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5 things I’ve Learned from (almost) 4 Years of Publishing at Amazon

by Traci Tyne Hilton

Since publishing my scrappy little novel about the plucky blonde Realtor back in 2010, I have spent hundreds of hours studying Amazon, what makes it tick, and what makes writers with equal talent have such wildly different experiences. I have a handful of takeaways from my obsession with the Great ‘Zon that are worth looking at, even if you aren’t thinking of going indie.

1. Good covers sell great books. Great covers don’t sell bad books (for very long).

The takeaway: If money is tight, spend it on editing. Covers can be had for as little as $50 from some sites, but a $500 custom cover is wasted on a book that isn’t ready to be read!

2. Amazon changes the rules…a lot.

The takeaway: Instead of spending hours and hours scouring the internet looking for tips and tricks to help your book become a best seller, spend your time mastering your craft and writing your next book.

3. Readers don’t welcome Authors at Amazon Forums

The takeAway: Draw readers to your blog and Facebook where readers DO love interacting with you, by placing links in the back matter of your ebook.

4. Readers Want what They Want, and More of It!

The takeaway: fall in love with your characters so you won’t mind writing a never ending series about them.

5. There are enough readers for everyone.

The takeaway: authors, both traditionally published and bestselling indies, are a warm-hearted, and welcoming bunch. They are happy to teach you what they know and celebrate your success. The writing world is like a big, happy, and pretty functional, family. If you have a sense of humor about yourself, but take your craft and your business seriously, you will be welcomed with open arms by the best and brightest in today’s literary world.

A little backwards from recommended practice, I fully embraced the first two takeaways after I published my first book. (Whoops!) But, once I did, I did it with my whole heart, to the point of even rewriting my earlier work.

House2Focusing on craft-learning to write a good book-is the number one key to success as an author, indie or trade. It’s something, as writers, we can work on for the rest of our lives. But once you have your skill set in place, the other takeaways are all it takes to turn a writer into a best seller, earning a hearty income doing what they love.

Traci Tyne Hilton is the Vice-Prez of the Portland-Vancouver ACFW Chapter. She’s also the indie author responsible for the Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries and the Plain Jane Mystery Series. Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery is always free for eReaders!

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4 Responses to 5 things I’ve Learned from (almost) 4 Years of Publishing at Amazon

  1. Beth Steury says:

    Great tips, Traci. Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Cindy Huff says:

    These five simple tips were gems. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. traci says:

    Thanks Beth and Cindy! I would never encourage other writers to spend as much time networking, digging into Amazon, or just plain procrastinating on the next book as I have. :) But…if all the time I’ve spend learning how things tick can help my friends, it’s worth it!

  4. Thanks. I guess after awhile you just learn to waste less time.