I once read that Amazon’s Author Central is like crack for authors. In case you’re not familiar with it, Author Central tracks your book’s sales and ranking. It’s updated every hour, which means you can return for a fresh hit every 60 minutes.
One hit will send you soaring higher than a kite (“I’m at #45,354 and heading up – #1, here I come!) and the next will drive you to the depths of despair (“Now I’m #230,211 I’m utterly worthless.”) You know you shouldn’t keep checking it, but you can’t help yourself.
I know better but keep returning for my hit, muttering “Time for my crack” as I click the well-worn link on my favorites bar. Last night’s hit had me sulking but this morning’s put me in a better mood. Tracking my sales becomes an obsession that affects me far too much.
But unlike real crack, Author Central can have a positive benefit: It regularly reminds me that I need to take an active role in marketing my book. Ignoring my sales can lead to apathy, which is death to promotion, as Amanda Luedeke points out in this great little post.
But understand, promotion isn’t about sales for me, but getting an important message out. I believe that millions of Christians feel guilty because they don’t think they’re radical enough and I hope my message can free them. But first they have to find my book. So somehow I have to find the balance between caring too much and too little. If I ever figure it out, I’ll let you know.
What about you – have you ever struggled to find the balance between apathy and obsession? How can we care deeply about anything (from politics to theology) without making it our identity?