Working for Your Data

I spend a lot of time thinking about how I can be more efficient. Probably too much, as the pile of business strategy books on my bedside table would tell you. Thanks to the access I have to sales numbers from across the country, though, I know I’m not alone in my nighttime reading and mindfulness pursuits — I can see that these business books are bestsellers in the Canadian marketplace. Thanks to sales numbers, I can save on therapy knowing that a big chunk of the country has the same questions I do, and probably should just turn out the light and go to sleep. Thanks, data! 

Efficiency really comes down to how I can absorb the best information to help me make good decisions and to arm me with the intel I need to have a productive conversation with my colleagues about many different aspects of our publishing program. There’s no doubt that sales data is the base camp of intelligence for publishers. But there’s a veritable sea of numbers out there. How does one filter it down to keep the core of what we really need ready in our frontal lobe?

Last year at BookNet 101, I touched on sales data analytics basics — from title acquisition through sales prep, printing, marketing, and finding gaps in the marketplace when that book is reader-ready. This year, my session is titled “Supersize Your Sales Data.” How do we take the basics and stretch ourselves to the next level? What questions do we need to ask to get the results we want? How do numbers enable us to experiment with our ideas and make us more flexible than a top gymnast? 

At publishing conferences we tend to talk a lot about how to make your data work for you. What I propose is to explore how we can do the work that will truly super size the value and efficacy of our raw numbers.

These are the questions I’m looking at as I prepare my BookNet 101 session. What questions are you asking yourself as you look at your sales numbers? I’d love to hear them: @ reply me @erincc and let’s start the conversation.

Erin Creasey is the Sales & Marketing Director at ECW Press and the President of the Association of Canadian Publishers.