Authors No Longer Need to Obsessively Check Amazon Sales Rankings

Into the "author portal."

Amazon Publishing has been pushing its image as an author-friendly publisher, with one of the advertised perks being the ability for authors to access sales data for individual markets from Nielsen BookScan — at least for sales of physical books.

For most publishers, however, authors have gauged their sales on a day-to-day basis by either hounding their editors and being obnoxious, gnawing their fingernails while they wait for the first royalty statements to trickle in or obsessively checking their sales ranks at online retailers (or all of the above). But that era has now ended. In a letter yesterday to agents and authors, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy announced that both would now have access to sales data in print, e-book and audio format through a special “full-service author portal.”

Speaking yesterday morning, one agent told us that it was a very good move. “It has to be acknowledged that this is a forward-thinking, valuable, very welcome, and no doubt logistically complex initiative, provided by one of the largest corporate publishers,” wrote David Patterson, an agent at Foundry Literary + Media, in an e-mail. “Let’s hope other houses feel encouraged to set up similar programs.”

Other houses have in fact felt encouraged to do just that, reports The New York Times.

“The portal reflects our determination to give our authors the resources they need and want in order to make publishing with us a positive experience, and to partner with them in making their publications the success that they deserve to be,” said Ms. Reidy in a statement.

Authors No Longer Need to Obsessively Check Amazon Sales Rankings