For me, the major problem with taking the healthy step of not reading my own book reviews has been that I’ve become doubly obsessed with checking my KDP sales numbers and Amazon Sales Rank.
With OWNER (which I released last December), it got really bad. Over the holidays, I wasn’t reading, I couldn’t fully concentrate while watching TV, and I got called out a few times for only half-listening by my husband. But worse of all, I most definitely wasn’t writing. It all came to a head on Christmas morning, when I found myself unable to focus on opening presents, because I wanted to go check the sales stats so bad. I was jonesing so bad. That’s when I came up with the following strategy for weaning myself off of checking KDP and my Amazon Sales Rank all the time.
STEP 1: Realize you have a problem: If you’re not getting as much day job work done, if checking KDP and Amazon is affecting your interpersonal skills and relationships, if your mood is going up and down in accordance with your sales and rank numbers, if you can use the word “obsessive” to describe your relationship with the KDP and Amazon sites, if you’re NOT WRITING THE NEXT BOOK — then you have a problem.
STEP 2: Once you realize you have a problem, start checking KDP and Amazon only once an hour. Do this for however many days it takes to get to the next Monday. Set an alarm to keep yourself honest. During this time, I check mine, then I set a timer on my phone for 60 minutes.
STEP 3: On the Monday following your problem realization, start only checking once every four hours — at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm — you may also do a bonus check, right before you go to sleep. Do this for seven days. Don’t worry if you fall off the wagon a few times. Just get back on. By week’s end, you should be fully sticking to the once-every-four-hours plan.
STEP 4: On the second Monday following your problem realization, start checking two times a day. When you get up and before you go to sleep. Do this until…
STEP 5: The following Sunday. On this day, check your numbers once. From that point on, only check your numbers once a week, until you get to ….
STEP 6: The 16th day of the month. Check your monthly report on this day, then don’t check your numbers again until the 16th of the next month.
Some weaning pointers.
-When you start checking twice a day, take the KDP site off your phone. That is, if you, like me, made a home screen app for it, or have been leaving it open in your phone browser, close it down. And log out of Amazon, so that you’ll have to take a bunch of extra steps to access it when you’re not supposed to be accessing it.
-If you can, only ever check your stats on your computer.
-Logout of KDP and close out the window after checking your stats, so that you’re not tempted to keep checking when you’re not supposed to.
-Have a friend or loved one check your Amazon Rank for you. It’s all good not to read reviews, but if you hit certain numbers on the bestseller charts, then you should definitely know for marketing purposes alone. You’d be surprised by how many people will be happy to take on this particular obsessive activity for you, leaving you free to concentrate on writing.
-Don’t check your sales at the day job after the first week. Both good and bad sales numbers are productivity killers.
-Redirect your obsessive energy to writing the next book.
-Be prepared to go on a binge and have to rewean yourself off every single time you put out a book. I found this out the hard way, when I put HER RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE up last Saturday.
I’m now once again working the steps and have finally gotten to the point where I’m able to actually work on my next book project, because I’m only checking twice a day until next Sunday, when I’ll only be checking once a week. Wish me luck, with quitting this awful KDP and Amazon habit. For a second time.
Don’t want me to be sad the next time I check my KDP numbers? Then pick up THE OWNER OF HIS HEART and HER RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE, the first two books in my 50 Loving States series, for $4.16 each at Amazon.