Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Not to Sell Books on Amazon

The amazon forums are fascinating. Each forum has a distinct culture, and unwritten rules.

The romance forum, for example, hates author spammers. Spamming violates the TOS of the forums. The romance folk take this prohibition seriously. If a poster so much as has a link to their book in their sig line, the post will be down-voted, and the whole post will functionally disappear. The romance folk chase away the spammers, one by one, as they pop up. It's the cyber analog of torch and pitchfork. And because of that, the romance forum is lively and valuable, with genuine book recommendations and fabulous discussions.

In contrast, the related erotica and erotic romance forums are nearly barren. The threads have been completely overrun by self-published authors hawking their books. Such authors participate in the online societies only to sell, repeating their posts again and again, just as fast as Amazon deletes them.

There's been a recent reader uprising on the erotic and erotic romance forums. Spammers have been confronted. The spammers respond with entitlement (how else do I sell my book?) or counter-attacks, or even cries of being "bullied".

Someone came up with the idea to "tag" spammer-books with "spam" and "spammer". Unfortunately one of the spammers took offense at the tag war. This author electronically hunted down one of her taggers--and her family. The tagger's son was contacted by this e-mail at his job:
Subject Line: Your Wife is Sick

Message: Tell your sick wife {name deleted} that if she comes after my books with her tags again, or gets her friends too, I'll be advertising your company in a bad way all over the internet. She is affecting my income and I'll do the same back.
Sadly, this particular author is not even the worst of the vanity spammers. And likely she's not even the most insane. Amazon needs to do something about this "harmless" self-promotion.

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