I’ve mentioned struggles in the past with being an indie author. I’ve even talked a little bit about my experiences with advertising specifically on Amazon. I’m now discovering another lovely and not often mentioned little beauty (oh, so NOT) that is the beast of Amazon. Ranking and search results.
Or, to be more accurate, the lack of the ability to even appear in a search result if you drop too low in the rankings.
I had seen in the last month or so that my book wouldn’t show in the results unless you added my author name to the book title. That was a little frustrating, especially when some of the results that popped when just searching the title alone had absolutely nothing at all to do with the search terms. Now, you cannot find my book at all by searching title and author. Not even WAY down a list anywhere.
It is still very much a live, active listing. I’d even gotten a few KU reads in the last month thanks to a twitter post by a blogging group (seriously, THANK YOU for the mention!!) My overall rankings are now exceptionally low, which is something that happens if you aren’t getting constant sales and reviews, and that apparently means that people can’t even find my book when they are specifically looking for it. And we aren’t even discussing the fact that it won’t show up as a suggested read anywhere unless I pay for advertising or I get over 25 reviews on Amazon (at least that is the magic number I’ve seen tossed around).
I really don’t get it. Amazon makes money off my book when I do. A lot more than I do for the paperback, but they won’t even show it in a search result when you look specifically for that title AND my author name?! That is some straight up bullshit right there.
Don’t even get me started on the fact that Amazon also owns Goodreads and between the two, I have at least that 25 threshold of unique reviews, but they don’t actually work together like that. Or the fact that the only way to place an ad on Amazon for a book (at least the ebook) you have to be exclusive through the KU program, meaning it cannot be on any other platform and that the ads I’ve done so far have only ever helped my rankings, but did squat for any kind of actual profit because they are expensive.
I get it. I only have the one book out there and authors succeed mostly through return readers. The more books you have, the better chance at success you have, the better chance you are going to get seen. The problem is that it is already massively difficult to get eyes on your book with all the competition out there and Amazon’s apparent policy of refusing to even pop a search result when someone is actually looking for it is mind boggling. I honestly don’t have a clue how that even makes good business sense.
I’d even get it if they had some sort of a stated expiration policy for delisting a product after a specified time frame for inactivity, but I’ve not found anything anywhere that states this. I just tripped across the fact that I’m not showing up at all by accident. AND I’ve gotten KU reads, so it has had activity.
So, fair warning to anyone looking to publish through Amazon. There are some definite perks to it, but there are also a lot of hidden downsides to it too. It is hard to say if it is worth it or not as every single sale I’ve made has been through them with the exception of one library purchase early on before it moved it to Amazon exclusively. Those downside are exponentially greater when you are a massive introvert like me that cannot stand to push my stuff in front of people’s faces constantly.
If you feel like giving the middle finger to Amazon on my behalf and want to buy my book, An Unexpected Turn, or read it for free through KU, please feel more than free to do so. Or you can go with the two year old version of the middle finger, sticking your tongue out at them, by sharing that direct link to my book with others.
Now I’m going to grumble some about greedy bastards and then bury my nose in a book to try and decompress.