJAnderson on February 18, 2015, 01:22:20 AM

Title: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: CJAnderson on February 18, 2015, 01:22:20 AM
I found this on the kboards:

"I remember thinking I'd never see 100 reviews on any of my books. It took over two years for one of my books to get that many reviews.

Now I've got over 100 1-star reviews on a single novel!

And I now get more returns every single day than I used to see in sales per day.

The best thing I ever did for my writing, my sanity, my free time, my relationship, was to stop looking at my KDP dashboard. And I didn't stop doing this once I was making tons of money. I stopped when I realized I was wasting time with something that had zero positive impact on my career. If anything, it was having a negative impact. Seeing good numbers go up made for a slightly happier day, but seeing those numbers go down made for a very sad day. The little ups aren't worth the big downs. Check your statement at the end of the month. That's my suggestion."  - Hugh Howey
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: loriann on February 18, 2015, 01:30:07 AM
I love this. And how timely for me. I made a decision to stop checking last weekend. Thanks for posting!
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Lydniz on February 18, 2015, 01:36:36 AM
I can't stop checking until mid-March. That will be my 2-year self-publishing anniversary and I'm also heading towards an important sales milestone. It's going to be a close thing but I'm hoping to squeak past the milestone before that date. ;D
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Alex D on February 18, 2015, 01:45:51 AM
That's so nice to read, thank you for posting!!
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Patty Jansen on February 18, 2015, 01:46:11 AM
Everyone for themselves of course, but I wouldn't dream of stopping to check. I'd like to keep tabs on how promos are going and whether I'll bother going back to whatever site for another ad.

Check once a day if you feel the need to restrict yourself.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: EC on February 18, 2015, 02:00:48 AM
It's the reviews - I wish I could find a way to check on book rank without seeing the reviews.  Not being contradictory - I appreciate the reviews, even the bad one's that critique - I would rather sit down once every couple of months and read/learn from them.

And I do learn from them - I just don't want to know every day. As for the financial stuff - I couldn't care less. It's only pocket money, it's great having a hobby that brings in thousands a month.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: PaulineMRoss on February 18, 2015, 02:46:56 AM
It's the reviews - I wish I could find a way to check on book rank without seeing the reviews.

You could try EBook Tracker. http://tracker.kindlenationdaily.com/index  (http://tracker.kindlenationdaily.com/index) It's US-only, but you can watch the sales ranks of your own and everyone else's books.  :P There are links to the Amazon book page, but you don't have to go there. It just shows the number of reviews (and out of date, at that). Or for all Amazon sites, there's NovelRank.

Quote
As for the financial stuff - I couldn't care less. It's only pocket money, it's great having a hobby that brings in thousands a month.

{Sigh} That must be lovely...
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Matthew Stott on February 18, 2015, 03:03:26 AM
It's the reviews - I wish I could find a way to check on book rank without seeing the reviews.  Not being contradictory - I appreciate the reviews, even the bad one's that critique - I would rather sit down once every couple of months and read/learn from them.

And I do learn from them - I just don't want to know every day. As for the financial stuff - I couldn't care less. It's only pocket money, it's great having a hobby that brings in thousands a month.
Thousands is pocket money?! Holy moly! :)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Marilyn Peake on February 18, 2015, 03:50:14 AM
Great advice! I find the less I check my KDP dashboard, the more I concentrate on writing.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: stevenremington on February 18, 2015, 04:28:18 AM
Definitely sound advice. Maybe I could put that into practice some day  :P

Actually when I am writing, I tend to block out the world and I realized once that a week had gone by before I checked in to the KDP dashboard. It felt good. It's like walking over to your TV, powering it off, and then reaching down and unplugging the thing. At first your like hmmm, that was such a crazy move haha, but then after a few days you begin to realize you can actually think clearer without the thing yappin' at ya.

I like getting advice from those who have had success stories. It's uplifting!
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Adrian Howell on February 18, 2015, 04:38:19 AM
Everyone for themselves of course, but I wouldn't dream of stopping to check. I'd like to keep tabs on how promos are going and whether I'll bother going back to whatever site for another ad.

Check once a day if you feel the need to restrict yourself.

