5 Things You Did not Know About Amazon That Are Helpful For Self-Publishers
Posted On: 2015-04-15
by: Amy Harrop

15th, 2015
Everyone knows that they can self-publish books on Amazon through Kindle, but how much do you really know about this ecommerce supergiant? For example, why does Amazon offer two different royalty rates, and, do you need any reviews for your listing to jump higher on the charts? ?

Weíll go through the five big things that most authors donít know about Amazon. Youíre sure to rethink your marketing strategy after learning these secrets. ?

1) Amazon Pays for Market Stabilization

KDP offers authors two royalty amounts: 35% and 70%. What is the major difference between the two (aside from KDP Select and owning the copyright)? The price. Authors can get 70% royalties if the ebook is within the price range of $2.99 and $9.99, whereas books that are above and below this get half the royalty amount.

Whatís the sense of this? Amazon is effectively giving authors more money to stabilize the market. Books that are less than $2.99 may give you an unfair edge in terms of pricing, and books over the price are harder to sell since readers usually donít want to spend more on a novel or guide. This ensures market stabilization because authors want the most money per sale, so the vast majority will stay within this price range.

2) Reviews REALLY Matter

Why do you think reviews matter on Amazon? Is it because more people are willing to buy books when they are accompanied by a stellar review? Is it because reviews show that people are interested enough in your book to write something about it? Both are true, but there another option that most authors donít know about.

Amazon is run by various algorithms, and a correlation has been shown between reviews and search ranking. Ever wonder why certain books score on relevancy, even though your search terms are tighter or better? Amazon assumes (and rightfully so) that products with more reviews will sell better. Most experts are saying that 50 is enough to start getting some extra attention, so donít feel bad about begging for reviews. Also, it doesnít matter if all the reviews are good (though that will matter to the human buyers), just getting reviews of any sort will tell Amazon that your book deserves more attention.

3) Scarcity and Price

I want you to take a look at your book listing right now (especially if itís a physical self-published book through CreateSpace). Youíll probably see one of two things (or even both). Amazon loves employing scarcity tactics. Do you see that angry red text saying, ďOnly 3 left in stock!Ē For authors, this can be worrying. Why is your book almost out of stock? Doesnít print-on-demand mean that your book will always be printed when a reader wants it? Yes, it does. Amazon does this to increase sales, but most of the time itís an outright lie.

Also, price can change. Amazon always guarantees that your royalties will stay the same, but they might discount the price. Believe it or not, Amazon is being benevolent here and taking a hit on their profits. Youíll make the same amount per sale, but Amazon is taking less by introducing the sale.

4) Ingram and CreateSpace

If youíre making a physical book, then CreateSpace is a great way to get your book formatted and ready for publishing. However, the problem is that CreateSpace really only serves Amazon. You can get your book to other channels, but chances are that it will stay within Amazonís pages. If you donít mind rejecting KDP Selectís benefits, then you should also consider uploading your book to Ingram.

Ingram is a major publishing channel that serves many outlets, stores and establishments, and CreateSpace uses them to publish books created through their service. Uploading your book to Ingram will only take a few minutes, and itís easy cause you did most of the work with CreateSpace. Spreading yourself out more can help improve your overall sale numbers.

5) ďCustomers Who Bought This Item Also BoughtĒ

Publishers canít change the items that appear here, but there are some devious tactics you can use to sway the items in your favor. Amazon uses another algorithm here, and it all depends on products in the customerís shopping cart at the end of their purchase. There are two powerful ways of using this strategy.

First, you can encourage people to buy other books in your library. Talk about other books that are similar in topic, or ones that are in a series, to get people to look at those books. You can also suggest other heavy-hitting authors for people to check out. When people buy from them, then your book might start showing up on this list.


Amazon has many twists and turns when it comes to its algorithms and secrets, and understanding them will better help you market your book. Now be sure to focus your attention on the right areas, and youíll be sure to improve your Amazon sales and overall profit.

Amy Harrop is a published author, who also creates training materials for writers. In a previous life, she also worked in the movie industry in Hollywood. To read more of her articles or to discover her products, visit her website at: http://AmyHarrop.com/?