Chasing the Secret Amazon Algorithm

Holy Smokes!

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.


One thought on “Chasing the Secret Amazon Algorithm

  1. Many bloggers and authors have experiences with Google and Amazon that they would like to share. Many more people will benefit if these experiences were shared.

    The third eBook in the Pimp ur Blog series is now open to multiple co-authors. My offer for Pimp ur Blog Episode Three: Working with Amazon and Google is to publish another edition each time I receive another co-author’s material. I will, of course, publicize each Episode Three edition with press releases, bookmark links on three-dozen social bookmarking sites, blog posts, social media, and inclusion of blurbs for each co-author’s other works.

    I will add permanent links to each co-author’s blog or website on each page. The eventual result will be that each co-author’s name and/or blog will make its way into 100 or so associated links and references in Google’s search results!

    The initial Episode Three edition starts with my experiences in working with Google as a blogger by describing how to access the wealth of information that Google Webmaster Tools stores for every blog. I share the details of what I did with a $100 Google AdWords credit, and briefly review what effect the recent changes within Google have had when they filter down to our blogs’ Google search results.

    I continue with my experiences in working with Amazon as an author who does not participate in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. Episode Three wraps up with some items of interest from the previous eBooks in the Pimp ur Blog series.

    Except that Episode Three does not really conclude at all. Anyone who wants to contribute as a co-author will always be welcome! Let me know what you think through, comments, or any other way you want.


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