It finally happened: CRAWLSPACE AND OTHER STORIES is up on US kindle - now because this was the way Eric wanted it, it is not being done throught NAKED READER as the rest of my e-sales have been. I'm a better writer than I am e-publisher. (I have no real desire to fiddle my way through formats and covers and fine print.) But I am enjoying the sheer accessibility of my sales records. This is something so simple that publishers really need to drive towards. I have never met an author (and I doubt one exists) who really wants to be a mushroom - kept in the dark, fed on BS and harvested when convenient. If you're running an open, honest shop, there is no gain in keeping this information from the author either. I'd argue that the information (along with publicity spend and advance) should be public domain, but I am aware that I'd have more chance of falling pregnant. But really - to set up the feed that tells authors where they are day-to-day is not - for your medium/large publishing house - a particularly expensive or difficult process. There must be at least a million programmers available to do the job. The point is, it's a serious spur - both to authors and readers (and possibly publishers). It would be hugely popular with the authors, and cost little to implement. It's also quite a wake-up call as to how little draw I really have - Crawlspace has sold 21 copies in 5 days (in fact the process made me 45 dollars this week), whereas the Nielsen data says I sell about 500 paper books a week. But it's been very interesting in a number of ways. One has been that I've sold a few more NR shorts simply because readers discovered - on hearing about CRAWLSPACE and searching for me on Amazon Kindle - that there were more. That is why I intend to insist on teasers for other books/stories being part of any e-book in the future. It's a feedback loop I've seen over and over. The best eg. I can think of is MUCH FALL OF BLOOD - where the paperback release has seen the sales of earlier books shoot up... Provided of course they are available - A MANKIND WITCH is not. So while SHADOW OF THE LION benefitted to the tune of 1004 copies... AMW sold zero (ergo I am asking for my rights back - hopefully before the next release in that series). I am not happy about this, as I've lost readers - which is one reason, perhaps, for keeping authors in the dark.
So where is all this leading - well, quite simply into into how valuable - to me anyway, seeing the results of sales effort is. And, more importantly, how vital it is to feed the beast and to keep feeding it, and use the books you keep putting into the system to get new readers.
So: what data would you like from your publisher, and why?