Science Fiction Writer

One of the things that frustrates me sometimes is the limited functionality of the author platform on Amazon. Sure you can log in and monitor things, see how many sales you have and check for reviews, but it’s a pain having to switch between the different local sites.

I think a lot of indie authors, especially in the early days, hang on every sale, and every review they get–these are like golden nuggets to treasure and celebrate because they’re signs that you’re making progress.

Well, being a curmudgeonly somewhat ex-techie, I decided I wanted a better way to spot these things as soon as they happen (or close to) that didn’t require me to go and check a whole bunch of different regional Amazon websites. And after a search, I found the perfect thing.

Distill Web Monitor is a plugin for Firefox (my personal choice of browser) that you can configure to watch a whole page or a part of one. Periodically, say once every couple of hours, it will check to see if anything’s changed since the last time it checked. If there’s been a change, it notifies you and provides a highlighted list of everything you’re watching. That’s it! Simple.

I set it up to watch the three main Amazon sites where my books are sold, US, UK, and Canada, but you can set up as many as you like. There’s no need to monitor the whole page, so I selected just the number of reviews:

Save the selections, set how frequently you want it to check, and that’s it! Make that technology work for you 🙂

Okay, but what if you don’t use Firefox? Not a problem, there are similar tools available for Chrome too, such as Visualping. Work on a Mac? Then there’s Safari Page Monitor.

Obviously there are many different possibilities for this kind of monitoring. Feel free to let me know how you use it in the comments.

That’s it for today. Work smarter, not harder!

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