Friday, December 10, 2010

The Behemoth

Next week I shall return to shorter and fluffier posts involving all manner of sugary goods, I promise. But today I'm going to talk about something any writer, published or not, can't avoid: Amazon. Here are a few things I've learned:

1. If you or your publisher is going to run a promotion on Amazon, give yourselves (and Amazon) plenty of time! Prospera uploaded my Kindle file on 15th November, just in case there was an issue with the file, pricing or cover. Everything seemed fine, until a few copies were purchased and the bloody thing still didn't have a sales rank -- after a week (usually it takes anywhere from 30 mins to 24 hours for a rank to appear). Cue much stress, hair pulling, and back and forth with the Amazon team as the date for the Splash grew ever closer. Happily, it did get fixed a few days beforehand, and I was so thankful we'd planned ahead.

2. No one really knows how Amazon calculates the sales rank, but a few copies sold in a short period of time have the ability to move you up the rank faster than those same copies stretched out over a few days, for example. You need to keep selling at that pace, though, to maintain your rank or better it.

3. Clicking on tags relevant to your product help your product come up in searches. The more clicks you have, the more 'relevant' your product appears.

4. Novelrank.com (a third-party website which lets authors see how their novels are selling on Amazon) might be accurate for hard-copy sales, but it's not accurate for e-book sales. When compared with the numbers my publisher forwards me, it's out by a lot.

5. On Kindle, covers matter. A lot of books sell through the 'Others Customers Bought' towards the bottom of the page, where the book covers are displayed as thumbnails. If your title isn't easily readable, it could impact your sales. You may have noticed my cover changed recently... and that's why!

There you have it! Anyone care to add anything?

Have a great weekend!

71 comments:

  1. Hi Talli! Thanks for sharing all this with us. Really appreciate you taking the time to post everything that you've done and you've learned so we know the whole process. Cool post, Talli! :))

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  2. Talli, I hope Amazon soon conforms with the ePUB format. Santa bought me a NOOK for x-mas (early present) and I'm only able to order from Barnes and Nobel in the US, or other places with ePUB.

    At any rate, I'm so proud of you! You accomplished a lot with a lot of hard work! Please, let me know when the hard copy will be available in the UK. I hope they ship to France!

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  3. This continues to be a very informative series. Thank you for doing this for us!! :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  4. Um yeah ... Amzon pisses me off. Is that relevant? ;o)

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  5. I would think the visual of your cover is important too, to catch people's eye in the "Others Customers Bought" category. It almost serves as a first "hook" for the book.

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  6. Thats interesting Talli, is that your new paperback cover too? It looks great.

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  7. Hi,

    Nice cover change, and to be honest, a red cover catches my eyes every time.

    The white text on red too, is better than black! Great job, and fab for chick-lit.

    The cartoonesque covers one tends to see within this particular genre are often a bit teeny-boppy!

    For anyone thinking of going for romance covers (on books), I'm going to say I really don't like images similar to those I use on my blog.

    It's okay on a blog/writer website to have relatively sexy images, but one hell of a lot of people will not be been seen (dead) in public with a raunchy cover on show. Yet on e-book covers it doesn't matter, so how can one balance sense of raunchy content with elegant reserved cover? Umm, I'll stop there and do a blog piece on the subject later (few blogfests down the line).


    Good luck with this book Talli. I'm treating myself to a copy, and promise faithfully to do a review on my blog. I used to review books/movies for a magazine! :o

    best
    F

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  8. This is all excellent information we need to know. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  9. It's so great to be getting this stuff first hand. Thanks, Talli :)

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  10. Talli--I LOVE your red cover. I lobbied for a red cover on my third novel and got it. Unfortunately, I also got a woman's hand, complete with a red cuff bracelet and red nail polish. That would not have been a problem, except the novel was a thriller about a photojournalist searching for her father in Libya at the time of the US air strike....

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  11. Love the red cover! Stands out a mile among the competition.

    I had the same experience with Novel Rank and Kindle sales. While my Amazon.com Kindle sales were perfectly matched to the actual sales data, my .co.uk Novel Rank stats were nearly double the actual amount sold.

