Last Friday came and went without a post, so I definitely wanted to get one up today. It is August 1st – summer is almost halfway over. I love summer. Even though my kids are grown and I now work a 12 month calendar year, life just seems to move at a much more manageable pace in the summer. I get out more when the weather is pleasant and the sun stays up longer and I have lots more fun. So far this summer I’ve seen lots of great shows and have had plenty of fun outdoors time. I’ve learned some things too.
• If I’m having a bad day – not one where I have a mountain to climb, but just one of those ‘the road is covered with speed bumps’ kind of days, I have discovered a new way to perk myself up. I browse library catalogs. With so many online catalogs, I can check out libraries in my county, NYC, or even Australia. I search for Providence (43 hard copies plus e-books in my county system, 7 hard copies plus e-books in NYC, 10 hard copies just purchased by Brooklyn public libraries, and e-books in Australia) and check to see how many are checked out and where they have a waiting list. Although it is an exercise in vanity, there is something thrilling in knowing people in my neighborhood and around the world are reading a novel I wrote. It is truly one of the high points for me of being a writer and can quickly turn a bad day into a good one
. • This second thing I’m about to share is more about what I didn’t learn than what I did. A while back, I read an article that said authors should check their Amazon ranking every hour for a day every month or so. The writer said there was much to be learned about marketing from this. I admit I tried this twice and failed both times. Who has the time to check Amazon every hour? I settled for about five times a day with intervals ranging between an hour and overnight. (I wasn’t supposed to give up sleep for this, right?) I had hours where my rank dropped from 60,000 to 260,000. I had hours where it jumped from 400,000+ to 80,000. The second day I tried Amazon also had up one of those only 19 copies left tags. I watched it drop to only 14 copies left and my rank jumped back up under 80,000. It then proceeded to drop again until it landed in the 400,000+ zone. My marketing background is nil, but I have no clue what I was supposed to learn from that exercise. Is the problem that I didn’t focus on checking it every hour, my lack of marketing skills, or is there really nothing to be learned beyond it is a waste of time to watch Amazon rankings?
• I did learn one marketing thing this summer. If instead of looking at everything as – should I really do this, is this being pushy, what is the point of this, I shift to –why not give it a try –I get a whole lot more accomplished.
I hope you continue to have a wonderful summer. Go do something fun this weekend! I’m going to see Jerry Seinfeld tonight and into the city tomorrow to see Wicked. I bet those things will perk me up as much as library catalog browsing does!