The Complex Psychology of Why People Like Things

17 May 2016

From The Atlantic:

In the time of the Facebook thumbs up, what does it mean to “like” something? What is it that makes humans decide they prefer one thing over another, so that you click replay on one song all day and cover your ears whenever you hear another in public? And how do Netflix and Spotify and other recommendation engines seem to know your taste as well or better than you do sometimes?

What determines people’s preferences is a fuzzy, hard-to-pin-down process, but Tom Vanderbilt takes a stab at it in his new book, You May Also Like. He examines the broad collection of likes and dislikes that make up “taste,” and how they come to be. Sometimes, people just prefer the familiar. Sometimes they like what their friends like. Sometimes they pretend to like movies they never really watch or music they don’t actually listen to. A lot of the time, they can’t say why they like something, they just know that they do.

. . . .

Julie Beck: I’m going to start really broad. What’s the point of liking anything? Why do humans as a species have preferences for things in the first place?

Vanderbilt: Taste is just a way of filtering the world, of ordering information. I use Michael Pollan’s phrase, [from] The Omnivore’s Dilemma—when humans do have this capacity to eat everything, how do you decide? I felt like the sheer availability of cultural choices is similar. We all face this new kind of dilemma of how to figure out what we like when the entirety of recorded music, more or less, is available on your phone within seconds. What do I decide to even look for now that I have everything available to me?

. . . .

Beck: Sometimes the things that we say we like and the things that we actually like in our secret hearts don’t match up. Is that a matter of lying to ourselves?  I was thinking of Netflix specifically; you mentioned in the book that people never watch the foreign movies they say they’re going to watch.

Vanderbilt: I think a lot of people are, in many ways, always striving for improvement. You want to eat the food that you think is best for you; you want to consume the culture that you think is best for you. That depends on who you are, of course.Just to segue a little bit to the concept of the guilty pleasure—this is a very interesting and complicated dynamic. I do think it has been used culturally as kind of a cudgel to try to shape people’s behavior and influence them and rein them in. You can find intimations going back to the emergence of the novel, for example, that the novel was a guilty pleasure enjoyed largely by women. I do think there has been this tendency to try to reign in guilty pleasure behavior when it comes to women. As a weird example here, if you go to a stock photo site like Shutterstock or something like that and type in the words “guilty pleasure,” what you will see is a page of women basically putting chocolate into their mouths.So that’s kind of the social aspect. And then for the personal aspect, maybe we’re just reflecting that cultural anxiety and trying to be those people that we’re supposed to be, those better people. The key to deceiving others is the ability to deceive yourself. That helps the lie. So I create these playlists and reading lists, and I orchestrate my bookshelves very carefully to have nothing but the finest tomes. How many of those I’ve actually read is another question.

. . . .

Beck: So it’s easier to like things if we’re able to fit them into some kind of label or category that we already understand and if it’s too new, too different, than it’s more baffling.

Vanderbilt: Absolutely. We like to sort things into categories to help us filter information more efficiently about the world. The example I like that’s been used in talking about what’s called categorical perception is: If you look at a rainbow, we read it as bands of color rather than this spectrum that smoothly evolves from one color to the next. Many things are the same way. In music we will discount things out of hand or be attracted to things because of the genre they fit in. But when you actually mathematically analyze that music, you might find something similar to that rainbow effect. You say, “This song by this artist, that’s an R&B song.” Well if you actually put it on a map, it might be closer, musically, to rock than most of the other R&B songs, yet it gets classified within R&B. When we classify something I think all those things tend to [seem] more like one another than they really are.

There’s this processing fluency argument out of psychology that comes up too, which I really subscribe to quite heartily. As with a foreign language the more we hear something, the more we begin to know what to listen for, the more familiar it becomes, the more we actually begin to like it. The less it sounds like pure noise. The argument is that what we’re really doing is beginning to become fluent [in understanding that thing]. We feel good about our fluency and we almost transfer some of that good feeling onto the thing itself. You may like French more because you can speak it, but what you might really like is your ability to speak French.

