For all the talk in some indie circles of how Amazon is going to screw us over at some point, I’m inclined to believe that such a day is far in the future. After all, everything I’ve seen from Amazon has been about trying to help you sell books in the digital marketplace.
Amazon has positioned itself as more of a partner to indie authors and has given us tools to help us. Even KDP is a huge help because it makes it quick and easy to upload new content. They also provide helpful pricing tools that assist in making an informed decision on the best price for your work.
However, they don’t provide everything a writer could want, and here are some things I really wish they would do. (Jeff Bezos, if you’re reading this, please get your people on it!)
1. Data on where traffic to our book is coming from
I’m starting with this because I think it’s the simplest and possibly the most helpful.
Right now, this blog has analytics that will tell me where people come from, what they click to take them away from here, and what they read. I can’t track what a given individual is doing, but that’s fine. I don’t need that.
What I do need to know is what kind of content is attracting readers and where they’re coming from. This lets me adjust my strategy if necessary.
With my books, however, I don’t get that. If I use an affiliate link, I get a little tracking data, but not a lot, and I get none for anyone else’s affiliate link. I don’t know where sales are coming from, so I don’t know how to focus my efforts.
For example, I have a friend who has access to a very popular blog. She will occasionally promote books through that access. When she does, however, all the author can see directly is a spike in sales. We have to guess that the post and the spike are correlated.
Having the ability to see where traffic comes from, and where it goes, would allow authors to make better use of their marketing time and budget.
2. Sales Rank In Relation To Rest Of Genre
Through our Author Central pages, writers can see where their books’ sales rankings fall. This is great, of course, but it would be nice to have some point of reference to help make sense of it all.
After all, if I’m at #527,312 on Amazon, that’s not particularly great. However, if I’m #18 in that genre, there are lessons there. There’s also lessons there if #17 is ranked #1,334 on Amazon.
Being able to access relevant data about just what that sales rank means, particularly without having to spend time hunting for it on Amazon’s main page–a problem the more books you have available–allows writers to judge just where their books stand and try and figure out how it can do better.
Yeah, I thought I had a third one here and when I typed it out, it wasn’t nearly as useful as I’d thought (cover analytics that would only work after you paid for a cover). So, I think it would be awesome if Amazon sent me some cookies.
Chocolate chip is my personal favorite, but some variation on that–don’t even think of sending anything with raisins–would also be welcome.
OK, seriously, those are my two suggestions for ways Amazon could help make indie lives easier, and help their bottom line too. That said, I’m open to other thoughts. What do you have in mind?