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Should Mom buy your book?

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to maintain a regular editorial schedule! The cancer drama has dimmed to a low hum. No more impending appointments (at least until November).

Good grief, there’s nothing worse than the inability to predict the future, eh? (Kidding.)

I know. We’re supposed to be flexible. But face it… stability sure feels good!

Watch for some fun projects on the horizon. Filbert Publishing just picked up two incredible authors, folks who’ll have some fab new releases. I’m more than excited to get the halls of industry (ha) up and running at full capacity. 😛

And on that note, I want to thank everyone who extended a hand of support during my latest cancerversary debacle. Creative entrepreneurs truly rock. 🙂

‘Til next time,

Beth 🙂

P.S. If you’re trying to write while chaos reigns around you, welcome to the club. This is how I worked through a good chunk of my cancer drama.


Let’s talk shop!

If you want to get a book published, whether it’s via traditional channels, self publishing or anything in between, this month will interest you. A lot.

You see, this is where I discuss a fundamental error most writers (and even seasoned publishers) make when they start their publishing journey. In fact, making this one decision will affect pretty much everything, every result, every marketing method, even the type of reader you attract… from that day forward.

I want to make sure you understand the pros and cons of each choice as well as how to tailor your marketing (and publishing schedule) for each.

So… let’s untangle these crazy, all important decisions. We’ll gossip (just a little). Perhaps have a little fun, too.

Let’s hang out at the Mocha Club.

Get more info here (and download a complementary issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter.

Just click here

“Mom bought my book!” Good idea or bad plan?
An excerpt courtesy of this month’s issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter

(Editor’s Note: Prior to this excerpt, I discussed Amazon Exclusivity, those mysterious algorithms, how to best market an Amazon exclusive book, reviews, and such. But this thorny issue is big… a mistake many new (and seasoned) authors make…)

Here’s something that surprised me. Back in the day, long before those darn algorithms ruled Amazon, it was standard practice to ask a family member (or two) to read your book and leave a review.

I mean really, what good mother (or father) wouldn’t leave a nice five star for their child’s opus? Turns out, that’s not such a good idea.

Firstly, if Amazon finds out a reviewer has a connection to you, that review’s going to disappear. With any luck, you (or your reviewer) won’t lose your account.

“Ah, but Amazon will never find out,” you may think.

Not true. From what I’ve heard, authors who have connected their Amazon account with any other application like (for example) Facebook, it turns out you just gave Amazon permission to take a gander at your friends list. And if one of your friends has left a review, Amazon’s nosy computers will delete at will.

I remember the day very well. I was purchasing a couple novels on Amazon and as I was checking out, a pop-up window invited me to connect my Facebook account with Amazon as a means of an “easier way to access my account.”

As I stared at that screen, I couldn’t help but wonder what those algorithms would do if Amazon had access to not only my Facebook friends list, “like” activity, and every group I belong to.

Despite the promise of an easier way to log in (up to that point, I’d never had difficulty getting in, so what the hey?) I thought it was prudent to keep that area of my life private from Amazon. I’m rather glad I made that decision.

That said, I won’t suggest whether you should connect various online accounts with other applications, that’s a choice you get to make.

But there’s another reason, a very compelling one, why you shouldn’t try to sell your book to anyone outside your intended audience… including friends, relatives, random Facebook buddies, etc.

“Also Boughts.”

Those darn Amazon algorithms are amazing. If you look at any Amazon page, preferably for a product that’s selling well, underneath the basic book information, you will find an entire line of books titled:

“Customers who purchased (BLANK) also bought…”

This group of books are affectionately called “Also Boughts.”

Let’s pretend I just purchased a dog training book. Let’s also pretend we’re Facebook friends.

You have a new sci-fi book coming out. I’ve never read sci-fi in my life. But, you send me a message saying, “Help a brother out. Buy my book. You’ll love it.”

I like you. So, I buy your book.

Guess what happens next?

If you guessed those smart Amazon algorithms kick in, you’d be correct.

Amazon would look at my purchase, it would say, “Hey! She just bought a book!” Then, it would place my dog training book right in the middle of your sci-fi page proclaiming:

“Customers who purchased ‘Space Rangers” also bought, ‘Potty Train Your Dog in Seven Days’!”

Then, if you were lucky enough to sell a few copies of your book, Amazon might even send out an email to folks looking to potty train their dogs, an announcement about your sci-fi.

How many copies of your space opera do you suppose would sell to puppy lovers?

Worse? Guess what happens when your book doesn’t sell well to that incorrect audience? Hint: It’s not a good idea to disappoint Amazon’s algorithms.

Here’s my point:

While treating these Amazon algorithms are very important for every author, they will make or break the career of a KU (Kindle Unlimited/Amazon exclusive) author.

KU authors not only have to play by the rules when it comes to reviews, they need to be careful to target their audience with a laser pointer.

In other words, you need all of your reviews to be legit according to Amazon specifications. You need all your buyers to be readers of your genre.

You need to ensure the algorithm deities have the best information available so they can properly help you sell your book.

Ah, but there’s something else. And this is really key…

(Hey! Hang around. I’ll likely get to the rest of this next time. Otherwise, check out the whole sh’bang when you spring for a cuppa joe. 😛


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”



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