Amazon Done Good, part 2
Last week I wrote an article (linked here) where I talked about Amazon’s hunter/ killer strategies when it came to seeking out reviews they felt were unfair. Reviews by authors on other author’s books, for example. Their hope is to kill bogus reviews written influence customers, either positively or negatively. I wondered if there campaign would have some bearing on a series of novellas I wrote that had a few people slam them into the gutter with one star reviews blasting me for asking people to pay $.99 for books that ranged from 15,000 to 32,000 words.
You see I took those seven novellas down last year after I was hit below the belt by the handful of people (handful as in I had a few fingers left over when I counted up the negative reviews I received, even though they went out of their way to post 1 star reviews on multiple books). I’d sold thousands of copies of each, bringing them into the top 10 and top 20 lists in their genres (science fiction), but not that many positive reviews that a few stinkers couldn’t drag the books into the rubbish heap. I compiled the novellas into an omnibus (Vitalis Omnibus) and then later wrote a full novel length sequel to it (Vitalis: Resurrection). I have plans for future Vitalis books as well, but I haven’t had a chance to revisit those yet. I even left the first novella (New Beginnings) on Amazon but set it so that it was free to download. My way of apologizing to people who might think I was trying to screw them over.
Five or Six months later (as in, last week) I got to thinking that maybe a few pricks were sucker punching my books because they wanted to help their books reach the upper ranks on Amazon. One reviewer even commented in his review that there should be enough 1 star reviews to knock my books out of the rankings. Yes, he really said that. I don’t know if that review is still up or not, Amazon has removed several of them already. I received my 4th quarter results from Smashwords and since I’d removed them fro Amazon I never put much thoughts into the novellas. Well they were still on Smashwords, and that meant they were still out there on iTunes, Sony, Diesel, and others. My results weren’t earth shattering but I sold enough of the various books to let me know that no, I wasn’t crazy. People did like them and they weren’t pissed off about the rock bottom price I assigned to them. Especially considering so many other writers ask more for works that are even shorter!.
So now they’re back and I’m excited to see how they’re doing. The results aren’t great yet, after a week, but they’re promising. I’ve seen some action on them. A few sold here and there. A far from the 5000 a month I was selling in April and May of 2012, but I’m patient and I’m happy to get whatever I can out of them. They don’t need to be bestsellers, I just want to know that people don’t really think I’m trying to screw because, damn it, I’m not!
And to my fellow writers out there. Knock that shit off. People read what they want to read. You don’t do anybody any good by trying to beat somebody else down. Try helping instead. I have writers ask me things all the time – a hookup to a cover artist or an editor or tips on how to do something. I help them and I’m happy to help them. They, in turn, come right back and help me when and if the need is there. Good will goes a lot further than bad.
As another example, Gayla Drummond, a writer and blogger in her own right, had some discussion with me on the prior post and that prompted her to hop up on a soapbox and vent her thoughts on the matter (linked here). G.L. Drummond’s site can be found here, by the way, and I’m happy to recommend checking her out. Not just because she’s got a heart of gold and agrees with me, but because she’s an intelligent woman with talent. That will lead to good books every time. Agreeing with me and having a heart of gold also helps, by the way.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.