where the writers are
Really and truly? Big and probably disappointing news for authors.

Before today, authors did not have access to their Nielsen BookScan sales records (which track about 75 percent of print retail sales in the U.S.). BookScan records have preiviously only been available to publishers—at a price. With the tectonic upheavals the publishing indistry’s been experiencing the past few years, every level of an author’s experience have undergone radical changes. The most recent is Amazon.com’s announcement that it will make BookScan information available to authors participating in its Author Central marketing platform.

How is it possible that I hadn’t heard of this? I stumbled across an LA Times article and logged in to my Author Central account to confirm that yes, Virigina, you can access your sales numbers. So how is Ice Song faring? After a lapse in sales, I sold nine copies this week--seven in Philadelphia--which leaves me completely baffled. What the hell is happening in Philly? Perhaps it was selected by a book club? I can’t imagine.

Two sold in Boston. Somehow, I imagine that these readers know each other; perhaps they’re embroiled in an unseemly Heavenly Creatures/Butterfly Kiss-style relationship and my pages will soon see bloodshed.

Although this information does little for me now (aside from shoring up my flagging faith), it will be useful when Tattoo comes out. Then I'll be able to compare media coverage with regional sales numbers and see if my marketing efforts are really making a difference. In the meantime, nine new people are being simultaneously intrigued/revolted by my description of Sorykah drinking her own breast milk.

Have you checked your BookScan numbers today?