Beck: Thanks to the Internet, not only do we have easier, cheaper access to the stuff, but we get to hear everybody’s opinions about all the stuff. Do you think that has changed what people like and why they like it?

Vanderbilt: For certain things, it’s great. Just take If you’re looking for, let’s say, a remote control for your television, you can pretty much intuit right away what is the best remote control by sheer aggregation of star ratings. Because the remote control is a pretty functional object, people aren’t going to have a lot of quirky personal preferences on there.

When you go to something like a novel, it’s harder to arrive at that same robust conclusion, because you’re going to start to read comments like “I just couldn’t relate to the main character,” and that is not an empirical statement. We don’t know who that reviewer was that said that, or whether we can relate to them. So what you’re getting there are potentially unwise crowds.

Link to the rest at The Atlantic

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A New Way to Promote Your Ebooks to Millions of Goodreads Members

17 May 2016

From the Goodreads Blog:

With the launch of Goodreads Deals in the U.S., we’re now offering authors and publishers a new way to amplify ebook price promotions to our millions of members. The Goodreads Deals program comes with built-in personalization options based on members’ Want to Read shelves, the authors they follow, and the genres they prefer—all designed to help your deals reach the readers with the highest interest in buying your books.

Goodreads Deals is unique because we’ll enable you to reach existing fans andintroduce your ebooks to new readers:

  • Existing Fans: Every second, our members add 6 books to their Want to Read shelves—that’s 15 million books per month that have captured the interest of readers. With Goodreads Deals, you can now tap into that interest. We’ll email members when a book on their Want to Read shelf has a price promotion. We’ll also email any members who follow the author on Goodreads.
  • Prospective Readers: At the same time, members can choose to receive even more deals by opting in to daily emails featuring books in the genres they prefer. For many of our members, their hunger for books often outpaces their wallets, and they are interested in hearing about price promotions that will help them read more books. With Goodreads Deals, you can drive discovery and sales of your ebook with a broader reader base in your genre.

Finding out about book deals has been a popular request from our members.

. . . .

I’m a publisher—how can I get my ebook deal featured by Goodreads Deals? We hand-pick deals on ebooks that will most appeal to the Goodreads community. Publishers who’d like to nominate their ebook deal should reach out to their Goodreads Account Manager to get started, or send an email to

I’m an author—how can I get my ebook deal featured by Goodreads Deals?
We haven’t opened up deal nominations to authors as we are in beta, but we’re working on it. Our plan is to have something to announce very soon, so stay tuned.

Which genres will be featured at launch?
At launch, we will offer daily emails for the following genres:
• Bestsellers
• Romance
• Mystery & Thrillers
• Fantasy & Sci-Fi

If you don’t see your book’s genre, don’t worry. Our readers love a wide variety of books and our goal is to increase our range of genres in the coming months.

Link to the rest at Goodreads Blog

Are Amazon Ebook Giveaways a Scam?

14 May 2016

From author D.L. Orton at Query Shark Bait:

On March 1st, 2016 announced that Kindle ebooks would now be eligible for Amazon Giveaways, and the Indie Publishing (aka Self Publishing) World cautiously celebrated (i.e. we drank our morning coffee with a bit more zest.)

After running a handful of ebook giveaways (seven as of today), it turns out that the initial caution was warranted. If you’re an author, publisher, or book publicist planning to use Amazon Giveaways to get more ebooks into the hands of avid readers AND increase your Amazon sales ranking, set that coffee cup down and read on…

. . . .

[M]y Amazon Giveaway book sales had no effect on either “bestseller” list ranking: “Paid in Kindle Store” OR “Free in Kindle Store,” and ALL the websites that track book sales (including, Author Central,, ebookTracker etc.)  show NO sales reported for the giveaways.

