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Consistency seems to be the Key

July 10, 2013

For the past few months I’ve been juggling quite a few flaming torches, and unfortunately, haven’t been giving this blog of mine the attention that it deserves. While this is utterly unforgivable, I believe that it may have taught me something along the way. A pretty awful method of gathering information, mind you, but I’ll take it.

For the first time in a while, I checked out how my books were doing on Amazon. To no surprise, they’d fallen down the charts a good bit, both ending up in the low 600’s in sales rank (that’s the low hundred thousands…pretty far down). Earlier this year I was routinely charting in the 300-400,000 range, with highs near 60,000 when I released a new novel. Again, none of this was breaking news. What I did find interesting, though, was that the suggestions that normally accompanied my books had disappeared.

What I’m talking about are the books that Amazon suggests to a reader when they view a certain novel. They’re usually along the lower third of the screen, a bunch of covers lined up in a row. These are the books that others who viewed my novel would either view or purchase. A few months ago there more than 10 novels displayed with each of my books, works that readers may find interesting based on the shopping habits of other Amazon users. Some of these books were sci-fi and didn’t have any relation to my work, while others were in the same vein as APB and TCV.

Though the algorithms of Amazon are but a mystery to me, it would seem that books do not remain associated with other titles in any permanent manner, and that the “Also Viewed” bar is updated constantly in both directions. Books can be added or removed from the list as time passes. So it would appear that while Amazon can aid in spreading the word about a book when sales are high, they are equally adept at forgetting you exist when you’re not selling as much. Perfectly sound business principles, as Amazon is in business to make money and has to watch out for the bottom line.

Unfortunate though it may be, this is a great lesson. You’ve got to stay on top of things or you’re going to get passed by. Every day more and more novels are uploaded to Amazon, and to stand out from the sea of submissions, you have to keep the torch burning brightly, fed by activity. With that in mind, I’m going to hunker down in this storm (whoever is doing the rain dance around here needs to stop-it’s getting old) and continue revising my work in progress. I’m over half way done revising this, my third manuscript, and hope to have it out within a few months. After that, I’ve got 20% of the next tale finished, though it’s been languishing for so long now the paper may have turned to dust.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer (and all the wonderful seasonal brews that are out for these warm months). Drink up. As they say…Winter is Coming.

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