There's a terrible disease infecting a huge number of authors and self-publishers. It's called ADA - Author Data Addiction and it claims more and more victims every hour. If it's possible that you might have caught or even been in contact with someone who has caught this disease then stick your tongue firmly in your cheek and read on...
Symptoms of this infection include:
1) Refreshing and obsessively checking Amazon sales rankings and/or sales figure either weekly, daily, hourly...and in the worst cases, every minute.
2) Having a ritual check of all the data available on Amazon, Smashwords, your blog, website, Twitter, Facebook etc - again this can be weekly, daily, hourly or minute to minute.
3) Sending random emails/texts to tell friends that your blog/website etc. etc. is being followed or visited by someone from Barbados, Outer Mongolia etc. etc.
4) Obsessively scouring the web to find MORE ways to view data and more providers of information for the data-obsessive.
5) Mumbling 'What the hell does THAT mean?' whilst biting your nails and turning your head side-ways to contemplate a pie chart, line graph or shaded map of the world.
It truly is a dreadful affliction and, as a recovering addict I sympathise with those in the early stages of this disease - it's a crazy downward spiral of co-dependency that has us scuttling to forums and FAQ pages every time our books sales take a dip to find out what might have gone wrong in the world of eBooks (It's NEVER the addict's fault, remember) to cause such a slump, or ranting in the 'comments' section of other blogs about the changes to Amazon algorithms or how social media isn't working for us.
Do you believe that you may have caught ADA?
Please don't panic!
This disease is caused by self-publishing your own work and whilst studies suggest that an over-active ego may be to blame there is also the possibility that living the life of a reclusive hermit and plumbing the depths of your soul to find just the right word to fit in just the right place amongst the rest of your blood-sweat-and-tears-produced work may also be a factor. For most sufferers, however, the simple explanation is that we get caught up in the hype of self-publishing and forget why we're there to begin with - you love to write, don't you? If you're in this to sell loads of books and make money ...well, that's a whole other disease.
So what's the prognosis?
In most cases it's darned good. Treatment includes encouraging the patient to take a step back from their computer and recognise the problem. This causes feelings of acute embarrassment and shame which leads to the making of coffee and eating of a biscuit whilst staring out of windows and mumbling 'what am I doing?' - good signs that the patient may make a full recovery. It is also helpful to point out that this is a marathon, not a sprint and the patient should perhaps be working on their next book instead of obsessing about the first. This leads to feelings of euphoria and eventually contentment as the diseased individual begins to write again and their stress levels fall back into their natural blood-sweat-and-tears rhythm.
If you or anyone you know are suffering from ADA then I am reliably informed that there will soon be a program available to track your use of data producing sites and how they are affecting your daily life. Results will be emailed to you hourly and will be available in the form of multi-coloured bar graphs...