Amazon Suckage As An Author

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.

 

ENVIE! A Magazine for the Literary Curious: Expanding Offerings

I have briefly mentioned this resource in the past in association with a review for my book. At the time, Envie (@enviemagFTLC) was the Writing Community Newsletter. They have changed their name, their look, and are expanding their services, offerings and content of their magazine.

Besides great articles pertaining to writing, book reviews and book promos, they are offering spotlights for VSS, poetry, and flash fiction writers. If you have something you want featured, you can submit it to them and (if space is still available) it will be published in the next edition.

Another new feature they are developing is a services database. If you offer any kind of service to the writing community, you can submit your listing and it will be posted in the newsletter as well as eventually in a more permanent listing on their website. This includes editing, proofreading, book reviews, beta reading, cover design… basically, if you offer something that helps out authors, you can get added to this database. Even if you don’t, but you are an author, this is something you will want to keep your eye on as they get this piece launched.

On top of all of that, they are starting a new blogger feature. If you have a blog, of any kind, you can be featured as their blog of the month in the magazine (@enviebotm).

Did I mention that all of this is offered for free? I honestly cannot push this group enough because they really do a ton of work to support the writing community on all levels. It is absolutely worth your time to subscribe to this amazing resource.

*No, I am not a part of the group in any way. I’m just amazed at all they do and want to do my part to help them grow so they can offer even more amazing things to the community.

Indie Author: Thoughts on Kindle Unlimited

When I first published my book, I spent a lot of time researching and debating with myself what would be the best place to publish. I initially thought going wide would be the best choice for me because nearly every site I ran across that talked about Kindle Unlimited made it sound like it was really only beneficial to authors with multiple books. One of the things I never really saw mentioned was the fact that if you don’t go Kindle Unlimited with Amazon, you can’t take advantage of their advertising.

When I wasn’t getting any sales on any platform besides Amazon, I decided to just try going the Unlimited route and see what happened because I wanted to be able to at least see what having access to that kind of advertising would do for me, if anything. It definitely wasn’t going to harm sales that weren’t happening.

I have now been running a very low budget ad on Amazon for about a week now and in that time, I’ve nearly doubled the total number of sales I’d gotten since I released my book. In the grand scheme of things, those are still some pretty small numbers, but my sales are paying for my ad which make this test run more than worth it. It is also ridiculously exciting to see my book selling.

I had planned on only running this ad for about a week and a half because I had a specific amount I wanted to spend on this test run. Seeing how well it is doing so far, I’m going to extend it until the end of September. The really cool thing about how these ads work is that you can pick where you want to be placed, I’m going with a targeted ad in my specific genre, as well as how much you want to spend per day. You can also make adjustments on the fly if you see something isn’t working for you, including changing the end date.

So far, I’m extremely pleased with this option. Especially the fact that I can do a really inexpensive ad (initial budget for this test run was $60) that looks like it will pay for itself if the current trend continues. A lot of other advertising options I’ve looked into are hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars. For someone with a book in a tiny genre and only one, those options just aren’t feasible for me.

With the results I’ve seen so far, this is something I would highly recommend for any indie author looking to get their book seen and improve their rankings on Amazon.

Oh… it also helps that you get paid for those KU reads as well. It looks like I’ve only gotten a couple so far, but considering I’ve JUST started this, I’d say that isn’t doing too bad.