Online Tracking Tools for Authors

If you’ve published a book then you’re curious as to what’s going on out there in cyberspace, right? One way is to use any search engine to search your book’s ISBN, ASIN, title, or author. In addition, here are a few other tools I’ve come across.

What sites are selling it and for how much?

GetTextbooks.com will let you search by ISBN, title, or author. It lists all websites that offer your book plus the selling price.

How is it doing on Amazon?

Sales Rank Express will show your book’s current sales rank on Amazon US, UK, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, India, Japan, and China.

Amazon Sales Rank Tracker will let you keep track of your books rank on the same Amazon sites.

These tools are also listed on my Links for Writers page. If you know of others, please let me know!

How to Install a Script in Scribus

I recently had a problem with text I was preparing with Scribus desktop publisher. I needed a number of Semitic words, which I was easily able to copy and paste into the story editor. They looked fine there, but when I clicked the green check (okay) icon, the words were spelled backward in their text boxes. Scribus apparently only recognizes languages which are written left to right; most Semitic languages are written right to left.

This is a known bug for Scribus, which means developers know it’s something that needs to be fixed and should be working on. Being open source, however, development is done on a voluntary basis. That means that unless the problem is an urgent one which effects many users, a fix may be slow in the making.

Thankfully, someone wrote a script for this problem. A script is a bit of computer code which accomplishes a specific task or series of tasks. That meant all I had to do was copy the code and install it into Scribus. But how?

I found help at the Floss Manual website, Scribus – Scripter and Scripts. It was a simple matter of copying and pasting the script into a text editor, and saving as a .py file. Python is the language in which many scripts are written.

When I need to use the menu, I access it from Scribus’s Script menu. The first time I had to choose “execute script” and browse to the folder I saved the script in. After that, it showed up under Script > Recent Scripts.

Scribus

Initially I pasted the Hebrew words into the English paragraph. I learned the executing the script flipped the entire contents of the text frame! I had to go through each frame, cut the specific word, and put it in its own text frame. It’s a bit of work but worth it for the final result.

For more information on Scribus scripts (and a list of useful scripts), visit the scripts page at the Scribus wiki.

Trading For Advertising

Awhile back my husband and I were talking earning money from my writing, and he asked about magazine articles. I replied that they don’t pay very well and we dropped the subject. A couple of days later I was reading a homestead email list I belong to, and saw a request from the editor of Goat Rancher magazine for articles for their upcoming homesteading issue.

I responded to the inquiry and was invited to submit an article. I was told they did not pay for articles, but that they would put in a plug for a website or something. I replied that I was hoping to trade for a bit of advertising. They agreed. The issue has just come out and the ad accompanies my article, “Toward Self-Sustaining Goatkeeping”.

Goat_Rancher_adI was also given a nice highlight in the table of contents. I’m very pleased and will be interested in whether or not I get a boost in sales.

This issue of Goat Rancher will be available on March 10th from Tractor Supply Co. It can be read online here.