Same here. Especially for a permafree, I need to know how many downloads I'm getting, and how many days to the sales spike. I rarely check more than three times a day, though, even during a promo, and usually just once at the end of each day.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: WasAnn on February 18, 2015, 05:26:34 AM
New releases and ad results are my downfall when it comes to checking KDP. I wish I could stop checking it!
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: N. Gemini Sasson on February 18, 2015, 05:29:46 AM
Great advice! I find the less I check my KDP dashboard, the more I concentrate on writing.

Yes, this. My husband records my daily numbers. I don't look unless I have a new release or a promo going on, in which case the numbers are usually good. But in between? No. If they're not good all it does is get me anxious or bummed.

I've been so much more productive since I stopped checking every day. More importantly, I enjoy writing more, which makes my writing better and the process of writing so much more enjoyable. When you love what you're doing, that's a richness to your life that can't be achieved by racking up sales numbers.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Deb Hanrahan on February 18, 2015, 05:35:15 AM
I've checked my dashboard every day since May 2011. But, I quit this past Sunday. I do feel better and more motivated.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Amity Lassiter on February 18, 2015, 06:12:47 AM
I saw where this was originally posted and it's been in the back of my mind ever since. Granted, it hasn't, so far, been able to stop me from checking multiple times per day but I hope to wean myself off it at some point.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Chris Fox on February 18, 2015, 06:22:21 AM
It's taken me four months to get to the point where I only check three times a day. Before that I was refreshing while standing in the grocery line, when I woke up, before bed, during meals and any other time the urge struck.

I think taking a longer view is hard, but Hugh's words are inspirational. It doesn't really matter how your sales do on any given day, much less a few hour period. It really matters how they do long term, and that you don't need to check nearly as often.

Thanks for posting, CJ =)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Daniel Dennis on February 18, 2015, 07:16:31 AM
It took about a year to adopt something along this way of thinking. My first book has sporadic bursts of sales that I can't explain. My second book hasn't seen more than a couple total. It got to the point where the first sale I made was a great day and the days that followed made me want to quit since it didn't feel like it was paying off. I try to only check it once a week otherwise it kills my motivation.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: CJAnderson on February 18, 2015, 07:22:03 AM
Hugh has always been an inspiration. Top-notch guy  8)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: cinisajoy on February 18, 2015, 07:23:29 AM
Hugh is a delightful and wonderful person.  I loved that post from  him.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: dianapersaud on February 18, 2015, 07:34:13 AM
Thousands is pocket money?! Holy moly! :)

I wish I had those pockets!!! :)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: sela on February 18, 2015, 07:35:37 AM
I love Hugh and think he is an inspiration but it really does depend on where you are.

When I released my first series, my sales were so low that I only checked a couple of times a week and would celebrate each sale. When I released the first book in my second series and it took off, I was so amazed that I checked my sales every two hours every day from dawn to midnight. I was obsessed and moved between elation and dejection, as I kept waiting for it all to come to a crashing halt. 4 books and 6 novellas later, my sales have maintained and I only check once a day unless I have a promo running. Then I check more frequently to try to understand rank and sales #s. It feels good not to check constantly, and while I would love to only check once a week, I don't think that's wise. I worked as an assistant office manager for a restaurant while putting myself through college and we did a daily check on sales so why shouldn't I? I'm a business. This is my only income and my bottom line matters to my family's well-being.

So as with every bit of advice, to each his or her own. :)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Jordan Rivet on February 18, 2015, 07:49:25 AM
Thank you for posting this, CJ. I usually only check once in the morning because most sales happen while I'm asleep in my time zone anyway. I've been checking more frequently lately and I think it's hurting my productivity. Nice to have a reminder!
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: CJAnderson on February 18, 2015, 09:53:27 AM
I think what Hugh is advising is don't become obsessed with it?
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: nico on February 18, 2015, 10:33:09 AM
Now he just checks everyone else's numbers via Author Earnings. :)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Jim Johnson on February 18, 2015, 11:06:53 AM
Now he just checks everyone else's numbers via Author Earnings. :)

A few times a year rather than daily. ;)
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Nancy Warren on February 18, 2015, 11:20:37 AM
I can't stop checking until mid-March. That will be my 2-year self-publishing anniversary and I'm also heading towards an important sales milestone. It's going to be a close thing but I'm hoping to squeak past the milestone before that date. ;D

Ooh, good luck Lydniz, I hope you hit your milestone and share. How exciting!