    I'm really impressed with this whole idea and how successful for you it was and will definitely be posting about you in the near future! The pioneer of ebook releases...! :-)

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  12. This is great information. I'm going to make sure my publisher knows about this. Especially because ebooks are so new.
    CD

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  13. Really interesting and helpful to read this!

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  14. i have clicked on many a book because of that "other customers bought" thing at the bottom

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  15. Very kind of you to share this with us. Much thanks.

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  16. Those things are good to know! And the new cover is cool.

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  17. Talli! Thank you that you for finding the time and give this information to everyone. For me, it is like rocket science, but it is very interesting.

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  18. I like the new cover! Your tips were right on, especially because I have bought things just because they were on Amazon's recommended reading list for me.

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  19. Great info! Your post prompts a question: how does one go about getting a design for an e-book other than paying a graphic artist an arm and a leg? Thanks!!!

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  20. Your organisation, planning and faultless execution have been amazing Talli - and you deserve all the success of the blog splash. I have to say that the great reviews and the enthusiasm of people who had read it / were in the middle of reading it, help to build the buzz and this was the oxygen to the fire of the blogsplash!

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  21. Thanks, all - I hope it's helpful for future reference!

    Kittie - I've just emailed you. My publisher took care of all of that, so I can't help you, but I sent you the names of some people who might.

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  22. I'm so impressed with your organisation and commitment but most of all with your confidence to go out there and market yourself and your book to such a heavyweight as Amazon. You're a glowing example to us all.
    btw there's an award waiting for you on my blog :-)

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  23. Talli, thanks for sharing this and all your other info about 'The Hating Game' and its progress - fascinating. Well done for all your hard work! x

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  24. Great tips! Especially #5. I never thought about that and I should have! I'm one of those people who looks at what others bought that was similar and make choices off it.

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  25. Thanks for informing us of this about Amazon, Talli! Really helpful...a lot of this I didn't even know about. D:

    ~TRA

    http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

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  26. wow, these are really great tips! THANKS! And I LOVE the new cover! The funny writing makes me think *more* of The Dating Game than it did before. (Before the girl silhouette made me think more Charlie's Angels... both of which, I love--so no worries!) here's to continued success~ <3

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  27. This is all fascinating, Talli.

    I learn so much from your blog posts, thank you. I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been to ensure everything was ready to go for 1st Dec and your blogsplash.

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  28. Love the new cover! The red really grabs attention.

    I try not to look at my Amazon rankings, but I was as annoyed as hell when my last e-book didn't get a ranking for the first few days after release. Always best to plan ahead!

    Here's to your continued success!

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  29. Thanks for all the information on Amazon!

    I'm glad the sales rank issue worked out in time for the release.

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  30. Ooo, this is AWESOME information. Thanks so much for sharing Talli! :)

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  31. I saw it yesterday and I thot my computer was playing tricks on me.

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  32. Amazon's ranking system is like one of the world's greatest mysteries, isn't it?

    Thanks for this info, Talli.

    Jai

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  33. Thank you for sharing your experiences and what you learned!

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  34. This interesting information here, as most of us were probably assuming things went smooth with the release. Glad everything worked out in time! I was wondering about the cover change. I thought it was just for the Kindle version and the hard copy would remain the same.

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  35. Not me - you got it all covered!!

    Wow!! What an amazing project this was - WELL DONE TALLI!!! Wow!! So much to take in and remember and do and other mad stuff that someone as unfocused and ditsy as me would have just curled up in a ball, hid in under the duvet and rocked back and forth hoping someone else would do all these!! LOL!!

    CONGRATULATIONS TALLI!!! You so deserve all the success in this world for Hating Game!!! Take care
    x

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  36. Thanks for that, I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. x

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  37. Talli,
    I really appreciate you taking the time to blog about the publicity & to do it so candidly. Thanks for your explanation about the recent cover change. I think this cover is a bit edgier which is good.

    It's also great that your publisher is so well organized & all was up & running by the big day.

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  38. Thanks Talli!

    Your cover makes me stop and look every time I see it somewhere. It really is striking.

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  39. Interesting stuff Talli! Thanks for all the background on your websplash, this kind of thing is what writers are trying to learn and do better constantly.

