Anthony Wessel of Digital Book Today posed very interesting questions for which there are probably no known answers but these questions are definitely worthy food for thought.
The questions concern what happens when people on a website other than Amazon click on a link to a book page on Amazon, perhaps read the info on the page, but do not add the book to their shopping cart.
Does Amazon track that click? If so, does this somehow help the author’s book rise in Amazon’s secret algorithms? And does a click coming from an outside site other than the author’s site have more value than a click coming from the author’s site?
The following will be only my own thoughts on these questions.
First scenario — when we click on a book link but are not signed into our Amazon account.
I suspect Amazon does track this click and it might help the book’s rank. If so, it probably helps more that the click is from a site other than the author’s site. In other words, diversity of originating sites for connecting with a book’s Amazon page probably means more than clicks from all the same originating site. (After all, it could be the author clicking from his or her site over and over again.)
Second scenario — when we click on a book link from somewhere on the Internet and are already signed into our Amazon account.
One benefit is that, even if we do not buy the book this time, the book may show up in the section “Recently Viewed Items” the next time we visit Amazon when we are signed into our Amazon account. This may encourage us to buy the book. If we do, that surely helps the book’s rank in Amazon’s algorithms.
A second benefit may indeed help the book’s ranking simply because we connected to the book’s page from an outside site.
Now this leads directly to another consideration:
If there is a good probability that Amazon includes in its secret algorithms clicks from outside sites to your book’s page, you want as many clicks as possible even if at first these clicks do not lead to immediate sales.
Because when your book rises in Amazon’s algorithms, your book has more opportunities to actually be sold.
And how do you get these clicks for your Amazon book page?
You can buy advertising in appropriate places (Digital Book Today has attractive advertising packages and Anthony did NOT ask me to mention this).
You can also invest your time and effort (rather than money) in getting out the word about your books. This means guest blogging, being active on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, participating on sites such as Goodreads, BookBuzzr, AskDavid, and interacting in a helpful rather than selling mode.
This helpfulness means sharing more than updates that say “buy my book.” Helpfulness includes sharing information you think other authors might like to know and supporting other authors as you would like to be supported.
(I would like to say here that you should post reviews for books that you like on Amazon. But I do have to add there are now issues with this — see my blog post “Big Brother Amazon Strikes Again.”)
Bottom line: Writing and publishing a book are only the beginning steps of getting your book into the hands (or ereaders) of your target book fans. If you want to encourage people to buy your book, you need to help Amazon take notice of it.
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including the military fiction MRS. LIEUTENANT: A Sharon Gold Novel (2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist) and the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com