If you want to get serious about selling books and eBooks you need to benchmark your progress by monitoring and analyzing sales. Why? Because good marketers become better marketers when they can tell you what happened to sales when they:
- Changed the price of their book
- Bought advertising
- Changed the cover
- Ran an Amazon KDP Select promotion
- Launched a publicity campaign
- Initiated a blog tour
That's the why, what about what to track? This depends more on what information is available from the various stores but it can include unit sales, samples downloaded, borrows, free copies, print vs. eBook format, etc.
The challenge begins when you have lots of books in lots of stores. Visiting each retailer website on a regular basis to collect and post the data into a spreadsheet gets time consuming real fast.
Fortunately there are a number of tools available to help make this job easier. It's probably no surprise that most focus on Amazon. For one thing they are the largest book seller but they also make it easy to collect their data by publishing software specifications for programmers to access the data (called an API). That means that the Amazon sales information is the same for all of these. But then many take it further by adding their own twists like estimating future sales, consolidating sales from other stores, charts and graphs and alerts.
9 Tools for Monitoring and Benchmarking Sales
To help you get started I've assembled a collection of 9 of the better known tools. Keep in mind that some charge and functionality is constantly changing. You might also spend time learning from other authors and experts (this article by Morris Rosenthal is a good start). Also become familiar with and use Amazon's new Author Rank tool introduced in October 2012.
The sooner you start, the more valuable the results
Valuable historical information doesn't begin to accumulate until you register the books you want to track (including competitive books). Don't wait because you can always abandon your use of a tool. Most are free or free for a limited period of time so register and see which works best for your situation.
(Listed in alphabetical order)