Business posts are going to be on-off for a bit since I’m not entirely sure what to write. I’ve begun to hit a point where most of my thoughts on the general business has either been said better by other writers or isn’t that interesting (in my view). I might just do a bigger overall call for topics in a bit…
But that being said, I wanted to comment on Amazon ranking again because it’s all kinds of messed up once more.
What is Amazon Ranking?
When I say Amazon Ranking, I mean the information at the bottom of a product page that says if a book is X number in either the whole store and/or within its categories.
Now, I’ve talked about how such information can be quite misleading because the data is split across multiple countries, and so a bestseller in DE or the UK or AU can be a nobody (or rank really low) in the US. And vice versa.
Still, the rankings are useful to tell how you are doing in general especially if you focus on it in your own market. It can also help a LOT to gain eyes on your work, as ranking higher on the category list and getting that yellow tag likely drive some degree of visibility (probably not as much as also boughts, but that’s another discussion that we’ve had before in previous posts).
Anyway, Amazon Ranking is important to some extent. A bad launch means you don’t get up on the ranks which kills your visibility which can be bad for indie authors who rely on big launches to pay the bills.
Setting aside the massive launch to pay bills…
When Amazon has a problem on their side updating rankings or change how rankings work or how fast they update or any one of a million problems, it can cause negatives in sales; especially for those launching recently but even those of us who have had books out for a bit.
Bank or Rank
So we come back to another discussion about marketing strategy (distribution) and prior sales. Basically – should you be trying to capture some of these sales outside of Amazon.
Kickstarter is a big thing right now, with the goal of pulling some sales from Amazon readers but also new readers.
Selling exclusively on your personal store (like we do) is another way. Both also generate a higher level of net profit, which is also nice (see the bank comment).
That does, however, mean that your rank is buggered. But does it matter if your rank is buggered if Amazon is regularly (and this is happening all this year!) buggering up rank?
If you can’t rely on Amazon to NOT screw up your rank, should you then plan for if they do?
There’s no doubt that – especially for middle sized authors – pulling sales outside of the Amazon ecosystem can hurt your ranks. Which might then hurt your overall profitability.
Unless, of course, the goal isn’t to drive sales on launch but to (somehow) drive income over the long-term rather than short-term sales. And if so, then developing a long-term plan to push sales over the long-term which (hopefully) will eventually dwarf your initial sales push is the way to do it.
Something to think about anyway. I know which way we’re slowly moving towards (though slow is the major word here, since I don’t see Kickstarter’s for existing series going well).
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