@Nico LOL.

Nancy
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Princess Charming on February 18, 2015, 11:58:55 AM
I've been writing for publication for five years and have developed these terrible habits:

1. Checking sales at three places
2. Checking Kboards
3. Checking FB
4. Checking DWS
5. Eating candy
6. Opening the door for the cat
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Jen Rasmussen on February 18, 2015, 12:13:30 PM
I've been writing for publication for five years and have developed these terrible habits:

1. Checking sales at three places
2. Checking Kboards
3. Checking FB
4. Checking DWS
5. Eating candy
6. Opening the door for the cat

Wait, what? We're not supposed to eat candy?

I may need to rethink this.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Mystery Maven on February 18, 2015, 12:36:45 PM
I have to disagree with Hugh. I don't have someone else to keep track for me, and I think it's very important to keep an eye on my business—both the dashboard and the reviews.

Recently I noticed several reviews stating they wished there was another book in my series out. There is another book, and I link to it at the end of the first book. Based on those reviews, I made that clearer and easier to see.

That's just one example. Didn't someone recently say her book went off sale with no notice? How would you catch that if you didn't check? Or a permafree going back to paid?

How would I know which ads were effective? Or spot an abnormal amount of returns?

It would be great to just focus on my writing, but I can't afford to be blind to my business, or even just check every month, few months, etc. Agility is our main advantage as indies! I have to know what's going on in order to be agile, to adapt.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: cinisajoy on February 18, 2015, 12:39:52 PM
I do believe he means don't obsess over the dashboard.    I have seen many authors do that.   
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Kay Bratt on February 18, 2015, 02:04:09 PM
Unless I have a new release, I only check my numbers once at the middle of the month, then once at the end before they disappear. I broke the 'check every day' habit a while back and it certainly does free up a lot of energy that comes from the ups and downs.

Use that time (if you need a filler) to study the market. Surf Amazon, GoodReads, the bookstore. Check out the best-selling books in your genre. If you don't have time to actually read the book, then read the blurbs. Study the covers. See what the reviews are saying about why readers liked or disliked the story. Research WHY is it a best-seller? I know we can't always find the formula but seeing what readers are buying is something that can impact your career in a positive way. 
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Patty Jansen on February 18, 2015, 02:18:13 PM
As far as I can see, a certain low level of obsession over the dashboard is OK. It's some people's obsession with rankings that does my head in. Rankings are all artificial and relative and unless you're in the top 25 of a really popular genre, matter squat. And if you're in the top 25 of a really popular genre, you're probably selling so much that you've given up checking a lot anyway.
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: CJAnderson on February 21, 2015, 11:36:56 AM
Another great (in my opinion) post by Hugh:

"The key to making it as a writer is to write a lot, write great stories, publish them yourself, spend more time writing, study the industry, act like a pro, network, be nice, invest in yourself and your craft, and be patient. If you can do all of these things, you’ll earn some money. Maybe enough to pay a bill every month. Maybe enough to get out of debt. Maybe enough to quit your job. Thousands of writers are doing this, and we are welcoming all comers with open arms."


Read the full article here http://www.hughhowey.com/my-advice-to-aspiring-authors/
Title: Re: Encouraging words from Hugh Howey
Post by: Lottie on February 21, 2015, 11:57:42 AM
This is great advice. I'm a total newbie, and I'm running a free promotion that's launched me into the top 100 for my genre. Because of this, I'm checking my reports every few minutes (even though it only seems to update every 10-15 as far as I can tell!), and it's taking me out of my writing. I'm a very fast writer, and if I don't have anything going on I can easily put out 6,000+ words in a day. But what do I keep doing? Checking my reports and rank. Over and over and over again.

My promotion will end after tonight. My rank will go back into paid, and I'll probably have abysmal sales when that happens. I'm at a high right now, but that's not going to last forever. I need to stop checking and focus on my writing. I wish I could get out of this mindset, but I'm not sure how. Maybe it just takes some time.