Amazon does not address the sales ranking issue anywhere in their official How It Works for giveaways or in the FAQ, nor could I get a straight answer from KDP about WHY my sales were not being reported.

. . . .

Here’s what KDP Support (read the email) had to say about that:

I asked:

1) Is this correct: NO book sales from giveaways show up on the dashboard “Units Ordered” until ALL OF THE BOOKS in the giveaway have been claimed? i.e. NONE of the books will show up until ALL of the books in the giveaway have been “redeemed”?

The reply:

“1. Yes, that is correct.”

Link to the rest at Query Shark Bait

Here’s a link to D.L. Orton’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Which Is Better: Self-Publishing Or Traditional Publishing?

6 May 2016

From Forbes blogs:

I get queries from potential clients who want to write books all the time and the first question they often ask is, “Should I self-publish or try for one of the traditional publishing houses?”

. . . .

First of all, the view is very different if you are a fiction writer or thinking about non-fiction. I occasionally help out fiction writers, but most of my clients are interested in non-fiction.

For fiction writers, the answer is increasingly pretty simple: Self-publishing is the way to go. That’s because you can keep 70 or 80% of your book sales revenue, as compare to 20% under the traditional model. Simple decision, right?

. . . .

Actually, the math is the simple part. The rest is more complicated. Here goes: All books, fiction or non-, need to be marketed heavily in order to stand out in a field of something like a million books published every year in the United States alone. While many authors assume that getting a traditional publisher means that publisher will take care of the marketing chores, the truth is that a traditional publisher will only put real marketing muscle behind the one or two books per year that it truly believes has a shot at becoming a bestseller. If a publisher brings out a hundred books per year, it’s expecting that one of those will outsell the other 99 – combined.

. . . .

Failure to be honest with oneself about this set of facts – secretly believing, for example, that your book will be one of those one-in-a-million bestsellers – is the single biggest cause of depression among writers, after writing itself.

. . . .

Both fiction and non-fiction writers typically need to be prepared to market their own books, but fiction writers seem to get the idea more readily than non-fiction writers. And – ironically, because everything about writing in the 21st century is ironic – non-fiction writers typically seem to have more ways to market their books.

Link to the rest at Forbes blogs

Goodreads Introduces Kindle Ebook Giveaways Beta Program (U.S. market)

5 May 2016

From The Goodreads Blog:

Last year, Goodreads helped authors and publishers give away more than 300,000 print books in our popular Giveaways program! Thanks to this success, authors and publishers have been clamoring for the option to run ebook giveaways with Goodreads. Today, we have the news you’ve been waiting for! The beta launch of our new Kindle ebook giveaways program is now underway.

Here’s how it works: The author or publisher of an book – whoever controls the digital distribution rights to the book – can now offer up to 100 copies of the Kindle ebook in a giveaway. The author or publisher chooses how long the giveaway will run, and Goodreads does the rest. At the end of the giveaway, Goodreads randomly chooses winners and automatically sends the Kindle ebooks to their preferred devices and Cloud accounts. Winners receive real Kindle ebooks, complete with all the great features and security that Amazon’s Kindle platform provides.

. . . .

Kindle ebook giveaways will initially be open to Goodreads members in the U.S. During this beta period, Goodreads is working with Amazon Publishing to host Kindle ebook giveaways, but once out of beta, the program will be open to any author or publisher – whoever owns the digital distribution rights for the book – who sells their ebooks on Amazon.

The cost of listing a Kindle book giveaway is $119, which allows you to offer up to 100 Kindle ebooks. Listing a print book giveaway will continue to be free.

. . . .

How are these giveaways different from Amazon Giveaways?
The two programs are completely separate. With Amazon Giveaways, you purchase each copy of whatever book you want to give away. With Kindle Ebook Giveaways, you pay a flat listing fee to give away up to 100 copies of your book. Additionally, Kindle Ebook Giveaways are available for pre-publication titles, while Amazon Giveaways are not.

