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The Power Of Amazon

How cool is this? Today I am the third most popular horror author in the US - behind the amazing Blake Crouch and the even more amazing Stephen King. I'm not worthy.

It's all down to promotion by Amazon on their US and Canadian sites.

I've been a huge KDP fan ever since it started, and am hugely grateful for the way KDP and Amazon have boosted my sales over the past three years.

As well as self-publishing several books through KDP, I gave two of my books - Once Bitten and The Basement - to Amazon to publish through their Thomas and Mercer imprint.

That was three years ago, and yesterday - yes, yesterday - Once Bitten was in the US Kindle Top 100. How cool is that? It's nothing to do with me, it was simply that Amazon decided to promote the book. And wow, does their promotion produce results!

Within hours of Amazon starting their promotion, Once Bitten was in the US Top 20 chart. As of today, it's just outside the Top 100. And it's the top selling vampire book which is way cool when you consider what the competition is. 

The book is even higher in the Canadian charts! Number 73 as we speak, though it was higher!

Publishing is a funny old game. One of the things I've learned over the last twenty years as a published author is that the difference between an author who sells just a few books and an author who sells a ton of books is promotion, pure and simple. And no one does promotion better than Amazon!

If you are a self-publisher, Amazon is the best place to be. Yes, I would recommend using other platforms - I am a big fan of Smashwords - but Amazon is the gorilla in the room and you would be crazy to ignore them.

Not that there aren't crazy people out there. Self-styled self-publishing guru Suw Charman-Anderson for instance, hates Amazon with a vengeance. She claims to be a social technologist, journalist and writer, but she refuses to use Amazon.

It's crazy advice, frankly, from someone who clearly doesn't "get" self-publishing.

In fact Suw Charman-Anderson recently announced she was giving up self-publishing. You can read about that HERE

It's hardly surprising that her foray into self-publishing was so unsuccessful - ignoring Amazon makes no sense at all. And anyone who suggests that is really not giving sensible advice to aspiring writers. (I also think that a real journalist wouldn't feel the need to use the word "shit" in an article about self-publishing, but that's another story.)

Here's an example of Suw Charman-Anderson's writing - which pretty much says all there is to say about her, frankly.

She also touts herself as a social media "expert" but seems to think it acceptable to use profanity on Twitter, and her blog. That fact alone means any advice she offers about social media is suspect.

But look at her Twitter stats if you want to get an idea of how much of an expert Suw Charman-Anderson is on social media.  Last time I looked she had sent almost 80,000 tweets (the equivalent of two million words, by the way - more than 20 novels!) but despite that prodigious output she had fewer than 6,000 followers. So she tweets away but hardly anyone notices. Does having 6,000 followers quality her as any sort of expert on social media?

Not according to TwitterCounter who say that there are more than 100,000 Twitter accounts that are more popular than Suw Charman-Anderson. So presumably there are 100,000 people who know more about social media than she does.

So the question is, who can you depend on to offer up useful, and accurate, advice to writers who are just starting out? Not writers like Suw Charman-Anderson, that's for sure.

It seems to me that the best guide to the quality of the advice you will get comes from the number of books the person has sold. Not the number of books they have written because there are plenty of awful authors who are churning out rubbish books in huge numbers. Look to see how many books they have sold.  Suw Charman-Anderson - virtually none.  So look instead for advice from writers like Stephen King, Lee Child, Val McDermid and Jefferey Deaver, who sell in their millions.

And if you want advice from a self-publishing guru - a real self-publishing guru and not simply a wannabe - then go to the font of all knowledge, the awesome JA Konrath who has sold well over a million eBooks himself. YOU CAN READ JA KONRATH'S ADVICE BY CLICKING HERE

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