Blogs by Barbara Forte Abate
Watching Yourself a Little Too Closely
5/18/2011 12:36:49 PM
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Just because you can isn't always the best reason for doing something. Well, really, it's no reason at all. And when the "something" involves checking on yourself, it's all to easy to become addicted. And addiction is rarely a pretty thing.
Ah, but it all starts so innocently:
Okay, so you have a new book, website, blog -- feel free to fill in the blank here. And, yes, absolutely, it's all so exciting. You've got your very own piece of real estate on the WWW. Pretty impressive. And so you begin decorating, re-arranging, hanging your portrait over the fireplace, and carefully positioning your goods on the coffee table. It takes time, effort, love and care to get it right. But you do. You're happy, proud, and excited. And so now here you are in your brilliant party dress, waiting for someone to come along and ring the doorbell.
If you build it, they will come:
Well, sort've. Maybe. At the very least, you can count on your family and friends to stop over and check out your new place. Um, well, sort've. Maybe. Even then, once they've come, sampled your fancy hors d'oeuvres and gone, what about the rest of the world? You've sent out the invitation -- so where are they?
Show and tell:
Fortunately, there are numerous free, easy to access tools available for keeping track of your traffic, sales, visitors, and a whole lot of other stuff. They can be incredibly helpful in allowing you to figure out what's working and what's not. They can even help you plan your next vacation. (Aka, do your book sales on Amazon warrant a week in the Islands, or a day trip to Hoboken?) It's all good until you start obsessing.
What I've learned from some of my favorites:
Google Alert is pretty fabulous. Find out when your name, book, or whatever else you've indicated when signing up, is mentioned anywhere on the internet. Alerts will be sent directly to your email with a click-able link that will direct you to the who, what, and where. I have been notified of fabulous reviews and other mentions of my book which I never would've known about otherwise. Invaluable.
Google Analytics is another treasure. Want to know the specifics of traffic to your website? Bounce rate? Most popular pages? Corners of the world your visitors are coming from? (I seem to have quite a following in Russia!) It's all here and more.
Amazon Rankings Uh oh, okay, here's where things start to get shaky. Those rankings are something beyond fabulous when your book is selling like wildfire in Texas. It's all good until you find yourself checking the magic number every hour (since Amazon conveniently updates rankings every hour). And, somehow, impossibly, you all at once feel your joy plummet -- your thoughts spiraling madly as you consider a drive to the highest bridge because the numbers are now climbing into the nosebleed section of the stadium and you're beside yourself with horror. STOP checking! Trust me on this. Those numbers ebb and flow with the tide.
Statistics This is a handy little offering on many a website where you may have an established presence. For example, I have a page on AuthorsDen.com, with a tidy little "Den" that holds loads of my Author information. Events, blog, reviews, etc. And quite marvelously, the opportunity to check my visitor stats at the click of a finger. Not only can I access the number of visitors, but a breakdown of where they chose to visit: My Bio, blog, events... Many sites offer this and it's all so wonderful, until it's not. Until you find yourself clicking those stats more often then is healthy or suggested.
And that's only a taste:
There's more, loads more. You can watch yourself seven ways to Sunday, but for what purpose? Insanity would be one. It's neither healthy or wise to obsess over anything, if only for the fact that angst and worry doesn't change numbers, merely your state of mind. Have a peek now and again, but just as the blinking light warns at the railroad crossing, look both ways and proceed with caution.
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More Blogs by Barbara Forte Abate
A VISIT TO:THE NEW YORK SCREENWRITING LIFE - Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Writer in Training - Tuesday, August 02, 2011
My Life For Sale - Thursday, July 07, 2011
Comrades of The Pen - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Reject Rejection - Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Watching Yourself a Little Too Closely - Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Great Agent Quest - Guest Post - Monday, April 25, 2011
Pile Up on Information Highway - Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A Novel Road Trip - Thursday, April 07, 2011
Queen for a Day - Tuesday, April 05, 2011
The Question of Social Media - Saturday, February 19, 2011
The Joy of Reading - Saturday, February 12, 2011
If You Love a Writer - Thursday, February 10, 2011
Spring Fever - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
In the Not So Distant Future - Saturday, January 08, 2011
Hopeful Perseverence - Thursday, October 28, 2010