Oh gods the sales figures one. Just… the sales figures one.
Particularly when pretty much every single one of your friends is, like, some ex-banker Harvard Business School graduate. I swear to god, I get asked this question so many times, usually inserted into some conversation about KPIs and metrics. And then shocked silence when, lo and behold, it is revealed that, actually, there aren’t any.
Well, I dunno. Maybe someone has some, somewhere. But they sure as hell don’t communicate them to me. I only get super-indirect metrics, like “number of GoodReads reviews”, “today’s Amazon Sales Rank”, “royalty cheque”, and “next contract”. Otherwise, no idea.
This, I’ve always assumed, is intentional. I guess to try and… not discourage authors whose sales figures aren’t the best (or don’t match what they imagine they “should” be selling). I’m not convinced it’s not more cruel than kind, and some publishers are taking steps to try and provide more data. Admittedly, they’re doing this more in response to Amazon–which does provide fairly extensive sales metrics to self-published authors–than to authors themselves, but, well. You take what you can get, I guess.