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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see so many threads about sales figures, earnings, all these other things and I want to join in, but I always feel like doing so would somehow curse me or something. Just the other day, I saw a thread about sales numbers to get on a hot release list. I was on the list they were asking about, and two different times I went to answer, but then I thought, "Man, that looks so pompous." Then I thought, others talk about their numbers and not only is it interesting, it's helpful. So, in a way, I mostly just recognize I have this really illogical pseudo-karma thing going on in my head. I see those Bud Light commercials on TV during NFL games about how "it's only weird if it doesn't work" and I can't help going, "Yeah, exactly." Even now I am so tempted to delete this. I probably actually will, but, in case I don't, I'll leave this line in. So, am I the only one who holds my "cards close to the vest" out of admittedly lame (possibly not) superstition/karma sort of thinking, or are there more of you out there who keep quiet not wanting to "curse it," whatever "it" might be as defined by what you wouldn't want to lose?
 

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I very rarely discuss sales numbers and it took forever before I ever did any of those milestone posts, but then I decided that since my sales numbers are WAY below a lot of people's it wasn't really bragging.  :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dan C. Rinnert said:
You called karma "silly" right in the subject line. You're doomed. So doomed.
LOL, yeah, I thought about that belatedly too. I'm trying to straighten out my energy right now, explaining to the universe how I meant that.

JRTomlin said:
I very rarely discuss sales numbers and it took forever before I ever did any of those milestone posts, but then I decided that since my sales numbers are WAY below a lot of people's it wasn't really bragging. :D
I've peeked at your books a few times. You have a very respectable line of work, with very respectable ranks that have endured since I discovered KB 10 or so months ago.
 

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As far as karma:
When people do bad things to me, it does seem to come around and bite them in the arse (I've noticed.)

But since I believe in the principal of leaving any wrong done to me, in God's hands, (not my own, "Vengence is mine saith the Lord."), It's very freeing.

On that note, I do believe in sharing. Information is free and it's only valuable to those who take advantage of it and use it. When I'm busy helping others, I feel good. It raises your endorphine level. I recommend sharing.

You can't help if some people choose to look at it as bragging or your being pompous. That actually says something about them and the way they view the world. Others will take that information gladly, and use it to make their own plan. That again says something about how they view the world.

I, for one, am glad about all the generous (that's how I choose to view them) people who share what works and how well. I also admire those who have the courage to share when something doesn't go as planned. Both of these groups of generous writers have led me to make choices such as pulling some books out of select, setting one perma free, and exploring paperbacks and audio.
I doubt I would have done half these things if the people in the Writers' Cafe didn't share their results so freely. So thank you Writers' Cafe.
 

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Your actions (in terms of the kinds of things you're talking about), do not impact your sales.  If you don't want to post figures because you feel it is bragging, or because you feel your contribution is too small, that's understandable, but don't let superstition keep you from doing it.

Besides, it is all counteracted by wearing your light up Halloween socks and dancing otherwise naked around your backyard chanting "Hugh Howey" on a full moon.

Just sayin'.  ;D
 

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John Daulton said:
LOL, yeah, I thought about that belatedly too. I'm trying to straighten out my energy right now, explaining to the universe how I meant that.
I've peeked at your books a few times. You have a very respectable line of work, with very respectable ranks that have endured since I discovered KB 10 or so months ago.
Hope the universe believes you. ;)

Thanks. I've been lucky is all I can say. My sales have been steady for the past year, amazingly so, but I'm not in the least one of those top seller types, just a respectable mid-lister. You know how that is. :)

Now if I can juuust get this darn novel finished. I think the universe is conspiring against me finishing it. I'm not sure what horrible thing I did. *groan*
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
AndreSanThomas said:
Your actions (in terms of the kinds of things you're talking about), do not impact your sales. If you don't want to post figures because you feel it is bragging, or because you feel your contribution is too small, that's understandable, but don't let superstition keep you from doing it.

Besides, it is all counteracted by wearing your light up Halloween socks and dancing otherwise naked around your backyard chanting "Hugh Howey" on a full moon.

Just sayin'. ;D
Man, I knew that loin cloth was me not committing. I hope Hugh and the universe will forgive me for my timid modesty. I always stand in the way of my own karmic success. The next full moon I will commit, and I will make sure my Halloween socks are made of wool, not a cotton-poly blend. I was being cheap, and, again, I apologize.
 

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Nope.

#brevity

(Okay, long answer. Nope, I don't believe in anything such as karma or superstitions. But I don't classify thinking you might look pompous as one of those things. I agree with everyone else that sharing is caring, but only if you want to.)
 

