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Saturday, July 21, 2012


Liking Authors

I’ve seen a flurry of comments lately, asking me to “Like” my writer friends’ Amazon Author pages.

Now, I am always happy to support my writer friends. I’ll attend book signings, hop around on blog tours, write book reviews and click on stars. I understand that marketing goes hand-in-hand with writing, and I’ll do whatever I can manage to help an author achieve success with his or her book.

So I clicked all my friends’ “Like” buttons on the Amazon Author pages. But then I began to wonder what clicking that button would accomplish.

I mean, I totally get that clicking a “Like” button on a book is helpful. Reviews drive sales, and that pushes Amazon rankings, right? But will “liking” an author work the same way? I’m not so sure.

I spent a morning reading everything I could about the Amazon Author pages and how they work. I know where to sign up, what information to provide for it, how crucial a pretty picture is. But I have no idea how that “Like” button affects an author.

Next, I zipped around a couple marketing websites and blogs, checking for information. And here’s what I found: Click on “like” buttons. Any “Like” buttons.

The marketing gurus think it’s a good idea, even if the few I came across didn’t mention the Amazon Author page specifically. And the authors feel like it’s important, even if they’re not sure why.

I read something about algorithms that Amazon uses to increase visibility of an author and the author’s books. Honestly, I try not to get too involved with algorithms. That has a definite math sound to it and if I wanted to crunch numbers, I’d be an accountant instead of a writer.

But I know that writers can’t ignore numbers, especially when those numbers are attached to dollar signs and contracts and book sales numbers. Maybe clicking on that “Like” button on the Amazon Author’s page will ultimately push numbers in a positive way.

Maybe it won’t. Do it, anyway. Everyone, including your favorite author, appreciates a “Like” now and then.


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Blogger Sioux said...

Speaking as a person who thought she was on Facebook but apparently is not, some of this is "foreign" to me--especially the math talk.

However, your ending was snappy and true. Every author does need a positive now and then.

Thanks for the post, Cathy.

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Aspie Writer said...

I have to admit I don't know exactly what "liking" an author page will do for marketing or sales either. I am just beginning my writing career, and I can vouch for the fact that seeing that I have new "likes" on my Facebook writer's page and my blog, which is brand new (started yesterday, literally) is a huge thrill.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

7:01 AM  
Blogger lizzie loodles said...

All I know is that the opposite to like is dislike so pressing like is confirmation that you are doing something right. xxx

11:16 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

Great post, Cathy! I was just thinking about this very same thing the other day.

I often click on the "Like" buttons that are on an author's Amazon Book Page for a particular book--especially if we're doing a book tour. Then it dawned on me a couple of days ago, this does nothing for the author's book other than making the page look popular. And it can be bad for you if you really don't like the book and are just trying to help an author out. Amazon uses those Likes to gauge how to market to you. They will send you e-mail advertisements with books they *think* you will enjoy that are similar to the book because you clicked on that Like button. They will also send you advertising when that author releases a new book. They will also show you ads of "recommended" books while you are shopping on Amazon. Amazon considers Likes as permission marketing.

So does Liking an Amazon book page or author page really help the author?

No, unless you have bought her book and want Amazon to inform you when she releases another so you can purchase it.

If you have read the author's book, why not leave a review as well as a Like? That is a lot more helpful, and reviews do help sell books. Also fill out appropriate categories for the book in the "tags" section of the page. This helps optimize the author's book page for the web. It's also important that you "Like" the right version of the book (hardcover, paperback, Kindle) if you really want Amazon to target you correctly.

Simply put: Liking does not translate to book sales.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

Well, dang, Angela, I was going to write all about the Tags for next time-;-)

But yes, I'm sure a book review carries more weight than the "Like" click. I had a marketing friend say that she always asked people for honest reviews--and if they don't like the book, she still wants the review. Because bad or good, the review will help her rankings!

12:07 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I'd love to read your post on Tags! I think that will be useful, and we haven't covered it before. :)

Your marketing friend is brave. I know many authors who are seriously bummed out for days about one bad review. I prefer not to spend my time writing bad reviews because I know how much goes into writing a book. I just review a book when I think it's good. I know that may not be completely helpful (and someone has to leave the bad reviews!), but that's what I'm comfortable with.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Cathy,

Thanks for your excellent advice. I always learn something about writing or marketing or publishing or Liking after reading one of your posts.

I have reviewed hundreds of books on various sites--I've made a modest income reviewing books and interviewing authors. But I never realized the impact of clicking on the LIKE button, but I will now.

And I LIKE your advice.


7:22 AM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

Interesting info. Pretty sure I've only clicked the "like" button on one author page on Amazon, but I've hit it more often for books.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Angela Ackerman said...

I didn't even know the amazon author pages could be liked! I thought this was only a Facebook thing. Thanks for the heads up!

When someone asks me to like, I do. But also like you, I wonder what it really does. I've decided that writers are already asked to do a lot, so I' won't ask people to like my pages and whatnot via emails and such. If people feel moved to like, great. :)

7:18 PM  
OpenID said...

I always click the "like" buttons on author pages even though it's nebulous as to what it actually accomplishes. But it does encourage authors. As Angela said, I always write a review if I enjoy a book, and I don't write anything at all if it's not my cup of tea. When I'm purchasing books, I look at the reviews, rather than the "likes." It's much harder to write a good review and shows the person has at least read part of the book. Anyone can "like" a page. As for tags, don't they help in a web search so people can find the books with those tags? That would be more important than likes, I think.

1:15 PM  

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