Link to the rest at The Goodreads Blog

The End of the Human Publisher? Introducing the First Novel to Be Chosen by an Algorithm

3 May 2016

From Flavorwire:

[Y]esterday, the Berlin-based company Inkitt announced a partnership with Tor Books that will bring about the first ever book chosen by predictive data.

The novel chosen by Inkitt’s “artificially intelligent” algorithm is Erin Swan’s Bright Star, a young adult fiction submitted to the publisher through a writing contest called “Hidden Gems.” Part of a multi-book “Sky Rider” series, it tells the story of the “fantasyland” Paerolia, “where war and conflict has created strong divides,” and where a a rebel leader named Kael helps a slave named Andra “discover the strength that has always been within her” and “fight to win back what Fate kept beyond her reach” — namely a dragon “that should have been her own.” Bright Star is expected to be released in 2017.

Inkitt, the company responsible for discovering the novel, is an online writing platform where “budding authors” share their work with “inquisitive readers.” It relies on an “artificially intelligent” algorithm to bring the two together with the purpose of uncovering “blockbuster books.” This description calls up a number of questions. Did Inkitt invent artificial intelligence? Should we be surprised that the first artificially intelligent being prefers genre fiction? If you put aside Inkitt’s overheated claims about artificial intelligence, you’ll find a publisher that just wants to do the write thing: “Inkitt’s goal is to remove the middle person so that a blockbuster book is never rejected by a publishing house again.”

. . . .

“This book deal sends a clear signal to the publishing industry that predictive data analysis is the way of the future,” says Albazaz. “Inkitt is at the forefront of the movement to use predictive data in publishing, and this deal shows that our business model works.”

. . . .

Still, it’s hard to say whether Inkitt’s first major deal is a function of its algorithm or its status as a thriving online world, which “stretches from the US to Australia.” By its own account, Inkitt has a community of half a million loyal readers. And its business plan – now seeing its first moments of success — is to bring the “future bestsellers” validated by this community to publishers, like Tor. It also plans to independently publish ebooks of selected novels from its own platform, “with supporting in-house marketing campaigns.”

Link to the rest at Flavorwire and thanks to Dave for the tip.

“Inkitt’s goal is to remove the middle person so that a blockbuster book is never rejected by a publishing house again.”

For PG, Tor is a classic example of a “middle person” which stands between a book and its readers. Is a literary agent a middle person? Or an acquiring editor employed by Tor? If Inkitt is going to “independently publish ebooks,” it’s a middle person as well.

Suspecting that the awkward “middle person” terminology might be a poor translation, PG did some brief Google research on the German term for middleman (he knows it’s politically incorrect, but nothing came up for middleperson) and found Vermittler,  Mittelsmann and  Zwischenhändler. Similar terms appear to be used for the English word, intermediary.

PG also discovered that a person who would be called a real estate agent in the US is a  Grundstücksmakler.

In preparing this comment, PG has approximately tripled his knowledge of the German language.

Mythbusting The Amazon Algorithm – Reviews and Ranking For Authors

3 May 2016

From Self-Publishing Review:

Despite many educated guesses that seem to have passed into urban legend in self-publishing communities online, there are no secrets to the Amazon ranking system.

I have spent the last few months tracking down programmers, algorithm experts, and reading technical documentation about Amazon’s algorithm, and the documentation that is provided online by Amazon at Amazon Seller Central and KDP. What I didn’t do was talk to any authors or bloggers, because that seems to be where the myths are coming from.

. . . .

MYTH 1 – Nobody knows how the Amazon Algorithm Works

TRUTH – Yes they do.

The Amazon Algorithm is an A9 algorithm, a pretty run-of-the-mill product search engine with a personalization built in. A9 is a company in Palo Alto that creates product algorithms, code that tells Amazon’s website how to sort and load product lists for each customer’s experience. Anyone who wants to read about how this algorithm works has to do nothing more than search for information online and read the manuals, forums, science articles, and a myriad of other documents that tell you EXACTLY how it works. You can even see samples of the code that makes it work if you look!

