IMG_0004Hi, my name’s Rod and I’m an analytic-holic

Here’s my story.

I’m no different than most of you, a struggling writer searching for an answer to “the big question”, how do I get my work noticed amidst the plethora of prosaic publications available in this day of unfettered self-publishing opportunities?

What? You thought “the big question” had something to do with the meaning of life? You obviously aren’t an author.

How to do this? Well, I didn’t see any harm in trying out some the websites that offered to post my book for free. What harm could it do, a couple of sites that might generate some reader interest? After all, everybody else was doing it and they didn’t seem to have any problems handling it – or so I thought.

I admit I might have gotten a bit carried away. Information about my novels including sample chapters, buy links, boring stuff about the person who wrote them, and much more appears on no less than a dozen sites that I know of and likely some I’ve forgotten.

As I became more familiar with these sites I discovered they provided statistics about visitors to my address on their platform. The first I got intrigued with was Bublish. The site opens with Author Metrics including Bubble Views, Profile Views and Conversions. It was interesting to see what “bubbles” attracted the most “views”.

Because Bublish “bubbles” are linked to Twitter I soon became enthralled with Twitter Analytics and the number of impressions, engagements and the engagement rate – the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions, plus links, clicks and retweets.

By now I was frequently sampling Goodreads –stats which indicated who had added, reviewed, rated or were planning to read my books.

Authorcentral at Amazon had sales info, and rankings according to book sales and the Neilsen Bookscan. Google Books did the same but went further indicating the number of book visits, visit with pages viewed, the number of pages viewed, and visits a with buy link.

It got worse once I self-published.

Smashwords stats included page views, downloads, and sample downloads. They even had stats on search engine optimization.

KindleDirect and CreateSpace had details regarding the breakdown of royalties by week and month in GB, EUR and USD.

Each day I was wasting hours checking these reports and analysis and despite all the information available there never seemed to be a logical reason why one tweet got 103 impressions and another got only 2 – or at least no logical explanation to me.

I’d wake up the next morning with a statistical hangover and vow to not view this information for the entire day and finally get something meaningful done. But by early afternoon I’d weaken. What harm could a peak at Twitter analytics do just to take the edge off? What’s this? A whole lot of impressions? Better check and see if that generated more sample downloads on Smashwords, and so it would begin all over again.

As they say, “Half measures have availed us nothing”, and it’s not just half measures. Apparently neither has my obsession with analytics. My “searching and fearless inventory” of all things analytical shows my Amazon author ranking is 663,606 of out of 1,100,000, and that’s probably on a good day.

Other demoralizing stats include LibraryThing ranking my popularity at 3,689,591 and dropping; 126 followers on BookLikes which is less than the number of books I’ve given away to it’s members; and, 16 followers on Twitter in including a social media manager who wants to “boost my online visibility” and a same day grocery delivery superstore I’ve never heard of.

And so it is that I admit I am powerless over the lure of analytics. Just for today I will not check my stats on any site, and furthermore I will only check them at the end of each month, and only once.

I’m into day three – the sweating is now intermittent, my hands still shake but I no longer slop my coffee. I hope tonight I’ll be able to sleep.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs



My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon and at

Read Reviews

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to:

View my flickr photostream at

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music