My brand new ebook – Takoradi to the stars (via Huddersfield) – was published this week. And, as you do, once it was listed on Amazon, I headed on over to see how it was doing.
You have to jump through all sorts of hoops to publish a book with Kindle Direct Publishing, but in the end it’s fairly straightforward and there are lots of tools to help you promote your book and keep track of its progress. But with a brand new book, there’s not a whole lot they can tell you straight away.
Sales? “No sales info” – fair enough I suppose after a couple of days.
Sales rank? That would be 18,759, which sounds terrible, except that there were 489,000 books published in the UK and USA in 2018, so I’m already ahead of the game. Yay!
Customer reviews? None, the big fat zero. This is very disappointing. I absolutely know for a fact that my friend Alison tried to leave one. But then someone points me towards the Amazon consumer small print, where it states quite clearly that unless you have spent £40 (and an equivalent amount in dollars in the USA and elsewhere) this year on Amazon, you are not allowed to leave a review on Amazon. Which is rubbish and useless, and possibly unconstitutional, and more importantly, NO HELP AT ALL if you are a new author looking to hoover up sympathetic reviews.
So, none of this was looking good. But then I checked the ‘Amazon Bestellers Rank’ again, where I was still hanging in there at 18,759. Come on people, get that £40 spent ASAP and start leaving reviews! And below that I saw that I was #19 in Kindle Store > Books > Nonfiction > Travel > Essays & Travelogues, and that is more like it!
Following the link, it turned that I was currently selling more ebooks than Bill Bryson (‘Neither Here Nor There) and George Orwell (‘Down and Out in Paris and London’), which makes you feel mighty proud at the same time as not quite believing in Amazon’s algorithms.
Then it got even better. Dive further down the Amazon sales rabbit-hole from your updated-hourly new book entry and it turns out that you are no.3 in Amazon Hot New Releases!
Not 5. Not 4. Oh no. No.3 baby, trois, tre, dreis. I am an Austin-Powers-style Hot New Release. I never doubted it.
So I have ‘Another Fine Mess in Trumpland’ and ‘Adventure – Caravanning with Dogs’ in my sight, all I need is for you lot to start with the Amazon spending already, because if you’re not prepared to drop forty quid in the service of independent publishing and positive reviews, there’s no hope for the world. And once we’ve cracked the No. 1 spot in Hot New Releases, we only have 18,758 spots to climb.
We can do this!