Tag Archives: Amazon

What I Do and Don’t Know about Amazon Reviews and Rankings

Way back I said I would share some stuff I learned about publishing a book. A lot has gone on in my life in the past couple of months, so I got a little behind in my spring plans. Nevertheless, I will share the little I’ve learned about the subject of Amazon reviews and rankings with you. I was so ignorant that I didn’t realize how important reviews are to book sales.

Actually, this post is more about what I don’t know about Amazon.

But I used to know even less. To those of you I had to be asked to write an Amazon review for, I’m sorry you even had to ask. If I read your book, and particularly if I reviewed it on here, I should have known to go write a review on Amazon. All it really takes is one or two sentences and a star rating. Mea culpa. Or maybe it’s my bad today.

I’ve heard–and so far this is merely rumor because how Amazon really operates is a mystery even to those who purport to have figured out the formula–that one has to have 25 reviews on Amazon for one’s book to attract any attention from Amazon and perhaps be moved up where a stranger might type in, say, “turtles as pets,” and see the link for your book that rhapsodizes on turtles as pets.

I’ve also heard that it’s important for people to click that “why, YES, this review was extremely helpful to me” (or whatever it’s called) button on Amazon after each positive review.

I have seen many books without any reviews. How can that be? After a writer puts all that effort into writing a book, not one person can write a review of it? I’m having a hard time getting my mind around this phenomenon.

A writer is also supposed to create an Author Page at Author Central on Amazon. Do you know how many writers don’t bother to do this? I guess the idea behind this feature is that someone can use the information on that page to help decide if they want to purchase your book. It’s also helpful for when you publish your second book–and I would imagine that a book in a different genre might make it even more important. As readers, we want to know what makes a writer the right person to write that book.

Here is my Author Page. What else, if anything, should I share on this page?

When Doll God first came out it was on the list of Hot New Releases in Poetry for a few weeks. It was kind of exciting, but what did it really mean? I wonder if I sold even one book because of that list. And how would I know? Here’s the rub about Amazon: if you’re not self-published you’re not necessarily privy to much behind-the-scenes information. What I get is a graph that gives me an idea of the up and down of sales, with the ranking among 8,000,000 books. I’ve checked it out exactly three times. I just looked again and mine right now is 246,886 365,098 (changes fast). But then you know that because this is information that is available to all Amazon readers. You can see it on the page for Doll God under product details. By the way, that number doesn’t seem that terrible to me, especially for a poetry book (although I’d love it to be lower), but if my book was a novel or memoir I would like a much lower number/higher ranking. And besides, it’s a number that will continue to change. One day, when I am no longer doing anything to promote the book it could wind up at 7,999,999.

I would like to hear from people who are self-published. What does your information about sales, etc. look like? How detailed is it? Do you know what motivates a sale?

Do you have any other information about Amazon that you can share?

Lost MaryGold

 Lost MaryGold

 

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Filed under Book promotion, Book Review, Books, Doll God, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing Tips and Habits

Buttons, Hard Work, and Poetry

Dad is out of the nursing home! He told me that he listened to me (haha, this must be a first time!) and worked really hard to get out of there.  I had made him promise to try his best.

So he is home and that is a more comfortable place to be, although I know that he is still very uncomfortable. What a difficult recovery.

I found these buttons in a drawer yesterday. They belonged to my grandmother who was a great tailor/seamstress. My father’s mother. These buttons are at least 50 years old–some perhaps much older. I think my father gets a kick out of me saving stuff like this. When his mother passed away, he created a collage of scraps of her clothing that he hung on the wall. And he made Christmas decorations by pinning her costume jewelry onto styrofoam “Christmas trees.”

 

UPDATE: here is a link to a blog, Telling Family Tales, I’ve been reading for a long time. She has ideas to use those old buttons!!!

On another note, remember the “Feeling Confused” post by Cullen Bailey Burns?

I finally wrote a review of her gorgeous 2nd book. I loved Cullen’s first book Paper BoatIt came out in 2003, and I wrote a review for Amazon for it. Most of the poems were written after the unexpected and terribly tragic death of her only sister. The book was really an elegy for her sister–a beautiful tribute to a life lost too soon.

Now Cullen has a 2nd book out, Slip. And this book is a wonderful example of contemporary poetry. This the review I put on Amazon and Goodreads:

There is something holy in the language of the poems in Slip, Cullen Bailey Burns’ second book, as if it were a consecration of both representation and thought. Maybe it’s that so many poems call the reader to action: to imagine anew, to find nostalgia in surprising places, and to be as one with the “we.” Like any sacred ritual, the identities of leader and participant meld. I am swept up in the miracle of grief and transformation: “There’s no one to call for help. The deer / swam straight at that sun. / / Such transmutation: water, sky, gold.” If we move with life’s changes, we will occasionally stand for a moment in “the golden light that makes us beautiful.”

It’s really awe-inspiring and humbling how much wonderful poetry is being written and published year after year.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing