Kindle and Amazon Search Results

Over the next few postings I’m going to examine the following screen shot that I took on Amazon when I entered the phrase “successful authors self publishing” into the Amazon search box on August 11.  Sorry the graphic is so small; I had to make sure it could fit in this narrow column on this blog template.  Basically, this is showing the first nine results of the search phrase.   The 8th book is missing its cover image. There is an advertisement in the lower left-hand corner. And directly above the advertisement is an Amazon “promotion” for listmania lists.

Since we’re currently on the topic of the Highly Effective Kindle edition, I first want to draw your attention to the double exposure my book, The Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors, is receiving on the first page of this search results screen.  I mentioned in a previous post that the $0.35 I make every time the Kindle edition sells is merely icing on the cake, and not particularly important to me.  What is important is that when applicable search terms are typed into the Amazon search engine, my book cover appears TWICE.  This, I feel, is one of the true benefits of the Kindle edition and is a concept I discuss to some degree in my book Sell Your Book on Amazon.

Getting a book to place on Page One of any Amazon search is an art onto itself, and there are many techniques and tactics an author can employ to reach such objectives.  The value, therefore, of having a similarly-titled Kindle edition is that once you reach that objective on the search page, you are receiving “two bangs for your buck” through the visual repetition of your book cover and book title.

It’s hard to say whether The Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors is the very FIRST thing your eye gravitates to on the screen shot above.  After all, it’s fighting for attention from the red ad in the bottom left corner, which has the advantage of being the single largest graphic image on the page.  It’s also fighting for attention from those two obnoxiously bright yellow cover images along the left-hand side (and more on that in a future post).   But among the actual results themselves, it might be fair to say my book attracts the most attention.  Certainly it’s competing with the bright red Self-Publishing Confidential cover (which is an effective color AND an effective title); but my book has three things going for it that my “competitors” don’t – and by competitors, I mean the other books listed in this particular search, all of which are vying equally for the customer’s attention and dollars. Those 3 advantages are:

  •  there are two of the same graphics in the top 10 (thank you Kindle edition)- repetition matters
  • the cover graphic isn’t white – see how book #1 and #6 get completely lost?
  •  the cover graphic is significantly bigger than all the other covers on the page

So we’ll discuss each of these elements of this screen shot in future posts…

The Highly Ineffective Habits of Barnes & Noble

I like Barnes & Noble. In fact, as a writer myself, it probably doesn’t come as a shock to learn that I love all bookstores. But times haven’t been kind to the traditional bookstore since about 1995 or so. That is when came into existence and slowly (quickly) began changing book buying habits. Now, the physical locations of Barnes & Noble bookstores are becoming more of a liability than an advantage; and much like Blockbuster was forced to examine its business model in the wake of NetFlix, so too is Barnes & Noble starting to recognize the forward-thinking of Amazon from behind the 8-ball.   In fact, at the beginning of August, Barnes & Noble announced that it was “on the block” and looking for a buyer. Read the interesting article in Fast Company here.

Interestingly, even such news comes with a silver lining. Barnes & Noble’s digital business (its website at and its Nook) continues to grow and, along with’s growing market share, further supports the notion that distribution-on-demand with self-publishing companies like Outskirts Press is not only a viable solution but is on its way toward becoming the de facto standard for how books are distributed and sold.  And with both Nook and Kindle versions of e-books up sharply, authors are well advised to offer not only paperback/hardback editions of every book they publish, but electronic versions as well.  

To support this changing landscape, Outskirts Press recently introduced its Amazon Kindle edition on an a la carte basis to authors seeking this electronic solution regardless of where they published their hardcopy book.  And in the coming months, Nook and iPad services should follow suit.   I could take a moment here to vent about Apple and its monopolistic aggregation agreement briefly (not to mention their cencorship habits) but …. I think I’ll wait until a different post to open that can of worms.  After all, I’m still in the middle of discussing the Highly Effective Kindle edition, and will continue with that topic in more logistic detail next time…

The Highly Effective Kindle Edition

How clever. The title of this blog posting has a double meaning. For one, I’m announcing the Amazon Kindle edition of our new Outskirts Press book The Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors.  And two, the Kindle Edition IS a highly effective tool for book marketing, and I’ll discuss why and how in the next post.

But first thing’s first.  Within 72 hours of ordering our own Amazon Kindle Edition option from our Outskirts Press website, my Kindle edition was up on Amazon and available for purchase on all the Amazon Kindle devices worldwide.  Not bad for $99.  And I had the option of earning either 30% of the retail price, or 70% of the retail price, as defined by Amazon.  

The benefit of ordering this service through Outskirts Press rather than… say… any other publisher… is that Outskirts Press does not take ANY of the split.  Amazon pays you directly, so you are getting whatever Amazon sends to your bank without any skimming from us. You see (and this is one of the secrets to our publishing success) we pay 100% author royalties, and in the case of e-books, there isn’t a production cost. So Amazon takes their share and the author takes the rest.   No wonder so many authors, regardless of where they published, are using our new a la carte Amazon Kindle Edition service from the new Outskirts Press store. Click here for more details.

Since I wanted as many readers as possible to read this latest book, I set my Kindle retail price at the minimum of $0.99 and as a result, the 30% royalty option was selected for me.  You see, Amazon requires a retail price between $2.99 – $9.99 to receive a 70% royalty. In most cases, I would encourage authors to set their Kindle price at $2.99 and receive 70% (roughly $2 for every sale).   At 30% of $0.99 I’m receiving a whopping thirty-five cents with every sale, but in my opinion, Kindle sales are currently just icing on the cake.  The real motivation is to drive Paperback sales, and I’ll talk about that in a future post.  

Heck, for a limited time, for my blog readers, I’ll GIVE the e-book of The Highly Effective Habits of 5 Successful Authors away.  Click here to read the e-book for free  (and in a way cooler method than on the Kindle, too!).   Or if you prefer the Kindle edition, click here to get it from Amazon for $0.99. In return, just do me a small favor and compose a positive review for it on Amazon.    See, soliciting reviews is an important component of any book marketing strategies and often times you may find that you have to “give the book away” to get reviews.  That’s the beauty of e-books – they’re inexpensive to give away and yet they still (hopefully) prompt participation in the review department.

There is more to discuss about the Highly Effective Kindle edition, and I’ll cover more next time…