Some indie writers are going bonkers trying to keep up with the ever-shifting, ever-obscure, even legendary beast, the Amazon Kindle Ranking Algorithm. Apparently, this secret formula, this special sauce, is continually being whipped up and mixed up and conjured up so that Amazon can maximize the almighty dollar or at least provide some handy CYA for its marketing managers.
A bestseller list used to be based more or less on how many copies a book sold. I say ‘more or less’ because over time that kind of turned into ‘how many copies were bought by bookstores, not by people’, and in turn that changed into ‘how many copies were bought by the only two bookstore chains that mattered, Borders and Barnes and Noble’, and that changed, yet again, into a serpent eating its tail, because the publishers eventually only printed as many copies as those chains would buy, so that a bestseller was already pre-determined before it was even printed and possibly before it was even written.
Strange but true.
Now come these upstart ebooks with their wonky prices of 99 cents or $2.99 or even $0.00 for goodness sakes! So Amazon apparently decided to adjust their rankings on the basis of some combination of price and category and KDP-Select-program-participation (a.k.a. Amazon exclusivity) and witch-hazel and eye-of-newt and so on. Frantically, indie writers are kept scrambling to figure out what are the proper price points and keywords and tags and categories that will garner them the most ‘reach’ and the highest possible rankings in order for THEM to maximize THEIR almighty dollar and coerce a WIN-WIN out of this ungodly situation.
I wish them all the best of luck, and leave you with my ode to maximization, brought to you by that dimwitted darling of dementia, Beauregaard and Scooter.