The Birth of the Kindle Amazon Writing

The 10th birthday of the Kindle was on Sunday, which has been met with all sorts of retrospectives. Getting less coverage is that it’s also the tenth anniversary of Amazon’s self-publishing platform. In this excerpt from the forthcoming third edition of Let’s Get Digital, I argue that the real revolution is something else again which is also ten years’ old this month: the Kindle Store itself, which didn’t just open up publishing by allowing anyone to sell their books, it also democratized which books get recommended. I’ll be posting in more detail about the launch, and the two books on marketing which will follow. Digital 3 won’t be available as a free update like last time, as that caused way too Read More…

Random Rank Stripping & Amazon’s Hall of Spinning Knives Amazon Bewares

Rank stripping strikes again: Phoenix Sullivan is well-known in the indie community – I’ve known her myself since 2009 or 2010 and consider her a close friend. Aside from being exceptionally generous with her time and knowledge, tirelessly sharing her insights on marketing and algorithms, Phoenix is also well known as a vocal campaigner against scammers and cheaters – particularly on the current big issues of book stuffing and clickfarming. And now she is being targeted. Rank Stripping In Action Phoenix made a box set free for a few days at the very start of October, advertising on Freebooksy, KND/BookGorilla, and Digital Book Today – all legitimate sites – and there was no other promotion involved with this title. No Read More…

9 Ways to Improve Amazon Ads For Authors Amazon Resources

More product searches start on Amazon than anywhere else, even Google. It’s the world’s biggest bookstore and by far the largest ebook retailer. But Amazon Ads is still very much a work-in-progress, particularly the slightly pared-back version authors get to advertise books. Self-publishers tend to focus on making books visible on Amazon. Aside from being a market leader, and having famed frictionless purchasing, there is another key reason why such a focus often gets the best return. Unlike other popular sites, anyone visiting Amazon is generally there for one reason: to buy stuff. You aren’t interrupting them while they share dank memes with friends, or search how fast a raven can fly during winter. AMS is often referred to as “new” Read More…

The Visibility Gambit Amazon

Kindle Unlimited has received a fair bit of bad press over the last couple of years – some of it from me – but I want to balance that by looking at the positives. Most pertinent is KU’s popularity with readers, meaning there can be huge opportunity for authors. Especially so if you make full use of the tools Amazon gives you, and understand that it’s all about visibility. Enrolling in KU comes at a well-documented cost: exclusivity. But it’s the potential benefits I want to focus on today because some of that might be getting lost in the (well justified) complaints about scammers, transparency, and falling pay rates. Even though those rates have dropped by around 20% this year alone, Read More…

Who’s Pointing At You? Amazon

The Also Boughts on your page are an important indication of what readers are buying along with your books. But those particular Also Boughts are only part of the story. What’s really important is which books are pointing back at you. Let’s use my long-suffering book Liberty Boy as an example again. As I explained yesterday’s post – Please Don’t Buy My Book – Liberty Boy was dragged down into the ranking depths after having no Also Boughts for months thanks to an Amazon snafu. I eventually fixed that problem in a fairly crude way by running a 99c Countdown and throwing whatever ads I could get at it. The promo itself did okay and sold a few hundred copies for me. Read More…

Please Don't Buy My Book Amazon Marketing

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution. Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood. They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers. The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide Read More…

The Great Amazon Hysteria… Part 31 Amazon Publishing

Are you scared yet? Because you should be scared. Something really bad is about to happen. It affects all of us. Our livelihoods are at risk. The ability to support our families. It’s just over the horizon. It could happen any minute. It’s coming for all of us! WE ARE DOOOOOOOOOMED. Ahem. I’ve been around for long enough to know that authors can be a skittish bunch. Probably something to do with our over-active imaginations, with an assist from that old writers’ favorite: the whiskey brunch. More seriously, we are going through a period of unprecedented change so it’s perfectly normal for people to be a little fearful. I think the disruption we are all experiencing is greater than that Read More…

How To Win Sales And Influence Algorithms Amazon Marketing Publishing

I’m hosting a discussion today between two authors who are using creative ways to share audiences, something which has the happy side-effect of increasing their respective sales. As I said on Thursday, I think creative forms of collaboration – especially in terms of marketing strategies – are going to be big this year. Traditionally published authors may have to compete with each other ways that may not be relevant/important to self-publishers – like agents, deals, grants, prizes, or co-op. But self-publishers have nothing to fear from cooperating with authors they are nominally competing with, and everything to gain. The market is so large that no writer will ever reach all the readers out there, and the odds of getting noticed can improve greatly with the right kind Read More…

