It’s probably a fair assumption that most writers consider themselves wordsmiths not number crunchers. Thus, when I recently stumbled upon Melissa Foster and a group of writers discussing the algorithms with which Amazon sells books I was intimidated by the complicated math stuff. Despite this aversion to numerical analysis, the topic has proved to be interesting and worth exploring.
In my simplified layman’s terms, it is speculated that Amazon takes note of books that light up the system with dings and pings, rewarding them with explore-similar-items or other-customers-have-bought recommendations and other such prompts. So just what constitutes these dings and pings? A few examples:
The like button
Toward the top of a book’s page, there is a “like” button. (For an example follow this link to see my book, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls: http://www.amazon.com/McCloud-Home-Wayward-Girls/dp/0425241319) Amazon, apparently, registers when a book garners a healthy number of “likes.”
Toward the bottom of a book’s page, there are a number of tags. My book, for instance, has been tagged as “contemporary fiction,” “family secrets,” “family drama,” “family saga,” “fiction,” “heartmates,” “Iowa,” “mainstream fiction,” “Midwest,” “women’s fiction,” and “romance elements.” (The “fantasy” and “paranormal romance” tags are misleading as it’s my other two YA novels that fall under these categories. Oh well, not a perfect system.) In front of each tag is a box that the viewer is able to check in agreement with the tag. Again, lots of checks make the Amazon folks happy. (Ironically, clicking the “agree with all tags” button does NOT do the trick. It’s necessary to individually check the boxes.)
To the right side of the Customer Reviews section, is a “create your own review” button. Books that earn enthusiastic reviews also make Amazon happy. From an author’s perspective, enough can’t be said about the importance of positive customer reviews. For all the above pings and dings, it is the weight of a personal recommendation that rewards and gratifies an author. An important note here is that the review doesn’t need to be lengthy or analytical. Personally, nothing makes me happier than a simple “I couldn’t put it down” comment.
Melissa Foster’s facebook group can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/womens-literary-cafe/tagnlike4authors/117822258317589
Together, they’ve banded to tag and like one another’s products. I know I’ve personally benefited from this exercise. After joining in, my name was mentioned in tweets mentioning my name, book, and some variation on “newly tagged” by people who are not my followers, nor had I followed them. (@multiplytraffic, @KindleReviews, @JmoRocks, @bestdealtoday99, @wartonoantarest, @bestdealtoday33, @NiceWorth)
I want to give credit to the two blogs listed below for information on this topic:
So off you go to Amazon to like, tag and review your favorite books. You’ll make both the author and a statistician very happy.