Writer Resources

Tracking Book Sales

iStock_000017970388SmallThis post is meant for my fellow writers.  Because I self-publish through my own company (Reader Hill), I am responsible for tracking my book sales from quite a few different distribution channels. To do so, I’ve created spreadsheet with a page for each book. I thought I would share it online in case any other authors might want it.

I use a simple Excel spreadsheet with auto-sum formulas for each column. Here’s a screen shot of the form for those who are curious:

Book Sales Spreadsheet Photo

For each month, I track quantity sold, money earned, and quantity given away. I do this for each book that I’ve published. Using simple auto-sum formulas, the form then gives my a monthly total for all the data in each column.

Lower down on the spreadsheet, I add up the yearly Quantity Totals and yearly Income Totals.

At the bottom of the spreadsheet you will see that there are tabs for each book. I write in the book’s name there and in the top left box.

If you are interested in using the form, it is attached below:

Book Sales Template 2015

I hope this helps some of my fellow writers.

Thanks for reading,


EL icon3

Book Climax Book Ending Writer Struggles

Saying Good Bye is Never Easy

I have been struggling for about a week on writing the chapters leading up to a book’s climax.  I have re-written one section four different ways, and each time it just did NOT work.  Each time it fails to ratchet up the suspense.  I realize that the ending is vital, but as this blog’s title suggests, “saying good-bye is never easy”.  How will I ever get this right?  Well, I have decided on the following things to help:
1. Get in closer!  When writing a book with many characters (as I am), I can get distracted by the minor characters.  Especially the interesting ones.  Yet, as I get closer to the ending, I need to hone in on the main characters, especially THE main character.
2. Create more problems!  This is the end, so I must pull out all the stops and let the problems pile onto the main characters.  Any kid will tell you that the fun is in making a big mess.
3.  Speed up the pacing!  This is not the place for deep thought or flashbacks.  Action is everything in the last chapters.  The paragraphs get shorter.  The sentences get tighter.  Make it like a runaway car speeding towards a great crash.
4. Add pressing time limits!  Make your main character sweat as time runs out.  In minutes a bomb will explode, a hostage will die, a battle will be lost, etc.

OK, it is time to tackle those last chapters again.  Saying good-bye is never easy, but I want this book to have a memorable end, so the work is worth it.  I want you to be thinking about this ending for weeks after you set the book down.

Publishing Writer Blogs

Ready to Self Publish?

Vanity Press and Self Publishing:  It used to be that self-publishing was synonymous with vanity publishing.  You paid someone to print your book because no commercial publisher would touch the thing.  This was not a “road to success” but the path to a garage full of books.  Things really have changed in the last few years!  Now, it is a viable option to go DIY, either as a Print-on-Demand (POD) book or as an e-book. 

Looking for practical tips on understanding your publishing options?  Consider the blog entries by veteran writer Dean Wesley Smith:

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing