Book Promotion — What’s Working at Amazon in 2013?

| Posted in Amazon Kindle Sales |


Amazon isn’t the only place to sell your ebooks, and I’ve had some luck with Apple and Kobo of late, but it remains the big dog in the house, and most of the questions I get in regard to book sales (as in, how do I make more of them?) center around Amazon.

Amazon has made some changes in the last year that have had an impact insofar as what works and what doesn’t for getting noticed over there. Let’s go over those first, because I still see people telling authors to do these things.

What’s not working at Amazon any more?

1. Tagging

At the end of 2010, when I was getting started with e-publishing, people had the option to tag books with keywords at the bottom of a sales page. For example, my first Emperor’s Edge novel was tagged with fantasy, steampunk, high fantasy, and a few others. In theory, the more customers who tagged a book as, say, “steampunk” the more likely that book would turn up in an Amazon search for steampunk.

Believing this to be true, a lot of authors exchanged tags with each other (I’ll tag your book with whatever keywords you wish if you tag mine.) As you might imagine, Amazon twigged to this. My understanding is that it may have worked back in 2009 or so, but even by the end of 2010, the tags didn’t seem to mean much.

As someone who came into publishing with some Google SEO experience, I fiddled with descriptions and such to see what worked on Amazon, and putting your keyword in the book title spot seemed to count for a lot more than anything to do with tagging. (Today, that still works, but read the rest of my post before you try that, because Amazon seems to be cracking down on keywords in titles now.) As you might notice if you try to tag a book, it’s been phased out as of this writing, so it’s not even an option. Maybe Amazon knew the only people using the feature were authors.

I just did a search for steampunk in the Kindle Store, something I haven’t bothered to do for a year or more, and EE1 comes up 6th. It’s the first book in the results that doesn’t have “steampunk” stuck in the title. I don’t think it’s in the book description either (it’s really not a typical steampunk book, so I never plugged it as such on Amazon). So why does it come up? I’d guess Amazon is looking at all the content on the page (title, blurb, and reviews) to come up with a book’s keywords. In my case, it must all be coming from the reviews. Also, I believe sales rank + total reviews are taken into consideration (though not as highly as a keyword in the title as the books placed above mine don’t have a lot of reviews).

I want to point out that very few people seem to shop for books on Amazon by plugging keywords in the search box, especially when it comes to fiction, so it’s really not worth agonizing over this stuff anyway.

2. The “Post-Free KDP Select Bounce”

As you probably already know, KDP Select is a program authors can opt into at Amazon. In exchange for making their ebook exclusive to the site, Amazon will enroll it in the Prime lending library, allowing authors to make money from borrows. Authors, however, have largely been enrolling because the program allows one to make an ebook free for up to five days a quarter (author’s choice of when), thus making timed sales and giveaways practical. For the first half of 2012, authors who made their books free and advertised on external sites were able to get huge numbers of downloads (thousands, if not tens of thousands in popular genres) and, for a while, Amazon was counting those as highly as sales. When an ebook returned to its regular price, it would shoot up the sales ranking charts and start appearing in Top 100 (often Top 20) category lists all over the place, thus affording it great visibility at Amazon. This resulted in previously unknown authors getting huge (paid) sales for weeks afterward, like go out and buy a new car huge sales.

Well, Amazon wised up and started making those free downloads count for a lot less. Here’s an interview I did with fellow indie Ed Robertson (someone who tracks stats on Amazon with a passion) last year that discusses this in further depth. I caught him on a recent interview on the Self-Publishing Podcast, and it sounds like what he said last May is holding true thus far.

3. Using other authors’ names in your book description

This wasn’t as wide-spread a phenomenon as the others we’ve discussed, but every now and then you’d come across an author who wrote something like, “for fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and X, X, X authors” in their blurb. Some of these may have been innocently added, but more authors (especially those listing a chain of authors) were likely hoping that their book would come up in searches for those other authors.

I doubt this was particularly effective anyway, but authors doing this are apparently starting to receive cease-and-desist emails from Amazon. (I first saw such a letter posted on the Kindleboards, but can’t find the link to the thread now, so please let us know in the comments if this has happened to you.)

4. Using keywords in the title field

If you checked out my steampunk search when we were discussing tags in earlier, you probably saw that this still works. Most of the books that appear on the first page of the search results have “steampunk” somewhere in the title.

But I’ve again seen emails posted on the Kindleboards about Amazon cracking down on this practice. It sounds like it’s okay if the keyword is a legitimate part of your title (i.e. it’s on the cover of your book) but not if it’s an afterthought tag stuck on when you’re filling out the upload wizard. As of now, only some people have received letters, and there are still many examples of it being done in the Kindle Store, so it may just be something the quality assurance team is checking on an individual basis.

5. Easily finding big venues for advertising your free ebooks

While the KDP Select post-free bump may have been seriously downgraded, there are still perks involved in giving away a lot of free ebooks at once, especially in a Book 1 of a series (I just ran a promotion myself and have been seeing increased purchases of my Books 2-5 of late). Not only do the people who see the ad see your book, but, for a time, your book will appear at the top of the free charts, thus giving random folks browsing on Amazon more chance of running across it.

Amazon, however, recently made some changes to its affiliate program, threatening to punish (by denying affiliate income) large blogs/forums/mailing lists that move 20,000+ free ebooks in a session. Most affiliates will be unaffected by this, but for the big guys, i.e. the folks with whom we’d wish to advertise, they’re having to go back to promoting more non-free books and limit their freebie plugs. From what I’ve heard, this includes ENT, Pixel of Ink, and the Kindleboards at the least (please correct me if I’m wrong about any of these, or let me know if there are other big sites effected), meaning it’ll be harder to get advertising for your free ebook going forward. As of yet, Bookbub doesn’t seem to have changed its policies.

So what the heck IS working for gaining book visibility at Amazon right now?

Sorry, this has been a lot of gloom-and-doom stuff so far, folks. The good news is that the legitimate stuff that’s always worked (releasing good books, gradually building up a fan base, collecting readers’ email addresses for a mailing list, and promoting the next book to those loyal readers while continuing to collect new ones along the way) still works and should always work.

Everything I’ve talked about up above has really been one form of gaming the system or another. Hey, you can’t blame an author for trying, right? But in the end, it’s very hard to build a lasting career over tricks that work one day but don’t the next. You certainly wouldn’t want to quit your day job until you had that mailing list of legitimate fans built up, giving you some certainty that you’re going to sell at least X number of books each time you release a new title.

But, as far as book promotion in 2013 goes, here’s what I’ve done that’s still working and a little of what I may try going forward:

Having some work available for free and putting it out everywhere — Right now, My first EE ebook is available for free at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, Sony, and Diesel. The first three EE audiobooks are free at Podiobooks and iTunes. They’re also in Audible (not free). I’ve recently started posting my fantasy novel on Wattpad in a serialized version. I vaguely remember posting free work to Scribd, Feedbooks, and other big sites that accept freebies too. The more places that people can stumble across your work the better. I’m mulling over ways to get my “brand” into app stores soon too.

Advertising where it’s effective — It’s hard to get into Pixel of Ink and ENT right now, and, as mentioned above, it could become even harder for those advertising free ebooks (I’m not above advertising a non-free one and ran a campaign for Encrypted not that long ago). Bookbub, though, is really delivering for folks right now, despite high prices in popular categories (I guess I’m lucky — or is it unlucky? — that SF/F isn’t as popular). It takes a certain number of reviews and some solid “pro” cover art to get in, but they don’t book more than a month out, so it’s easier to time promotions. When I start in on my next series (this fall, perhaps?), I’ll probably revisit Goodreads advertising too (if you check out that post, keep in mind that it’s over two years old — most of the tips should still apply but I’ll want to update it the next time I start a new campaign there).

Writing more books — This is the best marketing you can do, and it’s the thing that makes advertising and some of the other time-consuming methods of promotion more “worth it.” When you have a whole series out, or multiple series, there’s a chance that a new reader won’t just buy one book from you; they’ll buy a set, maybe even everything you’ve got. It’s also what makes it possible to make a living as an independent author. If you sell 300 copies a month of a $5 ebook, you’re making a thousand dollars. Not too shabby. Now if you have 20 books that sell 300 copies a month, you’re earning six figures a year. 300 sounds like a ton when you’re starting out, but it’s maybe a 15,000 sales ranking at Amazon right now. That means 14,999 books are selling more copies than that this month, many of them belonging to independent authors. You could be up there one day, if you’re not already.

All right, gang, I’ve rambled on for long enough, and my next book is waiting to be written. If you have any tips or want to comment on the ways of Amazon, please do so below. Thank you!


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Comments (60)

Great post. I’m an indie technical book writer. So I like to see what is working for fiction writers and if it will apply to technical books. It seems like a lot of authors are going full self pub and skipping Amazon altogether (while also charging $30+ per book). I’m starting to get more advanced about getting data to track what actually happens with my funnel.

Fun stuff, SEO is a never-ending game.

An app??? Seriously??

It could be trivia, with varying levels.
Easy: Who blew up a (steam engine variety) in (Book)?
Medium: Who’s mother enjoyed reading Lady Dourcrest novels?
Hard: In Deadly Games, what was the name on Sicarius’s “borrowed” enforcer uniform?

Or maps, like the Discworld app that I am seriously pondering buying a used iPad just to be able to enjoy.

Or a game, like “Sicarius! Run!” where you try to escape and get points for how long you survive. ๐Ÿ˜›

Hehe, I was thinking of “Assassin Academy,” a game with Sicarius as the instructor. Hey, he has to do something when he retires. ๐Ÿ˜›

Or (less expensive to have created) some free extras to go with the books.

I just did the classic KDP Select free day + BookBub ad, and I thought it worked great. My feeling is: OK, fine, it probably doesn’t work as well as it used to (the big bump in sales was short-lived, and I certainly couldn’t buy a car with the money I made), but that’s a long way from saying that it doesn’t work at all (the ad certainly paid for itself, and I came out of it with a higher level of sales). It’s a matter of expectations, I guess–if you’re looking to get rich quick, you’re going to be disappointed, but that’s pretty much true of writing in general.

Congratulations on your success with the promo, Mary!

From what Ed said in the interview, I gathered that one still can get a bump of sorts; it’s just that those free downloads count for about 10% of a sale instead of 100% now, so it takes a huge amount of downloads to make a big blip in the paid rankings later. Bookbub’s a rare beast, too. Without them or a plug on one of the other huge sites (basically just Pixel of Ink and ENT right now), not many people can get the 8 or 10,000 downloads on their free days that it takes to really move one up the paid rankings when they come off free. I’m hearing that Bookbub is quite selective, too, especially in the popular categories.

Yeah, my other free days were combined with Facebook ads, and at best got a tenth of the downloads the BookBub ad gave me (and they cost more). Book Bub is selective–I had to ask more than once–but VERY cost-effective if you get in.

Congratulations on your success! You’re an inspiration ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know what works for me because I’ve only just started (I released my first novel and a short story collection last month), but I do have a plan.

The foundation of the plan is to put out as many books as I can, and make them as good as I can, and make them available everywhere. ๐Ÿ™‚

Plus I’m trying an experiment with KDP Select – I’ve got the short story collection in there, and it includes a brief sample and Amazon buy link for the novel. I’m just finishing up a five-day free promotion on the story collection. The idea is to keep a story collection in Select and do a five-day giveaway timed to go with each novel release, to promote the new novel (with a sample of the new novel and Amazon buy link in the back of the story collection). I’ll try that for a few 90-day Select cycles and a couple of novel releases and see what happens.

The final part of the plan is time and patience. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once I have more books out I’ll think about making one perma-free. I’m working on a series planned for release in 2014, so maybe I’ll make the first book in the series free across all channels.

So I’ll see what happens. Right now I don’t care if it takes a while to start to really see any sales, because I’m having too much fun writing and having the opportunity to get books in front of readers and do it my way.

Sounds like a solid plan, Kyra. Good luck with it!

I’ve found that KDP Select is useful for getting reviews. I plan to use it for just one 3-month term, then upload my book everywhere non-Amazon. If you offer you book for free and 500 people download it, if just 5% write a review that’s 25 reviews not written by family and RL friends. Having a bunch of solid reviews should theoretically boost your sales over the long run.

Do you get a 5% review rate? Truly curious (not snarky), because when I did a KDP select promo in late fall/early winter I did in fact get around 500 downloads, but nary a one wrote a review. For all I know, the story is sitting unread on all those kindles. So I am very interested in hearing the experiences of others! (Because the story was newly released, it didn’t have any reviews – which meant I could not advertise it at BookBub. I tried!)

5% reviews seems a tad optimistic, but if you want to reach Amazon reviewers without spending hours finding out those interested in your genre AND providing contact details, here is the review of a program that does the search ( and only the search) for you
You still have to contact the reviewers and send them a copy etc, but, at least, you know they are approved reviewers…

Thanks for the link William, but it doesn’t seem to work could you post it again please? Thanks

From what I’ve read, people tend to get less favorable reviews from people who got the book for free. Maybe it’s not true for everybody, but it makes sense that people who wouldn’t pay to buy your book will try it for free, even though it’s not exactly their cup of tea, and then they’ll leave a review that reflects that it wasn’t their cup of tea going in…

Thank you, as always, for your terrific tips and marketing information!

It’s also worth mentioning that Amazon is deleting any questionable reviews it comes across now, thanks to John Locke and other idiots buying scads of fake reviews. It sounds like they’ll delete reviews from anyone who shares your last name, lives at your address, or who happens to be an author you reviewed at some point…

Aaron M,

Amazon also, during their ‘big purge’, deleted many reviews from genuine readers and reviewers with no connection whatsoever to authors.

So frustrating. I’d love to know what their logic was, as I lost all my top reviews on one book. Too much enthusiasm was suspicious?? Spoke with several other authors who had similar experiences.

Cathryn Cade

Thank God for Kobo and Goodreads, where my books have many reviews and are allowed to keep them.

I’m not a Kindler, I own a Sony and a Nook, but I want to add a thumbs up for Bookbub. I’m a subscriber and lookf orward to the daily e-mail I get. I have found Bookbub to be an inducer, that is, I find it induces me to buy ebooks even though I do not need to add to my to-be-read pile (it already exceeds 2000 ebooks). I generally buy (on average) 2 ebooks a week via Bookbub, and 1-2 freebies.

I like Bookbub because it allows me to select my areas of interest (largely SF&F and mystery), and the stores in which I am interested (Smashwords and B&N). Because I have such a large backlog of ebooks, Bookbub has become my primary source for new purchase leads.

It’s definitely cool that Bookbub will include links for all the stores where the ebook is going to be on sale. So many of the sites just plug in the Amazon link.

I really like that, too. Bookbub kickstarted my B&N sales very well when I ran The Storm Dragon’s Heart. Still have small but steady sales there. Unfortunately, Kobo slipped and despite a 3-day lead in Kobo Writing Life, my price didn’t get updated in time. Which was strange because other price changes and text edits went live super fast.

Thank you for always writing such good posts. Even though I started indie publishing a few years back now, I just now have started looking into marketing and such. As I learn new things, I tend to end up chuckling at myself as well. When I published my work I was sure the tag words I used were going to be so important for people finding my book. What if I chose the wrong ones? But now it’s on your list of not too important at Amazon. I love the publishing myself as a hobby, and I am finding it very interesting at all the thing there are to learn, especially with the interworkings of Amazon.

I’ve had good success with Bookbub on 3 books with a total of 70,000 plus downloads and a few weeks of good sales(for me) afterwards. Also, most importantly, a bunch of reviews. The number of reviews per free downloads is pretty low though so you have to get a lot. And Bookbub is pretty selective, particularly in the thriller category. They’ve turned me down a couple of times. I think in the less popular categories it might be a bit easier.
Lindsay, I was wondering about making something perma free. I’m working on a YA series and not sure how to get Amazon to list it free permanently. Do you just have to make it free elsewhere and Amazon eventually catches up?

Yup, that’s it Robert. Here’s a video (the only one I’ve ever done :P) I recorded a couple of years ago about it, but you basically just make the book free on Smashwords and have them distribute it. Apple & Kobo also allow you to list an ebook for free if you upload directly at their sites.

Thanks, Lindsay! Appreciate it.

Just a heads up, Smashwords will not distribute to Amazon until you get X amount of sales (I can’t remember what the minimum was). They announced it in a fairly recent blog post or email. The best way to get a book permanently free on Amazon, according to two author friends who do it frequently, is to make it free everywhere else and keep notifying Amazon that a competitor has it for free, and encourage friends and readers to notify Amazon as well.

Right, that’s what I meant to imply, Elizabeth.

I’ve never run into *anyone* who’s gotten into Amazon through Smashwords. It’s so easy to upload to Amazon that I can’t imagine why anyone would bother paying a percentage to a third party anyway, but that’s another story. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ed was on the Self Publishing Podcast again last week, episode #45, to talk about the affiliate change.

I get the feeling that ebook promo is stabilizing, and that the “magic bullets” of the past two or three years are going to be unusual compared to whatever comes next. Recommendation and bargain sites like POI and ENT will continue, but Amazon is going to crack down on anything that lets one book rocket above the rest regardless of quality.

I can’t really say that I’m sad about that, Jim. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another great post, Lindsay~thanks. Though my eyes started crossing a little toward the end there, I’ll be back to re-read and absorb more later. It’s so helpful to hear about someone “in the trenches,” especially when so much of the marketplace “rules” seem to change overnight. Thanks for the helpful info!

I can’t speak to what works for sales since I’m only heading in to releasing my first books this year. I can speak to what has worked on me as a reader, and that’s making the first book in a series free. I’ve discovered more than one author that way whose books I loved enough to buy the non-free rest of the series, including yours. Because I’m on a budget, I don’t know if I would have tried those series without the free starter.

Thanks for another great post.

Great info- I’ve had good results with Goodreads book giveaways. Gained several reviews.

I’m really enjoying your frank assessment of the daunting world of indie publishing. You have helped me so much in making a career for myself. I owe it to you for helping me realize the first steps needed and will always enjoy reading your insightful posts. EE is awesome by the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, Luis! I hope you continue to do well. ๐Ÿ™‚

I found your very first comment about “what works” very interesting. “Having some work available for free and putting it out everywhere.” That is the business model that Baen Books has used for more than a decade and it made them the most prominent sf/f publisher in the nation. After their recent deal with Amazon, they were forced to radically cut back what they make available for free and it will be interesting to see just how much damage that decision will do to their overall bottom line.

Really wonderful and informative. Thanks for sharing your secrets ๐Ÿ™‚

Great update. It makes perfect sense that Amazon is changing stuff all the time and stuffing the glitches. The more successful it becomes the greater the danger of it becoming a playground for the wrong kind of people, for manufactured blockbusters. It may stay this way: six months for everybody to figure it out, six months for Amazon to change everything. Repeat indefinitely. Anyway, your post has sharpened my eye for this, so thanks!

Thanks for this – very helpful. One question: How were you able to make The Emperor’s Edge permanently free on Amazon? I thought the 5 days on KDP Select was the only way to offer free content.

Julian, I made it free everywhere else, and Amazon price matched it to zero. Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords all let you list free ebooks in their catalogs.

Many author friends of mine have made their books free on Smashwords, ARe, etc, and reported it to Amazon to price match and no luck. How long did it take you?

I have a short story that I have been trying to make free for months now on Amazon, but with no success.

I’ve pointed Amazon to B&N, Apple etc where the story is free, and got 2 friends to do it too. But it has been almost 3-4 months now, and the story still isn’t free.

Do you know if amazon have stopped making books free now?

James, from what I’ve seen it has to do with the popularity of the book. When I made Flash Gold free elsewhere back in 2011, it took a couple of weeks for Amazon to notice and price match. When I did EE (which has sold a lot more copies and had a lot more reviews even then), it only took two days. I’ve heard of it taking months for other folks when their book hasn’t had many sales over its lifetime.

I think it’s all handled by Amazon’s bots. I’d guess pages that are linked to by lots of other pages (i.e. appear Top 100 lists and in the also-boughts of other popular books) get indexed more often. (That’s how it works with websites and Google.) If my theory holds true, the only thing to do is wait and try to sell more books in the meantime.

Good luck!

I think the algorithm for the price match bots has changed. In February 2012, I raised the price on one of my longish short stories from 99 cents to $2.99. It took about 4 weeks for the price to be updated on Amazon, because the lower price lingered at other sites.

In August 2012, I decided I wanted that same story on permafree. I made it free on Smashwords. It took about 2 months for that price change to make its way through to B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc. But, here in March 2013, the story is not yet free on Amazon.

The story is selling no differently than it was during the first price change, but the price bots have yet to make any changes on Amazon.

Same here. Can’t get a short story free on Amazon despite it being free elsewhere. But it is a short story and I have probably sold 50-100 novels for every copy of that story I sold. So it’s not likely to generate a ton of attention. Surprisingly, I sold about 10 copies at $2.99 last month on Amazon despite it being free everywhere else.

I’ve heard a few authors say it’s taking them longer than it used to for perma-free to happen. Who knows? I think Amazon wants to move away from free so they may be making it harder. Or it may just be some random thing.

Interesting to learn that your experience is similar.

I found what works well in the long run is doing what other authors are not doing.

In fact, often I do just the oppposite of what the so-called “book experts” say that authors should do. I know that I can bring out two books that will each sell over 100,000 copies without my using social media for marketing or even bringing out ebook editions of the two books. (Book experts who say “print is dead” are either lying or brain dead!)

Insofar as making an ebook sell well on Amazon, the best tactic is bring out a great book and have it be a success in its print edition. For example, I self-published my “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” in 2004. I waited until it had its best year ever in 2012 with 18,600 copies sold in its print edition. Then I placed it as a Kindle edition in January of this year. The Kindle edition has been doing quite well selling an average of 10 copies a day and earning me around $6 a copy in royalties or around $60 a day. (I refuse to cheapen the book by selling it at a price of 99 cents or 2.99 or even $7.99.) I did no special promotion for the Kindle edition.

In the end, the best tactic is to write a great book, market it well so it sells several thousand copies, and then have word-of-mouth advertising take over.

Ernie J. Zelinski
International Best-Selling Author
“Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free”
Author of the Bestseller “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
(Over 175,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and the International Bestseller “The Joy of Not Working’
(Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

Great post! And timely. I’m releasing a full-length novel on the 18th of March after having pretty good success with short stories and a bundle. I’ve played with KDP and have done very well twice and bombed three times. I am now weaning myself out of the KDP program and trying to build audiences everywhere rather just at Amazon. My new release on Monday is the first that will be offered everywhere and not enrolled in KDP. Kind of scary, yet, exciting. I hope it works.

I feel like the KDP keeps us too locked in for too long. I understand why Amazon does it, but as authors, I have to wonder if it isn’t hurting us more than we think. I’m looking forward to being offered everywhere.

Hi Lindsay – I’m new to your blog, but found this post very helpful and also read a couple of your previous posts which were great. Your information seems to be up to the minute. I ran a free promo in February, and I’m in the process of setting up an April promo. The landscape has changed dramatically with Amazon’s new rules, so I’m adding a few paid ads to run after the promo. May I ask where you advertised Encrypted, and if you were satisfied? Thanks!

Hey Vicky,

I dropped Encrypted to 99 cents in December for a Bookbub ad and more than made my money back in the extra sales. I’ve tried Kindle Nation Daily in the last six months, but barely saw a blip, even for a freebie. I haven’t done an ENT ad for a while, but I’ve heard they are still solid if you can get a spot. Same for Pixel of Ink (but I don’t think they’re accepting advertisements at the moment).

Good luck!

Thanks Lindsay!
I have a Bookbub ad scheduled for my upcoming free promotion. Iโ€™ve heard ENT is still good also, but they are sold out of Book of the Day spots for 2013 and are only taking submissions for free or .99 books. I have a Kindle Nation Daily ad scheduled for late April. Hope I see more than a blip. Wish Iโ€™d spoken with you first! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and I meant to mention, Pixel of Ink is still taking free submissions, but you’re right, they’re closed to bargain book submissions at the moment.

[…] Book Promotion: What’s Working at Amazon in 2013? by Lindsay Buroker (@GoblinWriter) […]

[…] Book Promotion: What’s Working at Amazon in 2013? (Lindsay Buroker) […]

Thanks for a great article – and equally as great discussion!
I have just published my first book and have been documenting all the steps I have been taking to promote it ( ) – but I wonder if anyone could shed some light on why I might have been rejected by Bookbub. They really didn’t give me a reason and I assumed it was due to only 8 reviews (I have 14 now) – or maybe it was the book cover? I really wasn’t that bothered when they rejected me – as the book had only been out 2 weeks – but now that I see above how much success some have had with them…I am kind of curious. Should I re-submit when I have more reviews? Or in your experience, once rejected you are done? Anyways, if anyone has any thoughts you can contact me at – or via my webby:

[…] Buroker discusses the changes at Amazon: the bad, the good, and what’s stayed the same. It’s one of the few that seem to have […]

[…] Book Promotion: Whatโ€™s Working at Amazon in 2013? (Lindsay Buroker) […]

Why not also offer your fan base and “enhanced” book in the form of an App? Add video or audio clips of you reading certain highlights. Add in graphics etc… No too hard to code (or outsource!) and can easily be ported to the iPad, Kindle Fire HD and Windows 8 PC’s….

Lindsay, I liked what you wrote above, very straight forward and informative. and you knew when to stop.
Now, I’m very happy to have given my work exclusive to amazon. My 1st book ‘For the Love of My Mother’ is going well at the moment. So it should, it’s a cracking story. I’d even go so far as to say it’s better than the story as told in the film ‘Philomena’. I know because like the film story I was a lost son for more than 30 years and lived through hell, but thanks to my mother’s unwavering determination we both come up smiling.
My follow on book, ‘Eggshells & Broken Dreams will also be available on Kindle in two weeks.
I wish all of you success, in whatever your careers, and happy reading. J.P Rodgers

Just had a wonderful message from an avid reader who’d finished reading my first book ‘For the Love of My Mother in the Australian outback, wanting to know where they could get more of my work. It lifted my spirits no end to be able to say and my second book ‘Eggshells & Broken Dreams’ is now available as an ebook in the remotest parts of Australia, thanks to Kindle and the INTERNET.
Well done to everyone.

Hi Lindsay,

Firstly thanks so much for the time you have invested in providing advice for your indie colleagues across your pages. It has been a real help in me finally getting my act into gear and publishing my work “Soul of the Sorcerer” on KDP. (after 15 years of it gathering dust!)

The two books have been live since 20th April and I have sold 125 books (18 of book), which I was pleasantly surprised at! I am still wrestling with when to do a freebie promotion on book one, but I am writing to you today as an indie baby with a question on how to deal with bad reviews.

It’s best to show you what I mean:

First review was very positive
“5* The first unputdownable fantasy book I’ve read in a long time, good story with some unique ideas on magic, brings something new to the genre.”

Then I have these two on (which unfortunately combine to give a 2*. First is almost the best bad review you could ever read!

“3* This is a good book, the flow of the story is smooth and while the depth behind the world is not as deep as i would like i still enjoyed it.

Now for the bad part, the main character is pretty good, a person who has integrity and seems to be smart with some imagination thrown in. The problem I ran into though is that after going through the book and reading 93% of it, i find myself unable to read any more. The book was amazingly great up until this moment and i literally did not put this book down for hours. Now I just feel betrayed by the author for building up the main characters personality and then just throwing it out the window. It is just disappointing. Maybe in a month or a year i will finish this book but for now it just leaves a sour taste in my stomach.”

followed by (pasted direct so spellos not mine)

“1* This cod have been a very good story, providing the author possessed a healthy moral compass.
The monks in this world having a very loose moral and complete sexual freedom to play up with they good looking apprentices or serving girl, which is very unusual behaviour from this type of hierarchy where spiritual and magical wisdom is taut.

The other letdown when the Magicians are very restricted using new magic spells.
Many other thinks has put me off in this book.”

I guess it’s human nature to feel the hurt of the negative over the joy of the positive, do I just need a thicker skin?

Kind regards

Terry B

Hey Terry,

It’s definitely tough to deal with the negative reviews. It helps when there are more positives than negatives to tip the scales, but for some reason we always remember the critical comments a lot more than the praise. At least in the case of your example, it seems to be more of a difference in world view or just personal preferences rather than a criticism of the writing/grammar/plotting/pacing/etc.

I’d just keep plugging away. Good luck!

sorry my email website is not .com

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