Amazon and Kindle fail at social media!
First and foremost, I believe that Amazon and Kindle have revolutionized the way the world reads books, they have championed the Print On Demand and the ebook concepts and they are absolute world leaders in their field. I applaud and respect them for this, without Amazon and Kindle very few people would have read my recent satirical crime thriller novel Cut Limbo. Thank you so much guys!
Amazon and Kindle have opened up a world of opportunity for writers and would be writers, at long last the sad vanity press days are over and anyone with something to say, can now stand up and say it with minimal expense or technical knowledge. To me, that is freedom of the press and it’s a wonderful thing. Long live the Internet!! Long live Amazon and Kindle!
This is all thanks to the foresight and leadership of Amazon and Kindle, among others; however, writing, producing and publishing a book is one thing, selling it is entirely another.
If it wasn’t for Amazon and Kindle, I would still be sending emails to publishers and literary agents and getting a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response for 1 in every 100 emails, just like back in the late 90′s. (Prior to that the results with letters were worse and it was far more expensive and time consuming) Things have certainly improved in many ways! This blog post is constructive criticism and not a whinge or a compliant, thanks to my recent FREE Kindle weekend, 128 new people downloaded my book Cut Limbo. That’s a great result, but Kindle FREE weekends are a limited resource.
However, regardless of the amazing Amazon technology and the Kindle FREE weekends, a writer’s lot is still not easy, despite the fact that getting a book written and published is significantly easier than ever before.
As I have always maintained about blogging, a blog post, however good or bad, without an audience is just words and pictures. Guess what? Books are no different.
Most writers, authors, novelists, call them what you will, are fairly traditional people, they may not be fully up to date with technology and social media marketing, with blogging, Twitter or Google+. OK, unless they live in a cave, they’ve probably heard of Facebook, but maybe they haven’t heard of StumbleUpon, Triberr, Tumblr, Twylah, Pinterest, Flickr, Kred, Empire Avenue, RebelMouse or WordPress.
OK, so Amazon and Kindle have revolutionized the printing/publishing business, but what about sales? Plenty of writers are talking about the delights of producing a book, their long thought about masterpieces, but sales are apparently something else and not always easy to achieve regardless of a good product . How can these traditional writers, with their limited (we expect) budgets and their limited social media experience, possibly hope to get to the top of the best sellers list?
So who gets to the Top Ten and how do they do it?? Lots of readers reviews clearly help a bit! (And I would love some more on Cut Limbo, thank you!)
F Scott Fizgerald and Dan Brown, I know how they got there, nice work by the way F Scott Fitzgerald, but what about the others? (I must confess to not being familiar with all them) Did they do it through publishing house promotion, literary agent connections or are they self published? If they are self published, did they do it on limited budgets or with help from social media, or with a combination of the two?
Sadly, I doubt very much if they did it with the social media connectivity supplied by Amazon and Kindle.
Why does Amazon/Kindle only have email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest shares? (see bottom left)
Look how many social media platforms are actually available to use for sharing…
Why does Amazon/Kindle only have 3 sharing icons and email? Why are they at the bottom of the right hand side of the page, the very last place people are likely to look?? I don’t even know what social media platforms all these icons represent, but that’s not really the point, is it?
Why is the Twitter link at the very top of the page and SO VERY SMALL that an untrained eye might not even see it? The Twitter link to say that you’ve purchased a book is BRILLIANT and a truly inspired idea, but people should also be offered the opportunity to send a Tweet when they’ve Looked Inside or when they’ve actually read a review or Amazon/Kindle should let readers Tweet sample lines from a chosen novel if they wish to! Why not? Fans would love this! And so would the writers. Social media is all about getting involved and communicating, let’s make this media as social as we can. There should be no barriers and if Twitter can’t handle all the additional traffic, Jeff and the gang can easily build an Amazon/Kindle Twitter type platform, they can afford it, right?
Plus, why oh why? when Cut Limbo has 3 great reviews (so far), does Amazon/Kindle declare that it only has 1? OK, 1 is on Kindle, but the paperback is the same story, isn’t it?
Hey, Jeff Bezos, Amazon and Kindle why not give struggling writers all the help they need?
Maybe they think they have, let’s see what else is available…
How about my Amazon/Createspace profile page, how much does that help?
Amazon’s Createspace offers the opportunity to produce an author profile, but it’s not very exciting is it? OK, I am responsible for the copy, but the layout looks pretty dull and quickly thrown together to me. Most of it’s white space and a Createspace advert. The only social media connectivity is the ability to LIKE it on Facebook. WOW! Compared to the superb cutting edge technology put together for producing the book, this author profile is amateur night from the 90′s.
Here’s the forum for Kindle authors, Voice of the Author/Publisher, how inspirational do you find this? Not very? Me neither. This is very, very boring. Even just an avatar along with the name of the people posting and a better format would brighten it up a little.
While we consider Amazon’s total assets of around $32,000,000,000 let’s tell Jeff Bezos what we need from social media to really help improve Amazon and Kindle:
1. A fully connected Amazon blog for authors, with genres, author profiles, author interviews, author videos, authors writing tips and announcements.
2. A fully connected Amazon blog for readers (forget Goodreads, that’s just fine as it is) with new releases of all genres, authors profiles, author interviews and book/movie collaborations.
I believe that individual platforms for writers and readers is essential, they have different needs and different motivation to visit literary social media platforms. If they want both they can go to Goodreads, that’s a great place too!
3. A fully connected Amazon YouTube channel with trailers for books, interviews with authors, pundits and all types of Amazon and Kindle discussion groups.
All Amazon and Kindle sites MUST be fully connected to ALL aspects of social media, this will enable writers to really share and maximize their sales potential.
The Amazon Kindle Twitter profiles should offer more help to authors and follow more people, interact more perhaps? The Amazon Kindle team has only sent 2,605 Tweets and they follow 93 people. I’m just @marketingm8, but I’ve sent 37,285 and I follow 2,283 people.
The daily/weekly guest authors on the blogs can share their writing experiences, offer help and anecdotes and encourage the next generation of writers and promote their books. (Check out Elmore Leonard’s YouTube video)
The media can be offered early access to the Amazon blogs for promotional information, i.e. TV programs magazine interviews, radio shows.
This will help authors, this will create even more interest in Amazon and Kindle, provide an additional advertising medium and boost world reading… how bad can that be??
I hope Jeff Bezos at Amazon reads this and yes Jeff, I will fly out to consult with you on the changes needed and I will manage a team to carry them out successfully, I’ve certainly got the experience, both from self publishing and social media. Bottom line is Jeff, it would not cost Amazon or Kindle a lot of money to set up and it would create a few jobs. Just Tweet me, I’ll fly right over.
And Jeff, PLEASE don’t forget, this is NOT a complaint, as I said at the beginning, Amazon/Kindle are brilliant and revolutionary, but some writers are finding it hard to make sales. It is probably not because there are too many books to chose from, because people will pick out the very best and word does get around, it always has and always will, the cream rises to the top.
But please help us, the writers, help us share our work and earn you and your shareholders (and us) money, just enough money so we can keep writing. It’s a simple equation, right?
Please, PLEASE share this on Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twylah, Triberr, Facebook and just about anywhere else you can think of.