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LisaGraceBooks said:
As far as karma:
When people do bad things to me, it does seem to come around and bite them in the arse (I've noticed.)

But since I believe in the principal of leaving any wrong done to me, in God's hands, (not my own, "Vengence is mine saith the Lord."), It's very freeing.

On that note, I do believe in sharing. Information is free and it's only valuable to those who take advantage of it and use it. When I'm busy helping others, I feel good. It raises your endorphine level. I recommend sharing.

You can't help if some people choose to look at it as bragging or your being pompous. That actually says something about them and the way they view the world. Others will take that information gladly, and use it to make their own plan. That again says something about how they view the world.

I, for one, am glad about all the generous (that's how I choose to view them) people who share what works and how well. I also admire those who have the courage to share when something doesn't go as planned. Both of these groups of generous writers have led me to make choices such as pulling some books out of select, setting one perma free, and exploring paperbacks and audio.
I doubt I would have done half these things if the people in the Writers' Cafe didn't share their results so freely. So thank you Writers' Cafe.
Nice post, Lisa.

It's tough to draw the line between knowing what's appropriate to share in order to provide examples, and tossing stuff out that could be seen as (or just is) bragging about sales etc. But I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for the numbers the people before me shared, so I try to err on the side of openness.

Also, glad to see your new release is kicking butt, John. I certainly saw a lot of your other book on the SF lists when I was stalking them nonstop early this year, so I'm glad to see that the necessary time to write such a long book didn't result in all your audience running off elsewhere in the meantime.
 

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The very real danger in posting numbers and being open is that some folk will try to undermine whatever success you may have achieved by leaving one-star reviews and/or downvoting your better reviews and upvoting your poorer ones. That's not karma or superstition working for or against you. That's spite.

I'm an open person. If you want to know what I paid for my house or how many sales I had last year, I'll tell you. If it's relevant information in a thread discussion, I'll share. The only way I can validate observations outside my own little closed world of sales is by comparing my results to others. There are some bits of information I'll hold close to my chest - not because of superstition but because I consider them business intelligence. These bits, however, are things that can't be easily deduced by a bit of simple detective work.

For instance, John, knowing about how many sales it takes to hit and maintain a rank, I could easily go to KND Tracker, suss out your daily ranks, come up with a number close to what you sold to hit that rank that day, add them all up, and have a result likely within 5-10% of the actual number. In that way, much of the data we disclose (or don't disclose) here is public knowledge anyway. That makes your (generic your) choice of whether to disclose or not more about whether you want to help someone who can use the data by handing it to them on the proverbial silver platter or you'd rather make them work to uncover it. Or how concerned you may be about spiteful retribution.

It's also indicative of who you (generic you) are trying to serve here on the boards and what you want to contribute. I obviously use data handed me, and try to put that data together in a way that's useful for all of us. But in order for me to do that, I need hard data -- solid numbers. I don't spend one second on folks' posts that are vague in any form: "I tripled my sales yesterday" or "I started selling better when I did X" or "I sold 500 books in October" without disclosing how many titles that was over tells me squat if I don't know the baseline from which those claims are made. I WANT real figures. I don't care if someone's sold 3 or 30 or 3000 - it all helps to validate.

Will I sit in judgment? I'm human - it's what humans do. But I still have the early sales numbers for a couple of my books up on my blog in the sidebar even though I stopped upkeeping those numbers (and the blog) in August. We all start somewhere and we all have books that simply don't gain traction. But if someone would rather not disclose whatever data point for any reason, that's their choice. 

I glean a lot of information from brags. I like brags, for the most part. What I don't like so much is when people try to make it seem like they're not bragging. That's just irksome. I prefer brags that are open, honest and data-helpful. So please, brag away!
 

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Yeah, I just know I'm gonna sell lots of books, but I don't say it because I don't want to jinx it....Oh, crap. I just blew it, didn't I? Son of a...I need some eye of newt to counter the curse now.
 

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Yes, I always think I'm jinxing myself when I share numbers.

Also, when someone reports poor numbers I feel like I'm bragging if I add mine
If someone posts great numbers I sit and gnash my teeth and feel like an underachiever.

Derp.

 

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Phoenix Sullivan said:
The very real danger in posting numbers and being open is that some folk will try to undermine whatever success you may have achieved by leaving one-star reviews and/or downvoting your better reviews and upvoting your poorer ones. That's not karma or superstition working for or against you. That's spite.
^ +1

On another forum, I noted a direct correlation between posting about strong sales numbers and receiving hitman-like reviews against my books. Circumstance? Perhaps. Coincidence? Maybe. I left that forum and came here. When I first joined this board, I thought to myself, "these folks are real pros - no one here would do that." If you went back and looked, I posted 3 "feel good" threads about this, that or the other. All three times, like magic, some crazy, first time reviewer nailed one of my books. In MHO, these reviews were all personal attacks, nothing to do with the book in question. At best, these reviews were questionable.

