Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amazon Adventures

Welcome to "You're On Your Own" Authoring

Pardon me while I whine.

I've been trying to get Amazon to do a little "something-something" to help promote my books and it's like asking for water on the moon!

Yes, Amazon has been very good to me. Amazon, along with my brilliant and fierce literary agent, revived my novel writing career.  I also know that Amazon is very good to some authors because I see the bouquets of flowers and towers of snack food they've sent via Facebook posts. "Oh, look what just arrived from Amazon! These beautiful roses to congratulate me on my latest release!." That's an example of posts I've seen along with the photo of the gorgeous blooms. So, I decided to see if, in lieu of flowers, Amazon would maybe promote my first book in my series right before my second is released in September. The answer came swiftly -- nope.

Okay. Message received!

I scouted some of the "chosen" authors to see what they were doing that I wasn't. The answer, of course, is painfully simple. They sell more books and get considerably more reviews. I am ecstatic with my 26 reviews of "Through His Eyes." Or I was. Then I saw the reviews of the "chosen" authors. 950 reviews. 2,318 reviews. 1,009 reviews. 876 reviews.

Holy Cow! It's a wonder Amazon even bothered to answer me!

How do these authors manage to get so many reviews? It's astounding. I had to beg, plead, and barter for my 26 reviews! I hope those authors wake up every day saying, "I'm the luckiest so-and-so in the whole, wide world." Do it for us "little folks," okay?

I've recently worked with Amazon to do a boxed set of my "Too Tough" trilogy of western romances. Just to get a cover was a trial. I finally had to go look for one myself and buy it. Then my brilliant and fierce agent's associate (bless her darling heart!) added the lettering because Amazon just couldn't find a font that was readable on the book cover. We mentioned that we were probably going to offer my books on other sites (B&N) now that my exclusive contract was finished with Amazon and Amazon warned us that we couldn't use their book covers on other sites.

This was humorous to me because of three things:
1. Their covers are mediocre, at best. 
2. You can buy them on
3. Even though I could buy them and use them, I wouldn't. I'll buy much better ones.

I repeat. Amazon has been very good to me. However, I'm certainly not on their radar, so they're not the least bit interested in promoting my books. That's all up to me and my checkbook and credit card -- and believe me, they're both getting work-outs!

The irony of all this doesn't just lie with Amazon. It applies to all publishing. The authors who are promoted by publishers are wealthy and could actually well afford to promote their own books. The authors who desperately need a bit of help promoting their books have little money to spare and get no or precious little help from the publishers.

It's survival of the best-sellers and the most-reviewed. You have to climb to the top of the mountain before you can be seen by the promotion gods.