This sort of algorithm is an item to item collaborative algorithm. This means it works on a node system. What’s that? It’s like a tree of products, or a catalogue, put in order of hierarchy. That means the information Amazon uses to suggest and deliver products to you when you search for them is based on the finite terms used to describe products entered into its catalogue. The fact it is collaborative means it bases results on factors pertaining to the signed in customer only, factors surrounding that customer’s behavior on Amazon and online, and what is popular that day. It also learns about you, and retains those learnings for search and suggestions.

. . . .

MYTH 2 – Amazon has secret ways of ranking books

TRUTH – None of it is secret.

It works according to the algorithm. The factors are already written into the algorithm, which has to be a clear-cut set of commands. There’s no magic here, and it’s simply a case of knowing what factors are used in this sort of algorithm. It’s true that A9 will not be interviewed by the media because of a competitor clause they have with Amazon, but that’s not the same as being magical and clandestine.

Of course, the one part of Amazon’s product promotion that is always going to be confidential is its preferences for pushing certain big-selling products on certain schedules according to publishers and their own agendas. These products, however, still fit into the algorithm and run quite nicely inside its parameters. Products like these are simply put on the site in clear view in ad boxes (such as Easter products over Easter) to push them, which works.

Ranking is influenced by factors that anyone can look up in Amazon documentation (we will discuss in detail):

  • A product that is priced well in relation to similar products, but that is priced in a way that will turn the best profit in relation to its competitor
  • A product that offers a description that gives bullet points or features that the algorithm will recognize in terms of keyword
  • A strong keyword in the title that will help categorize the product (I suggest a subtitle to deal with this)
  • Sales in each session period, which is 24 hours, compared to others in your category
  • How many times someone clicked on your listing to your product, known as Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Spelling, grammar, editing, and quality of your interior, and also the quality of the cover
  • Number of verified reviews, helpful reviews and new reviews –outside of this, unverified reviews do not count towards ranking but do count towards social proof and CTRs (see below)
  • Product page is complete in all sections and meets Amazon Guidelines on word count, layout, and image size and quality used.

The MAMM Factor – Amazon’s Objective

Amazon has one objective for its sellers to bear in mind: Make Amazon the Most Money. Amazon expert James Amazio says, “Make Amazon the Most Money in 24 hours by letting them let your product be ranked higher than the other guys. Total Revenue = Number of Products Sold x Sales Price.That means that each 24 hours counts, so doing a giveaway over three days isn’t going to help Amazon make money, so this doesn’t help ranking or exposure much at all.

Sales and Rank

Sales are not straightforward numbers either. What Amazon looks for is the number of sales for a product with the best profit in its category (Remember MAMM?). So if your book is 99 cents, but another book is selling at $2.99 but not as many as you, it’s likely Amazon will recognize the $2.99 book higher in rank because it makes Amazon more money. This means you need to do some research on what is selling in your potential category before choosing one, and also before choosing your price. 99 cent books may do well in Romance, for example, but maybe in another category you’re pricing too low to show Amazon a good profit margin.

This is also true of certain “publishers” that force authors to price at $16 or more. While this might be their own profit margin covered, it leaves little room for Amazon to make money if the other books are $3.99 in that category, and it’s going to take a lot of sales to convince the algorithm to prioritize your book in ranking if the chances are poor for Amazon sales. It’s not a case of “less sales for more profit.” It’s a case of “what books sell better relative to other books in that category.”

CTR – Click Through Rates – Book Covers DO matter

If you have a high amount of clicks from the Amazon search list generated to your book page, this counts towards ranking. This means your book cover has to be amazing. It has to stand out.

