I see that Amazon now also has the cover image up for THE CONVICT'S SWORD. But more importantly: even though the book is not available until the end of July, the Amazon ranking is 19,000 on preorders. I'm astonished.

You must know that my books have never received any promotion, so I can only assume that they are gaining faithful readers on their own. My agent said once that it takes 7 titles in a series to establish it. This is # 6 for me, and I'm crossing fingers that this one will finally make a difference.

I spent this morning in the library, looking over all the mysteries on the shelves and getting depressed: so many books, so many authors, most in handsome hardcover editions (with gold lettering even). I felt pretty sorry for myself and did no writing the rest of the day. That's the trouble with this business: after a while you're tired of beating your head against the wall to no purpose.

But see: there are a few people out there who are surprisingly eager to get their hands on this next one. And suddenly I feel like writing again.

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Comment by Kathryn Lilley on February 9, 2009 at 8:45am
I know! That's always a risk. But sometimes it can help you see a bigger picture, or perspective. Or something like that!
Comment by I. J. Parker on February 9, 2009 at 8:08am
:) That could be depressing.
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on February 9, 2009 at 5:00am
What's also interesting about TitleZ is that you can compare your book to "similar" books and see how your sales numbers fare over time.
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on February 9, 2009 at 5:00am
Right. TitleZ is only an Amazon tracker. But if you're interested in Amazon numbers, it's the place to look. I didn't know they charge? I don't think I've ever been charged for it.
Comment by I. J. Parker on February 9, 2009 at 4:56am
Ah. They track Amazon. And they don't say how much a subscription is, though there is a free period for a while.
I would again caution against relying on Amazon too much. Amazon sales are influenced by whether or not people can get the books in stores. High sales at Amazon may mean that this is the only place to buy a title.
Comment by I. J. Parker on February 9, 2009 at 4:49am
TitleZ? I think I'm about to learn something.
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on February 9, 2009 at 4:23am
Great news about your preorders, I.J.! Preorder numbers are a good indicator that things are trending positive for sales, so hooray! After a book gets published I don't usually look at the daily numbers at Amazon because I was told by the publisher that they don't matter, but I do track them at TitleZ. But so far TitleZ doesn't seem to track Kindle sales, so those seem to go into a giant black hole. Barnes and Noble numbers seem a lot more stable.
Comment by I. J. Parker on February 9, 2009 at 1:16am
Thank you, Roger, and I wish you the same. Amazon ratings are not reliable indicators. They may tell you that you sold a copy (or perhaps 2 or 3), but I'm told they only make up about 15 % (or less) of the market. The biggest market share is held by the big box stores -- but they only carry bestsellers. As an author, you have to hope that your book is in bookstores and stays on the shelf. Many bookstores return copies quickly for refunds and replace them with other titles. Then your book is only available on Amazon. The only time you may do a little dance for that day is if your rating drops below 1000. So we keep watching and hoping.
Comment by roger smith on February 8, 2009 at 3:57pm
I'm a new writer (my first book is being released March 03 09) -- and I'm ashamed to say I've been watching those Amazon ratings drop and then rise again. I know it is a futile exercise, but difficult to avoid. Better to keep writing. But we live in a world of info-glut, what can you do?

Congratulations, though, on the good signs. And I hope your book sells like crazy.

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