Q: Is Amazon a friend or foe of authors?
This is a very good question – and one that I’m not sure what the answer is today, let alone two weeks from today. But I’ll share with you some of my observations and what I’ve recently read.
Amazon review removal:
Carolyn Howard Johnson’s free ezine “Sharing With Writers” (see signup on her site www.howtodoitfrugally.com) had the feature article “Amazon Removes More Reviews: Targets Individual Reviewers and Sites Causing Authors to Become Victims” by Irene Watson (managing editor of Reader Views) about Amazon’s removal of reviews. Read Irene’s article yourself (scroll down to the feature at http://www.authorsden.com/adstorage/1713/SharingwithWriters_Nov52011.pdf)
I’m glad I had read this when I suddenly noticed that the 34 reviews for my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” – reviews that had been there for years – had suddenly shrunk to 14. And the irony is that, if I correctly understand Irene’s article, most of those 20 reviews should NOT have been removed.
· The 14 remaining reviews (see http://budurl.com/MrsLTreviewsnew) have a good “star” rating so the book’s “star” rating doesn’t seem to have been impacted by the removal – and who reads 34 reviews anyway?
· I’m already embroiled in a struggle with Amazon over another issue: the inability of Amazon to get my technothriller book “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” added to my Amazon author page. (I will spare you the details of this issue.)
But all of you who have books on Amazon should be aware of this situation of reviews being removed.
“Tricking” Amazon into allowing you to make an ebook free:
Consider trying out a strategy of making one of your ebooks available for FREE even though it entails “tricking” Amazon into going along with this strategy.
Read this now to learn about trying out a free ebook strategy.
Based on this strategy, I have already changed the price for “Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders” to free on Smashwords (see http:/budurl.com/molliesandersebooks). But I have to wait until the price is changed on Barnes & Noble’s site (apparently takes up to two weeks) before I can try to convince Amazon to match the free price.
Submitting your book to Amazon Publishing:
Apparently you can actually submit your book to Amazon Publishing. On my LinkedIn “Book Marketing” group, on a thread about Amazon Publishing, Rebecca Byfield posted:
They do have a submissions email. This is the information I got back from them: Amazon Publishing is accepting submissions for the following imprints:We should be especially thankful to Rebecca for sharing this info because I’m not sure there is any place on the Amazon site that you can actually find this. (I tried.)
Montlake Romance: acquiring romance novels and romantic women's fiction (email@example.com)
Thomas & Mercer: acquiring mysteries and thrillers
Crossing: acquiring non-English language translation rights
Encore: acquiring previously self-published and out of print books
47North: acquiring sci-fi, fantasy, and horror novels
Proposals and manuscripts should only be submitted to one imprint or editor at a time. We will communicate internally to make sure your work finds its best home.
If you are represented by an agent, please have your agent submit your proposal.
Submissions should include the following information:
o Title and author in the subject line
o Short synopsis of the book
o Brief bio and bibliography of author
o Is this an exclusive submission?
o Complete manuscript (Word file, Times New Roman 12)
o Comparable authors or titles
o Marketing strengths
Amazon foreign sites:
I’m not going to deal with this topic this time except to say that there are now four Amazon sites that have Kindle – the U.S., the U.K., Germany and France. And I hear that the Italian and Spanish sites will soon be added.
Meanwhile, as of now your book’s reviews on the U.S. site cannot be automatically transferred to the foreign sites. Amazon expects you to ask the people who wrote reviews on the U.S. site to submit their reviews individually to each of the other sites.
And, yes, the reviews can be in English even on the foreign language sites, although you do need to be able to read enough of the foreign language to find where to create the review.
Bottom line about Amazon as a promotional tool for authors?
If you are an author with books on Amazon, you need to be vigilant about the advantages and disadvantages that Amazon offers you for promotional purposes. And you need to be aware that these can change without any notice.
© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com The company offers consulting on book publishing and book marketing – see http://www.millermosaicllc.com/book-marketing/
You can learn about Phyllis’ fiction and nonfiction books at http://budurl.com/PZMbooks