by Christina Carson
Until now only the big names like Amazon and Barnes and Noble have been privy to behaviors of readers primarily through analyzing their buying behaviors, information they have kept as proprietary. A recent article in the Business Technology section of the New York Times, announces a new order of analytics on readers, information gathered by tracking readers’ behaviors as they read, suggesting that such information might be just what writers need to elevate sales. Stephen Woodfin sent me the link to that article and asked for feedback.
Thanks to his request, I stopped to look at my last two years as a writer, because it hasn't felt like much of a success, and I saw why. In buying into the angst that success in writing is defined by big sales, I had followed the crowd into the social media hamster wheel, even while week after week, month after month sensing something wasn't right. And like any hamster will tell you, if he could, it’s mighty hard to get off the bloody thing when it’s spinning. But the idea that peering into the private behaviors of my readers in an attempt to get more of them to read my books was the incentive I needed to bail out of the wheel whether I went ass for teakettle or not.
We get lost in the weeds, lose our sense of priorities and begin to look for short cuts when we forget what we’re about. It becomes easy to believe we don’t stand a chance of success. It’s equally easy to miss how costly social media’s returns on time invested have become. It could be easy to think that analytics might be the answer to poor sales. But somewhere if our uneasiness persists, we best take a serious look at our choices to ensure that are actually ours. Here’s what became clear to me:
Give it any name you like, but I write for me.
I write what I like to read.
I write what is worth my time writing about.
I write what I must, getting it out of me and onto paper.
I write to clarify life to me.
I write to share what I've learned about life, with others.
I write because I can.
I write because it gifts me with the experience of being present and all that offers.
How much more successful would I now feel if I had two more novels on my shelf—well-written, well-edited works that made me feel deeply satisfied with how I’d spent my time and talent as a writer. There will be time enough to market my work before I leave this earth.
So don’t look for me on Facebook, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Goodreads, LinkedIn or using analytics. I think we’re been sold a bill of goods, but that remains for another blog. I have a website and email, Triberr and Google +. That’s enough. What is true for me in this moment is this: I am a writer and writing is how I’m going to spend my time.