I don't care if it's Karma or superstition or whatever...I'm not going to post specifics anymore.
The chances are just to great that one person out of the hundreds that read these posts is having a really bad day and becomes vindictive.
 

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Good news, John!  That karma/superstitious dread you feel you detect in day-to-day life is nothing more than en evolved psychological effect called confirmation bias.  Because you are suspicious that karma may be real, you have a tendency to notice the times when it appears to wreak its vengeance on the braggarts of the world, while you tend to ignore or not even notice the many times when karma lets the pompous do their thing without any ill effect.  The reality is that no evidence for such an effect has ever been found, so you can brag away without fear of cosmic retribution.  ;D ;)

As for people leaving hate-reviews if you share your success with the world...well, haters gonna hate.
 

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Joe_Nobody said:
^ +1

On another forum, I noted a direct correlation between posting about strong sales numbers and receiving hitman-like reviews against my books. Circumstance? Perhaps. Coincidence? Maybe. I left that forum and came here. When I first joined this board, I thought to myself, "these folks are real pros - no one here would do that." If you went back and looked, I posted 3 "feel good" threads about this, that or the other. All three times, like magic, some crazy, first time reviewer nailed one of my books. In MHO, these reviews were all personal attacks, nothing to do with the book in question. At best, these reviews were questionable.

I don't care if it's Karma or superstition or whatever...I'm not going to post specifics anymore.
The chances are just to great that one person out of the hundreds that read these posts is having a really bad day and becomes vindictive.
That's a catch 22. Posting that your book is selling well might drive some 1 star reviews, but it might also drive readers to your books to check them out. The thinking being, if he's selling well, then maybe his books are pretty good.
 

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vrabinec said:
That's a catch 22. Posting that your book is selling well might drive some 1 star reviews, but it might also drive readers to your books to check them out. The thinking being, if he's selling well, then maybe his books are pretty good.
This is true, but I've never put much faith in marketing to other authors. I know lots of folks on this board are voracious readers, as was I at one time. Now, I don't have time to read much at all - being so busy trying to finish my own projects. Besides, my books are in tiny niche market, so I assume the exposure to new potential readers is minimal.

I think you point is valid for the average author here.

I've also noted a huge difference with negative reviews for nonfiction works vs. fiction. A one-star butt-buster on a novel isn't that big of deal. A one-star nuke on an instruction guide clearly hurts sales. I've documented this enough to feel 100% confident in that claim.

My posts about sales were always to inspire. I write under a pen name and closely protect my real identify - there's little ego involved. While I receive gratification from helping others (that's why I write), in my situation, it's simply no longer worth the risk.
 

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Don't doubt for a minute the presence of unseen forces in the universe.  Most persons have had one or two premonitions in their lives.  A premonition demonstrates that we can know about future events, which could involve books, for example.  In other words, there are aspects of time that are not purely sequential.  I don't know that posting book sales figures will necessarily jinx future sales.  If you believe that it might, then stay away from it.

Karma means "action."  I think of it as a stream that flows through your life.  I think you can influence karma by conscious action.  Luck can change your fortune in an instant.  Mood, which we carry with us throughout the day, I consider to be a minor influence on your writing over time.  Over time, positive and negative forces tend to balance out.  Seeking the positive, you can re mediate the negative.  Some people, of course, live much more successful lives than others.

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Edward W. Robertson said:
Nice post, Lisa.

It's tough to draw the line between knowing what's appropriate to share in order to provide examples, and tossing stuff out that could be seen as (or just is) bragging about sales etc. But I wouldn't be doing this if it weren't for the numbers the people before me shared, so I try to err on the side of openness.

Also, glad to see your new release is kicking butt, John. I certainly saw a lot of your other book on the SF lists when I was stalking them nonstop early this year, so I'm glad to see that the necessary time to write such a long book didn't result in all your audience running off elsewhere in the meantime.
Thanks, Edward. So far so good. I guess we'll have to see about that audience long term. The big spike was March and April, and those folks have had a long time to forget. I hope they find this one somehow. There's only so much you can do with marketing, especially since Amazon doesn't let you have a list to email to. Maybe they'll do it anyway. Wouldn't that be nice?

As for numbers, I think maybe if I can get a few books to stick, I'll be less worried about jinxing myself and have more faith in the formula. Maybe that's all it is.
 
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