After They Click –  Zoning

Amazon, like most websites, charts where people click on a page. If you hover over buy boxes on pages, this may count towards ranking/inform Amazon about that customer’s preferences for their next search. This means that advice pertaining to what matters on a page really can be burned down to one piece of advice: Make sure every section above the fold on Amazon book pages gets filled out according to Amazon’s guidelines.

If zoning counts, everything you can see without scrolling down, and that includes the number of Customer Reviews shown, matters. We’ve been saying for years that having decent copy and Editorial Reviews matters, and it does. Content of Customer Reviews? Not so much. To see how readers look at reviews on Amazon, check out our eyetracking results report here.

Conversion Rates

What does count is that if someone goes to your page, you need them to buy your book and convert into a sale. By having a properly filled out Book Page you are increasing your chances of that happening. Conversion rate is measured by amount of clicks through against how many sales are made.

Link to the rest at Self-Publishing Review and thanks to Henry for the tip.

Facebook Branded Content Policy Change and What it Means for Bloggers

1 May 2016

From ComoBlog:

Facebook defines branded content as

any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor. It is typically posted by media companies, celebrities, or other influencers.

and branded content on pages as: content originating from the Page owner that features third party products, brands, or sponsors that are different from the Page owner.

The Branded Content Policies

As it stands currently (April 28th) the policy language states that branded content on pages is “only allowed from Verified Pages (with the blue badge)” and that they must also follow very specific guidelines.

. . . .

What this means in black and white

  1. ONLY pages that are verified (with the blue badge) are allowed to post anything for anyone else (whether or not you’ve been paid to do so).
  2. If you are a verified (with the blue badge) page, you may ONLY post branded (sponsored) content when it meets the Facebook requirements.
  3. If you are a verified (with the blue badge) page, and you do post branded content, and tag the owner appropriately, the owner will be notified of your post, have access to all the stats of your post, have the ability to share your post to their page, and pay to boost your post. They will not be able to edit or delete your post.

. . . .

Q: Does this really apply to me?

A: If you own a facebook page, yes, it applies to you.

Q: How do I verify my page on Facebook?

A. If your page is not yet verified on Facebook, and you’d like it to be, this post outlines how to request verification. or you can download the free printable checklist at the end of the post.

4/29/16 edited to add a quote from a chat with Facebook Rep:

We’re (Facebook) only accepting verification requests from Pages that represent celebrities, public figures, sports teams, media and entertainment. Our Pages Team is extremely backed up with Brand Requests at the moment and need some time to catch up, that is why we are unable to accept them at the moment.

. . . .

Q: If I want to share a friend’s post (no money or affiliate links involved, I just love her stuff or found it encouraging), can I?

A: Technically, if you enjoyed an inspirational piece that you read and wanted to share it with your follwers by posting the URL and a comment on your blog page, you would need to disclose and tag the source of that article and it is 3rd party because it’s not content owned by you. Using the share button to share her content from her page to yours is acceptable.

(updated 4/29/16 to add) However, if you’ve applied for verification one Rep has said that you may “share branded content on a non-verified page” while you await verification. (I assume this means share by using the share button).

What concerns me then is that Facebook has the potential power then go to that blog owner and say “Katie promoted your post and x0,000 people saw it, so you owe us $x00.00 for advertising on our platform.” Even though the 3rd party did not ask for, or pay you to promote them.

. . . .

Q: What is Facebook’s reasoning behind this?

A: Well, they haven’t included me in the board meetings or strategy meetings, and I’m not very good at mind reading, but if I had to speculate….

(updated 4/30)  Posting content that you do not own to your facebook account (including to profile, page, event and/or groups) is a violation of the Terms of Service (TOS) you agreed to when you opened your account. (See TOS here). Facebook has not been enforcing this policy, but appears to have decided to do so from here on out.

It appears that Facebook is tired of not being able to control the small bloggers and small companies whose posts are becoming more ad-ish, and they also don’t like to not be compensated for the promotions those bloggers do using their platform. It also appears that this was their intention all along. Ads may be used to promote content not your own, but posts of content you don’t own are not allowed.

