Episode 96 – Raw Links, Wish Lists, and the Long Tail

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Question of the Week: What’s the number one thing Amazon could change to improve your life as an author?

Bryan returned to a jam-packed show about long-term sales, wishful thinking, and keeping your reviews. After discussing Bryan’s limited-edition mailing list mastermind ( available at http://www.thousandsofreaders.com ), the self-publishing pair thanked their latest patron (L. Penelope’s Song of Blood & Stone – http://lpenelope.com/books/song-of-blood-and-stone/ ) and discussed tips on systematization, raw links, and conquering Kobo. The news stories included Audible’s new direction, the 50 Shades of Gray legal case, Fakespot, an Amazon wish list, and Long Tail sales. This week’s Question of the Week, “What’s the number one thing Amazon could change to improve your life as an author?”
What You’ll Learn:
How to chat with Bryan about growing your mailing list this month
What Sara Rosett learned from 10 years in publishing
Why raw Amazon links may help you keep your reviews
How to get more sales on the Kobo platform
What Audible is doing to grow its subscriber base
Why you should always read your contracts
Why spotting fake reviews may be tough for computers
What changes Amazon could make to support indies
How the Long Tail works to grow your author business
Links: 
Question of the Week: What’s the number one thing Amazon could change to improve your life as an author?

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  • What’s the number one thing Amazon could change to improve your life as an author?

    Give me the email addresses of people who buy my books. Or at least, give purchase the option to opt-in to give me their email address.

    • Daniel Martone

      Customer data is the number one commodity in the digital world… a very rare company would actually share that with anyone. The Zon will never give it up.

  • I think that dude with the link anatomy is wrong. I’ve seen people write about Amazon’s link anatomy before, but this link sums up my thoughts. http://carolynjewel.com/wordpress/2016/01/31/amazon-reviews-and-timestamps/

    Hat tip to Rachel (from another group), in case she stops by.

  • QOTW – If Amazon let authors do A/B split testing for things like covers and book descriptions. Now THAT would be a reason to go into select for 90 days.

  • htmljenn

    QOTW:
    I’d like to have more direct access to feedback that readers (might) be giving inside the Kindles – like the typo reports and the ability to respond to them more directly. Importing Goodreads reviews would be cool (if I had any hahah).

  • I just about spit out my coffee this morning when I heard my article on Amazon Link Anatomy. What an honor. Thanks!

    • Bryan

      Sure thing!

  • Spider McGee

    The obvious answer to the QOTW would be to actively promote my books.

    But the more plausible answer would be, to feature books on a more random basis. I don’t know how they figure things. Perhaps they push books based on what’s already selling, or what they think will sell. Who knows how these things work. But I’d like to see a completely random featuring of a couple of different books every day. It would cost them nothing to do, and there would be at least a chance that some lesser-known authors get a little exposure. This wouldn’t help me, necessarily, but the randomness would be exciting.

  • Woohoo! Thanks for the book shout out!

    QOTW – I agree with @jimheskett:disqus, if Amazon included some kind of opt-in button for people who buy our books to immediately subscribe to our newsletter OR offer a way for us to contact purchasers through their system and keep customer information private. Either would be amazing and about as likely as them raising the royalty rates.

  • C.Steven Manley

    I often have wished for the promotion code ability that Jim mentioned, but my biggest wish goes back to the category issue that you guys talked about on a previous episode. While I have nothing against Romance writers or readers, I’ve had people ask me why obvious romance books show up in areas where romance is not preferred. I think a reorganization of the Amazon categories to help customers drill down to exactly what they’re looking for would benefit us all.

  • Chris Syme

    This is a great question guys. To me it would be come up with a foolproof system for wedding out bad reviews and pirated books. Then, accompany that by a robust protest system for reviews and books that accidentally fail the formula but are legit. This would make the platform perfect in my mind. I know it’s a pie in the sky idea, but maybe the review thing would be a good start.

  • Stop deleting valid reviews. I worked hard to earn them.

  • A D Davies

    The ability to send an Amazon customer a free copy of my book directly to their Kindle from my dashboard would be great. Because Amazon would have a record of the gift, they should be able to keep an eye out for the scammy reviewers better – ie, which ones “read” the book in 10 mins, or don’t read it at all?

  • Bryan

    Man, these are all great. Good work guys!

  • therealcromar

    QOTW: I would like to see Amazon make a big push into fulfilling the role of traditional publisher, minus all the mistakes and stupidity that led to Amazon becoming so successful in the first place. Gatekeeping, getting physical books in stores, investing in hardcover (for proven sellers), and in-house editing are the major perks that draw new authors towards those horrible New York contracts. Amazon should jettison two bad industry ideas: one, they can base their gatekeeping on proven sales instead of an editor’s divination, and two, they can jettison up-front cash advances entirely. Advances have always been a scourge of publishing across all media, from indie movie distribution to music to books.

  • Perry Constantine

    I could easily write up a wish list of things I wish Amazon would do, so it was a little hard to figure out just one thing. But then I thought, what is the task I spend the most time on that is really annoying?

    And the answer is back-matter. I love Draft2Digital’s new option to add and automatically update back-matter, including links to all existing books. I publish about once or twice a month, and the process takes more and more time with each new book I release.

    It would save so much time if Amazon had a similar option. Instead of having to go through and update each and every book, I only have to update the back-matter in one place and then Amazon would publish that info to all my titles.

  • I was listening to a TED talk the other day that pointed out the problem with the way that Amazon Prime comes up with it’s new shoes (just using data) and why Netflix is doing so much better (using data and then adding humans into the mix to figure out what will work). That’s why Amazon’s show, Alpha House, was a flop, and Netflix’s show, House of Cards, wasn’t.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_wernicke_how_to_use_data_to_make_a_hit_tv_show