Word of Mouth – An Urban Myth?

Pedro BarrentoGuest Post
by Pedro Barrento

Ever since I’ve become a self-published author, I’ve heard people telling me that the secret to self-publishing success is “word of mouth”. If your book is good enough, and if you can somehow start that magical chain of recommendations, the whole thing will spread like a cascade of dominoes on a Guinness World Record attempt.

I accepted the advice in good faith, and started working hard to kick-start my first book by finding an initial set of sympathetic readers who would then tell their friends about my literary masterpiece. It all seemed rather intuitive and made perfect sense to me: one person likes the book, tells a couple of friends, they like the book, mention it to several other people and so on. You don’t need to be very proficient in math to see the geometric progression potential and to salivate at the promise of chart-topping sales. Continue reading “Word of Mouth – An Urban Myth?”

BIG AL: Latest Amazon Changes May Help Indie Authors

Amazon.comIn case you haven’t noticed, there is a BIG difference between how Amazon sells books and how everyone else that purports to be in the book selling business does it. When talk turns to what Barnes & Noble could change to sell more books through BarnesAndNoble.com, the answers always boil down to “be more like Amazon.” The problem with that is that Amazon started innovating the day they went into business and have never stopped trying out new things.

In the last couple weeks I’ve discovered two new innovations that are being tested by Amazon and appear to be headed our way. I’m guessing that if they’re deemed successful (meaning Amazon makes more money and it is a positive for their customers) then both programs will get rolled out to everyone. Each of these has the potential to be positive for indies.

The first is allowing indies to schedule the release of their book and for customers to pre-order that book prior to release. They’ve run a pilot program with selected indie authors being invited to give this a test run. The benefits should be obvious to any of you who have tried to schedule book release activities while coordinating the timing of your book being available on Amazon with your “official” release date. I know Amazon quizzes authors from time to time asking for ways they can improve and I’m sure this idea has been dropped in the suggestion box many times. (I’m going to assume it is coincidence that Smashwords recently started offering this ability for books distributed through them to some retailers.)

I suspect this will also change the way the game is played for those trying to maximize the help they receive from Amazon’s algorithms on a new release. How that will change, I don’t know. I’ll do like the rest of you and wait for David Gaughran to weigh in with the answer. Continue reading “BIG AL: Latest Amazon Changes May Help Indie Authors”