By prohibiting unverified pages to post branded content and/or prohibiting your page from getting verified, Facebook is denying you permission to post any ads at all, clearing out A LOT of ads that were previously being shown to Facebook’s audience. Now, Facebook may only allow pages to be verified (and I am speculating here) if the page works with larger BIG companies who have more Facebook friendly advertising budgets or who already have advertising accounts with Facebook making it easier to charge the brand when someone promotes the brand. In my opinion, this is Facebook’s way of broadcasting the message that if it’s anything but purely social chit chat, someone is going to pay for it to be shown on their platform.

. . . .

Q: Will my Facebook post get seen at all if I don’t verify my page?

A: I can’t say for sure, but it doesn’t appear that Facebook plans to show anyone’s posts at all, unless you pay. I get the feeling that if you’re self promoting only, they may leave you alone, and you’ll just be left to organic luck. But if you want to be seen or if you want to continue to promote others – someone’s going to pay for that and this is Facebook’s way of enforcing it.

There is no current information on what will happen if an unverified page continues to promote 3rd party content. You can assume if you’re not compliant and the review team finally reaches your page, they are capable of just turn off views for your page altogether. I can’t imagine they will have the manpower to monitor individual posts from thousands of bloggers daily, but it would be very easy to simply shut you down for non compliance to their stated policy.

Link to the rest at ComoBlog and thanks to P.D. for the tip.

It seems like almost every news item PG has read concerning Facebook lately moves it closer to his MTTIW classification.

MTTIW – More Trouble Than It’s Worth

Amazon Giveth, Amazon Taketh Away and Now… Amazon Giveth Again!

27 April 2016

From The Book Designer:

A few years back, authors and small presses could participate in a number of marketing programs at

BUY X GET Y was one of my favorites. You could contact Amazon and request a link from your book to another book of similar appeal. It was not inexpensive, but it was a terrific program that exposed your book to readers interested in books similar to yours. Listmania was a free program that also linked similar books. There were FEATURED PAGES. A small press could purchase a page on Amazon that highlighted a series or group of books in a kind of “landing page”. There were a number of Amazon marketing programs like these and others that were slowly raised out of reach for small presses over the last 5 – 10 years.

Thus began the long dry stretch of desert for single title authors and small presses. Simply put, we were not given any opportunities to participate in Amazon’s marketing programs. Sure, there were tricks and manipulations we could learn, but they were not as effective as participating in Amazon sponsored marketing. Once BUY X GET Y and other programs were placed out of reach, the small press was significantly hampered and not able to compete with the bigger houses that still had marketing programs available.

. . . .

Amazon announced last week that they are launching AMS, Amazon Marketing Services. The program works like this:

As an Advantage or CreateSpace publisher you sign up for AMS and pay an annual fee of $99. This is charged to your account as a deduction of your sales so does not require up-front payment.

Once you are an AMS “member”, you will have access to marketing programs previously reserved for Amazon’s bigger vendors.

. . . .

Keyword/Tag Pay Per Click Advertising

This offering is my current favorite as AMS allows you to increase discoverability of your titles on by letting you set your own budget for a particular keyword or phrase. Depending upon your budget and the desirability of the keyword, your book can rise very high in the search page and you ONLY PAY if someone clicks on your book. Your click budget can be as low as $100.

“A+” Detail Pages

Want video, sample page shots, extra photos and other “juicy” offerings on your book’s page? Now you can have it! $600 gets you a LOT more on your detail page. The “A+” detail page is a deluxe detail page featuring advanced formatting and rich media content (detailed descriptions for example) to enrich the shopping experience for customers.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer and thanks to Barb for the tip.

The Ultimate Collection of Book Marketing Examples

27 April 2016

BookBub has assembled a 173-page PDF of examples of good marketing materials for books and authors. It includes websites, author bios, Facebook page designs, etc., etc.

Link to the collection at BookBub

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