Recently, I came across an ad which promises to increase sales on Amazon. Sounded promising, so I clicked the link. I was hit by something that made complete sense, yet didn’t. One of those conundrums that begs to ask the question: is this moral?
The premise of this site was simple and mimicked that of a pyramidal type business. Pay your $19.99 along with 1,000 other authors who are on KDP and the offer then closes to this select group. Then when you have your KDP free days, all the authors download each other’s books which raises your ranking. Simple, right?
Here is where I struggle with this (and where I think self-published authors start to get a bad rap): is it legit? I can sit here and barter with hundreds of other authors and boast that my numbers are in the top 1oo, but did people actually read my book? I mean, isn’t that the point of writing? When did publishing a book become more about numbers than it did about the actual material published?
It’s everywhere, isn’t it? Buy 1,000 Facebook likes for $9.99, by 10,000 Twitter friends for $19.99, and now you can buy your Amazon rank through some pyramid scam. I realize we all want to be number one, and heck, I’d settle for staying in the top 1,000 on the regular Amazon ranking system (not KDP), but i’d like to be there because people actually read my book, not because 1,000 other authors downloaded my book. I mean, if they downloaded 1,000 books, what are the odds they actually read or will read yours? 1 in 1,000!
My other concern was that the website boasted an increase in sales, but is giving it away free an increase in sales? I posted to Facebook once, in response to a similar question, and stated, “If you give away 10,000 books on KDP and become #1 because of it, you are NOT a #1 seller, but a #1 giver-awayer.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind free days, I really do. It is a great marketing strategy and wonderful way to let people know about your book, but this system is hard to judge. I met a woman who loved downloading on “free” days, and stated she downloaded over 5,000 so far, but when asked how many she actually read the number was an approximated 50. Oh, and of those 50, more than half were traditionally published authors.
This has become all too prevalent, and here I am trying to teach my kids that hard work pays off. One day they will tell me, “No mom, for $19.99, I can buy my grade or 1,000 college credits.” Here I am busting my gluts to really sell my product, and all I had to do was buy my rank? I’m concerned. Any thoughts?