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  40. Thanks for the headsup Talli! I'm a long way from there, but fascinated with how all this works! Just to think two years ago I didnt even have an email account!

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  41. That's really interesting stuff! I wouldn't have known any of it! :)

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  42. Another really helpful post, thanks! I know I'm going to be coming back to these things later (well, I hope so!).

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  43. Thanks for sharing the ins and outs with us, Talli!

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  44. Thanks for sharing all this info, Talli! Have a great weekend! :)

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  45. Amazon is so intimidating and frustrating and scary and yeah!

    Thanks for the info! <3

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  46. That's interesting. But I did know that they are slow on the uploading thru a similar experience of a friend.
    I didn't buy your book yet but it's on my TBB list!

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  47. Thanks for all the tips! They should definitely come in handy one day.

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  48. I've never heard of Novelrank.com so thanks for the advice. I will look into using it but not for my e-Books. I'm still reading The Hating Game...it's my 20 mins 'me time' treat every evening. I don;t want it to end though...want it to last forever! Please could you decide what date you are having your London book launch party next year? We want to come but need lots of notice to sort childcare.

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  49. I sold my book through Amazon, but will think twice with my second book next year. Enjoyed your post and advice.

    Have a good week-end;
    Yvonne.

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  50. Great tips :D I'm looking forward to diving into the eBook thing after Christmas, so I best clue myself up on the ins and outs of it :)

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  51. You have an award today, Talli! I'm sure you've already received it twenty times this week...

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  52. Thank you for all of the tips, Talli!

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  53. Wow. I would have been freaking out about the sales rank thing. I'm glad everything worked out!

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  54. Thanks for sharing; YOU are so informative! Congrats on your success, so far! I think it will keep growing as you continue to share your slice of life with us~

    Happy Weekend to you n' yours~

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  55. Thank you for all this information. I am hoping it will come in handy for me someday...soon.

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  56. Ooh! I love the new cover - definitely very eye catching :D

    And thanks for this interesting post on Amazon!

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  57. Hi Talli .. great summaries .. and I'm sure so useful to all our potential authors ..

    The various issues that you've highlighted are very useful .. and the fact you changed your cover - it certainly stands out.

    Looking forward to the choccy delights next week .. cheers Hilary

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  58. 'Twas great to play a modest part in the 'spalsh' Talli. Glad it went well!

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  59. PS: never having heard of it before, I just put my Amazon link into NovelRank...

    I rather wish I hadn't bothered!

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  60. Who knew? This is all such great information, Talli. You were definitely a guinea pig for the rest of us. I'm so impressed with how you organized this whole thing. Awesome job!

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  61. novelrank dot com - thanks! - this list is good and informative - I don't follow my book sales closely as it is poetry and I never expected to sell a thousand copies as anything more than a paperweight.

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  62. Great tips, Talli - thanks so much for sharing with us! I hope to need to know this stuff someday. :)

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  63. Thanks for the insight, Talli. I love the dramatic red cover!

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  64. I am a new follower! YEAY!!! Hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Sincerely,
    Emma Michaels
    Emma_Michaels@hotmail.com
    http://EmmaMichaels.Blogspot.com

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  65. Interesting post Talli - and re the cover. Though I find covers tell youa lot about teh book these days.

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  66. Oooh, thanks for sharing this, Talli! I have no doubt I'm going to have to tackle the Amazon hurdle in a year or so, so I'm going to need all the inside knowledge I can get :-)

    I am so thrilled for you! You've done so much and worked so hard and I'm so glad The Hating's Game doing well - and will only do even better when the paperback comes out, I hope!

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  67. Great information! I love novelrank.com for keeping track of my novel's amazon ranking. It projects sales based on your ranking, although it's not completely accurate. And I love the new cover!

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  68. Wow, Talli. This was a very informative post. Thank you.


    I still feel like Amazon (among others) can scam authors BIGTIME on ebooks. (aside from people illegally downloading them. *sigh*) I hope they streamline and make transparent the sales (and process for ranking).

    Please, even for real books, the formula for any of the "best sellers" status decisions is SO convoluted. And they all have a different formula. *sigh*

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Coffee and wine for all!