New Amazon Authors: Do You Know What You Write and Who You Write For?

There is one all-important thing that I have come to appreciate about writing a book. It is important to know from the very beginning, as well as during the middle and at the end of the process, just exactly what you are writing and who you are writing for.  I know you’re probably thinking “Duh? That goes without saying.”  Or maybe something like, “I already know this”, or “Yeah, I’ve heard this before.”  Well even if you have heard it before, you’d better be good and certain that you fully understand what it means by the time you get to the end of the writing process.  Besides recognizing and understanding this point, you also need to apply it.

NOTICE THESE AMAZON CATEGORIES AND HOW MANY LEVELS DEEP THE SUBCATEGORIES CAN GO

amazon-category-structureIn the above example, you might lose out if you’re some kind of “epic” writing genius and you only list your title in the more broader “Romance / Science Fiction” category.

What are you writing?

I speak from experience, because this isn’t the first time that I have finished a complete novel and though I thought I was writing one thing, I later discovered that I had actually ended up writing something else.  Not something worse, just something different.

Finding this information out long after the fact can end up being detrimental to getting exposure for your book’s title.  I’ll save the details about my first experience with this for another time.  Right now, this conversation is specific to my new book:  “Skipping Childhood:  A Novel” (From Abused Foster Child to Adolescent Serial Killer).

This dark urban drama about a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship starts with child abuse but ends in murder.  The suspense mounts after each killing and a neglected 12-year-old fights to survive abandonment and foster care.

I wrote this book with all the enthusiasm of an author who is writing a dark thriller, full of suspense. But while Skipping Childhood has thrilling elements as well as elements of suspense, there is also another major focus.  It is the child abuse and the dynamics of the dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship.

amz-categories

In searching through the different Amazon categories, I came across the parenting and relationship option, which also offers two additional subcategories; abuse and child abuse.  Taking advantage of this particular category may prove to be a lot more beneficial to my title.  Not only is this category more specific to the book’s content, it is also a category that is not as broad as the urban, or thriller and suspense categories which are extremely popular. (More about this in the KDP section below)

On Amazon, listing your title in a category that has less competition means you have the possibility of your book receiving a higher ranking for that specific category.  Your potential to rank among the top 100 in that category is much more increased. This of course will get your book title more coverage and visibility than if you were at the bottom of a popular category.

So before you start to go with the mainstream and get buried in too broad of a category, you may want to think in terms of targeting a smaller niche subcategory. Since Amazon allows you to select two categories, you can even go with one broad category that matches your book’s content, as well as the more closely targeted niche.  This is what I recently did with Skipping Childhood.  The changes just became effective so I’ll try to watch the progress, although now, I also have some other variables to be considered.  (More about this in the KDP section below)

Who are you writing for?

Just because you’re smart enough to determine what you are writing doesn’t automatically mean you realize who you’re writing for.  One of the things that helped me to determine what it was that I had actually written (after the fact), was the blog that I created as a companion to my book.

skippingchildhood-blog.png

My Skipping Childhood (Ramblings) blog has helped me to take a good, long, and thorough look at the focus of my novel and what is driving the story.  This is when I was able to recognize how much the complex relationships between the characters stood out.  The blog has given me a valid reason to discuss the book on a regular basis, and a platform I feel strongly committed to.  As I began to interact and get feedback on book-related blog posts, I get closer to the people that my writing is for.  This doesn’t mean that readers who love urban drama and suspense novels can’t or won’t find me; it just means that those who prefer other aspects of the book will find me as well.

RECENT “”Skipping Childhood (Ramblings) BLOG POSTS:

kdpselect

KDP select

Since the December 1st release of Skipping Childhood:  A Novel, there has been one decision that I wrestled with concerning distribution.  I hesitated on whether or not to submit the title to KDP select.  I’ve used it in the past, and did not experience the success that I imaged I would.  That is why I really hate the idea of tying up my new title for 3 months and making it exclusive to Amazon.  Nonetheless, I decided to do it anyway, especially since I’m prepared to do a whole lot more marketing of this title.  I’m determined to master the strategies of becoming a best-selling author on Amazon so now is as good a time to start as any.

Here’s the dilemma that I created for myself before thinking about it more.  Not only did I sign up for KDP Select, but I also started running another Amazon Marketing Campaign (the other one was short-lived because the keywords were off).  I also chose to run a promotion for two free days.  So now, I have:

  • New book category
  • New keywords
  • Amazon Ad Marketing campaign (2 days)
  • Free Days promotion (2 days)

I think I may be doing too many things at one time.  If something actually works, it may be difficult to determine what it was.  That means I’ll need to pay close attention to my Amazon stats so I’ll know how to duplicate an activity that actually succeeds.  By next week this time when I post again to this blog, I’ll have something more about this to report.

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