Round Up: Audiobook Release, BookBub in Canada & Amazon Launches Ad Service Amazon Marketing Publishing

I have finally returned to work after an extended period back in Ireland over Christmas – which was wonderful – and then a spell with a virus which was considerably less so. I was mostly unplugged from the internet over the last while, but I hope it’s not too late to wish you all the best for 2015. This is a quick catch-up post on some recent bits and bobs. Normal blogging service will resume tomorrow with a very useful guest post from two authors exploring some alternative marketing strategies with excellent results. *** First up is the release of the audiobook edition of Let’s Get Digital. This is the new, updated version of Digital which has been narrated by Simon Read More…

The Netherlands Kindle Store Opens Amazon Publishing

Amazon launched a Netherlands Kindle Store this morning, as anticipated by The Digital Reader yesterday. Kindle devices are now on sale for prices ranging between €59 for the basic model, up to €189 for the Voyage, and the store has opened with over 3m titles. However, only 20,911 of these titles are in Dutch and only 1,221 of these e-books are by Dutch authors. That may change now that KDP has launched a local portal for Dutch writers and small presses. The opening of the Dutch Kindle Store also means the abolition of the regressive and unpopular Whispernet Surcharge in the Netherlands which added $2 onto the price of many e-books. For those already publishing via KDP, your book is on Read More…

Amazon and Simon & Schuster Agree Terms Amazon Publishing

Simon & Schuster has agreed a multi-year deal with Amazon covering both e-books and print books. Business Insider reported that negotiations only took three weeks and were concluded two months before the original contract expired. I’m confused, does this mean the end of literary culture or not? Someone needs to run up to Douglas Preston’s quaint writer shack to find out. (If you get lost, it’s at the back of his 400-acre estate). It also begs a question: what exactly is Hachette holding out for? As everyone knows at this point, Hachette’s contract with Amazon expired in March and the two parties have been unable to agree a deal since. The narrative being pushed by the media was that Amazon’s desired terms Read More…

Kindle Unlimited: The Key Questions Amazon Marketing Publishing

Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited on Friday, giving self-publishers a big decision to make. The long-rumored subscription service will allow users to download unlimited books for $9.99 a month, and reader reaction has been, from what I can see, overwhelmingly positive – especially because they will be able to test the service with a month’s free trial. Writers have been a little more cautious, for all sorts of reasons I’ll try and tease out below. The main stumbling block for self-publishers is that participation in Kindle Unlimited is restricted to titles enrolled in KDP Select – Amazon’s program which offers various additional marketing tools in exchange for exclusivity. Author compensation will be similar to borrows under the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – Read More…

15 Ways Amazon Can Improve Kindle Direct Publishing Amazon Marketing Publishing

At the London Book Fair in April, I had the opportunity to meet representatives from Amazon and present a list of feature requests and complaints (from the comments of this post with an assist from KBoards). I spent quite a bit of time going through the list and felt that everything got a fair hearing. Amazon said that a lot of this stuff is in the pipeline in one form or another (although judgement will have to be reserved until we see how it’s implemented) and the rest of the issues and feature requests would be passed along to the relevant department. This isn’t the full list I presented, but it’s the issues I’d like to focus on today: 1. More Read More…

Amazon Opens Japanese Kindle Store Amazon Publishing

Amazon will open a Kindle Store in Japan tomorrow – October 25 – after months of speculation (and the summer entrance into the Japanese market of up-and-coming rivals  Kobo). According the the press release from Amazon, customers in Japan can now pre-order the Paperwhite for an extremely competitive 8,480 yen ($106), with the 3G version costing 12,980 yen ($163) – although neither will ship until November 19. US customers will notice that makes the Paperwhite marginally cheaper in Japan than America. The new Fire won’t ship to Japan until December 19, but it can be pre-ordered with similarly competitive pricing – 12,800 yen ($160) – with the HD version coming in at 15,800 yen ($198). The Japanese Kindle Store will open tomorrow Read More…

The Indian Kindle Store Isn't The Real Deal… Yet Amazon Publishing

Yesterday brought the exciting news that Amazon had launched the Indian Kindle Store. However, some questions are already being asked about why this offering is so different from the international Kindle Stores launched in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Clicking the link contained in press release – www.amazon.com/kindlestoreindia – will give you the first clue that something is different here. While logged in to your Amazon account, you will just see the standard US storefront, with no mention of the Indian Kindle Store. However, once logged out, you see what Indian customers are faced with. Essentially, it’s an Indian storefront within the US site. Further perusal shows marked differences from Amazon’s previous international efforts. Indian sales are not broken out in Read More…