With so many authors trying to make a transition away from Amazon, there’s an apparent problem. The challenges many authors face remains rooted in the fact Amazon was a market of its own. There were facts, data, market techniques authors learned to navigate Amazon’s market. Sadly, authors are having to realize these techniques do not work outside of Amazon. Successful authors upload their books only to realize there’s no sales. If there are sales, authors become disappointed seeing their small profit. Many authors remarked that Amazon was, “an easy gold mine” one that has dried up paying out a potential half a cent a page. Taking a moment, authors will notice a few necessary techniques in the market outside of Amazon.
Amazon Means Cheap: Many authors have never made this association themselves, but Amazon eBooks have become cheap. With Amazon being seen as a, “potential gold mine,” many authors put up whatever they could to make a small fortune. This growing quantity of eBooks lowered prices below the standard $2.99 to a surprisingly low $.99 even bundles of 30 books were offered for this $.99 price. The eBooks readers got for their $.99 drove them to alternative sites like Smashwords. Readers that enjoy good quality eBooks would rather pay the $2.99 then settle for these bad quality $.99 eBooks. Because of this, today’s market is filled with readers that avoid Amazon looking books, and yes, they can tell. This means that if authors want to sell their eBooks on sites outside of Amazon, they need to shed their “Amazon identity” and present a better quality product.
Text Based Covers: These covers with full text are a sure way to turn off readers. There’s nothing more distracting than an image covered behind blocks of text. Covers are made to appeal readers, and initiate their interest. When all readers are left with is a blur behind bold often off colored neon text, that doesn’t say much about a book’s potential story. Some of the best selling books in the market today have one word titles. These intriguing titles combined with sexy cover images really excite the reader’s curiosity. Authors coming off of Amazon will find their block text covers will not appeal many readers. This directly impacts sales, leaving some authors to feel discouraged. The market has potential buyers, they just happen to know what they want. Text based covers are not what readers want.
Long Book Titles: Similar to the issue of text based covers are these long book titles. A book’s title should never take a full cover to display. Often, this problem arises because there’s too many keywords in the book’s name. This stems from Amazon having a weird way of using metadata or a book’s keywords. Authors could literally write anything in the keywords, and it’d have little to no effect. Outside of Amazon this issue doesn’t occur. Readers will find a book based on a catchy title, along with those keywords typed in the appropriate box. It’s painful to see good titles off Amazon drowned in layers upon layers of the book’s keywords. Readers are not accustomed to this on outside sites, and many associate this with lower quality eBooks now. If authors want to improve their book instantly just edit out these keywords from the book’s title.
Quality Cover Images: Now first off, I know not everyone is a cover artist or can afford to pay for covers. Amazon books however are well known for extremely lower end covers. These are covers using photos that are often quite frankly terrible. Often, these images will have very little to do with the book’s story at all. When the image does pertain to the story, it’s off colored, neon colored, out of focus, stretched, or even appears photoshopped. Put bluntly, these covers do not further a book’s sales. However, it’s worth noting these bad covers are better than some books with no cover images whatsoever. In the end, a book should have the best cover it can. Whether that means being creative with ideas, or just knowing how to put an average but good cover together. A well put together cover will sell an eBook, but a poor one will not.
Certain Kink Advertisement: Outside of Amazon’s market, there’s a realm devoted to the controversially kinky. While menage might be the highlight on Amazon, it’s standard elsewhere. Authors should note certain kinks are not in high demand outside of Amazon. This includes (with exceptions) Billionaire Romance, Alpha/Breeding, Menage, Tentacle/Monster Erotica, and Pseudo-Incest. While these categories in many instances will appeal to some readers, they aren’t the selling point authors think they are. Many times this has to do with the content Amazon excluded that outside sites allow. Pseudo-Incest can be replaced for outright Incest, Billionaire Romance can be BDSM, Monster Erotica often gets turned into Bestiality. The market can be quite different when listing kinks… in the keywords.
Pricing: The last change to note has to do with pricing. Many books on Amazon have become cheap to seemingly compete in the market. However, these lower prices actually harm books outside Amazon. Readers want to pay for good quality works. Authors often remark, “$2.99 was the going price, but it’s too much now” this is far from true. $2.99 is still the going rate for a short. Longer works can get as high as $5.95, but they have to be good quality. Remembering that price can communicate quality, authors will appreciate a reader’s willing to buy their properly priced works. Please take note, this does include bundles. Series books as a whole set should never be priced at $.99. Nor should books be given away free just to promote a series. These tactics worked mainly in the heyday of Pulp Fiction, but not anymore. Readers honestly associate a price with a book’s quality now.
While this post in no way should be taken as an end all fix all, it stands as a starting point. Authors who have shifted to an Amazon only focus and are now confused. They’ve forgotten what the market continues to be, though it’s only been a year. An author’s knowledge of the market continues to be a critical advantage. Taking a moment to fix a few of these changes will result in a better sales potential. Every author wants to succeed in the market today, and Lot’s Cave understands this. We hope this post might give a few authors a starting point. In time, authors can then learn the critical marketing information we’ve acquired as a company over the years. The Kindle Unlimited program’s fate may be uncertain, but that’s no reason to panic. Just take a deep breath, and try something new. It might not be so bad after all.