How I Rediscovered Amazon
Over the past few months, I did some evaluation of being an author at this point in my life and I began to get over negative interactions with previous readers. Last week I went into Amazon again for the first time in years. Not with flight syndrome about comparing my books to other people's or even comparing my books to each other. I just examined the book section as if I was new to reading, like a potential audience for a book--an increasingly disengaged, only-reads-a-little-bit type of reader. In short, the way most people browse Amazon books. It was both eye-opening and fun. I really, really enjoyed it. After looking at each genre, I noticed readership patterns, types of books that were popular, and levels of engagement with entire genres that surprised me. (Some have MUCH less than you'd think, some much more.) My books are on a par with other authors except for visibility and intensely genre-specific expensive cover design. But I don't write formula trope books that readers can pick out just by their cover. I write within a category, but my work has a bit broader goals than being identical to other books and for placement within a genre, so readers have some idea what to expect, my covers are more than adequate. They're actually excellent.
I found myself in the Teen and Young Adult Category, which is how I've marketed myself for basically all my writing career. But a problem arose as I noticed that three of my books didn't really fit into the category and what I find quite ironic is that these three out-of-character books have also been some of the most reviewed. If readers were looking to learn more about my writing (or about me personally), they should have looked at any of the other books that were tucked away on the side since those are far closer to showing my thoughts on relationships or at least more reflective of my writing persona even if they don't reveal much about my personal life.
So for various reasons, these three books keep my marketing from being sufficiently focused on a category. They are still available for sale and I have added hardcover editions of them on Amazon along with the hardcovers for all my other books. But I am simply removing them as part of my overall author image. For instance, they don't appear on my website; they won't be featured in any new stories that use characters from my books (after consideration, I've changed my mind from a few months ago when I planned to use elements from Bellevere); and they will not be promoted through review or book promotion sites. I feel almost sorry for readers who got sidetracked by these three books, even if finding out more about my personal secrets wasn't a good motive to have. I need to be very clearly a Young Adult Author so in future I am going to be a little more focused on that genre. What started out as simply an openness to trying more writing styles became a bit of a marketing issue when my less-typical books were viewed by readers as my primary ones. And since neither of us found what we wanted--they gained no information about my personal opinions and I didn't get a dedicated readership on my slice of YA fiction--it's best to take a new path that is more narrowly placed.
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Young Adult Fiction Writer
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