Thoughts On BookTrakr

A few weeks ago I got an invitation to proceed with the beta version of BookTrakr, which I had signed up for several months ago. What the site basically does is compiles your sales figures from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. Yes, you must provide your log-in information, which many people are hesitant to do. But this isn't a fly-by-night service; they've been working on it for quite some time, and I know many reputable writers who got an even earlier sneak peek, and all of them trust the site well enough.

So anyway, once you provide your log-in information, it takes a while for the site to create a profile for you -- at least it did for me, but that's probably because I have a lot of books that have been published for a while. Then, once everything is compiled, you're able to view each of your books separately and see how many copies you've sold across all platforms or on each individual platform, as well as how much money you've made, how many reviews the books has, its best ranking, etc. It even provides numbers for all the ebooks combined. Because of this, I now see that I've sold, as of this moment, 107,627 ebooks across Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo (I didn't bother adding Smashwords, mostly because I couldn't remember my log-in information at the time). While that number sounds somewhat impressive -- and I guess it is -- you also have to keep in mind that it stretches back to 2009 ... though most of what I sold has been since 2011, so really two years. Even so, 53,000 books a year isn't all that impressive when you consider that some authors sell that number in a single month.

BookTrakr also has a feature where every morning they send you an email of your previous day sales. It tells me how many ebooks I've sold, how much I've earned, a breakdown of the sales across all platforms, whether or not I have any new reviews, if I'm currently on any top 100 lists, and so on. If your sales are good, it's nice to wake up to those numbers. If your sales are so-so, it can be rather depressing. It's possible to turn off the daily emails, though, which might be a good idea, as a writer doesn't have much power in changing the sales. It's like checking the stock market; you can watch your stocks go up and down, but you're pretty much powerless to do anything about it, so sometimes it's best to worry about other things.

Ultimately, I've found the service to be great so far. Currently it's still in beta mode, which means that it's free, though at some point soon they'll start charging. How much the rate will be is still up for speculation, but if it's anywhere near reasonable, I think it's completely worth it. I also say this as someone who, for over a year, would take my monthly sales reports and enter them manually into a spreadsheet. That takes up a lot of time that could be better spent writing.

Is BookTrakr for everyone? Probably not. When Duotrope announced that they were going to start charging for their service, I didn't bother signing up. Why? Well, because I haven't been writing and submitting much short fiction. If I did, then I would probably find the service worthwhile and pay. The same applies here. If an author only has a handful of books that it's easy enough to track, it might not be worth signing up. The same goes for an author who has a few books that aren't selling much at all. The cost of the service might not even off-set how much that author is making. But that's just my two cents. As of right now, I'm impressed, and am curious to see where they take this service next.