Monday, October 24, 2011
Crunching the Numbers
Are you a numbers cruncher? One of my jobs is as the bookkeeper for our family lumber business, Vetsch Hardwoods, Inc. I'm the bean-counter. Money in, money out, payroll, inventory, gov't forms filled out.
This is not my natural habitat. I don't think in numbers. I'm so thankful for the accounting program we use, the folks at our bank, and the accountant who holds my hand through end-of-year stuff.
They help me understand when numbers are good and when they aren't. Being in the black with the green is way better than being in the red with the green. :) A bookkeeper is supposed to crunch numbers.
Writers building a platform have become number-crunchers too. And the numbers are confusing, scary, potential pits-of-despair or obstacles-of-pride.
The numbers writers watch include:
Number of comments on your blog.
Number of Re-Tweets on Twitter.
Number of blog hits.
Number of newsletter subscribers.
Book Sales Stuff:
Number of contracts.
Size of advances.
Book signing attendance.
Personal WIP Stuff:
Days until deadline.
Word count per day.
The deficit between the deadline and the word count. :)
Word count per hour.
Now, the personal Work In Progress stuff I have a fairly good handle on. I set the goals, and it's easy to see whether or not I make them. I know when the next WIP is due on my editor's desk, and I know how long it is supposed to be and how many days I have to finish it.
The Book Sales stuff...I have my agent and the publishing house to help me decipher those.
It's the Platform numbers where I can get tripped up. Not just quantifying them and their effectiveness, but also not comparing them to others. I've recently signed up for Klout which does a gallop around your social networks, blogs, on-line communities, etc. and assigns you a Klout-score relative to the activity and influence it thinks you wield. Still trying to figure out what this might mean in the greater scheme of things, but I'll admit to being happy when the number goes up and a little sad when it goes down.
So, questions for you:
Are you a numbers person? Do you ever succumb to the temptation of comparing your numbers with those of others?