So, here’s another thing! When you upload your book onto Amazon, you have to add tags. I know... you're thinking, Tags - I've heard of them! And you'd be right. Tags are part of the online bartering system, "You tag mine and I'll tag yours," is the mantra of the tagaholics (did I just create a new word?)
You can have a maximum of 15 (tags that is), and these tags should relate to your book, but here's a website that explains it a lot better than I ever could: http://bit.ly/eELton - Good job Mrs Kennedy who doesn't even know I'm directing traffic her way! Now, you might think that's an end to it - tagged, done, finished, caput, terminus! Well, Grasshopper, (Do you remember that TV series from 1967 called Kung Fu with David Carridine in? I loved that, but... let's not start veering off into the uncharted territory of my memories). I can tell you that is not an end to it, not by any stretch of the imagination (and let's face it, Grasshopper, you have a bucketful of imagination). I hope you're sitting comfortably, because this tale could meander down smoggy lanes and stretch late into the night? Amazon.com seems to be reasonably stable, but Amazon.co.uk is really flakey. Sometimes the tags are there, and sometimes they're not. (When they're there they're very very good, but when they're not they're very very bad - sorry couldn't resist!)
Also, you have to sign in to do anything with these tags - you're thinking, Do I sign in? Well, if you don't you'll be wandering around forever looking for the revolving door. (Do you remember that Star Trek: Next Generation episode called The Royale where Riker, Data, and Worf are stuck in a Casino? Well, it'll be a bit like that. Oh yes, I'm a Trekkie - they should bring it back. Somebody should start a petition!) "Is that the end?" you're asking. No, no, no... we have a long way to go yet, Grasshopper And don't think you can sign in on Amazon.com and hop over the pond and use it in the UK (or vikki-verki for that matter), because you can't, Grasshopper! (Grasshopper was David Carridine as a bald-headed boy being educated by Shaolin monks in the origami of Kung fu, or was it feng shui...?) Anyway, if you want to tick the tags on both sites you have to sign in twice.
Now, we haven't even addressed the reason why your book (or for that matter your vibrator, or perfume, or... have you seen that book called Dating my Vibrator - how desperate is that?) has got tags. I'm reliably informed that its so readers can find your book - stop laughing Grasshopper! You're thinking, The tags are there, why haven't readers found my book? And why aren't I a millionnaire already with a Jacuzzi, radio-controlled garage door, and a stair lift? Well, Grasshopper things are never as simple or as easy as Rubik's cube (Could you do it? I swivelled it for what seemed like my whole teenage years and never even got close! I think I've still got it somewhere...) Anyway - where was I? Oh yes, vibrators... no no, readers finding your book - Yes, that's the deal. You've got your tags listed, they're a mixture of most-used and unique as advised by Mrs Kennedy above, so go on - pretend you're a reader - type in one of those little tag suckers - did you find your book, Grasshopper?
"No, Master," you say to me. "What lesson will you learn me today?" (He used to talk like that, you know - with a high-pitched voice that I can't quite master anymore). I've written 6 books about serial killers (and a number of others about other stuff as well - Link here: http://bit.ly/gcNL94), and I've put 'serial killer' as a tag on each one of them. Go on, Grasshopper, guess what happens when I type that tag in the search box? "This is a trick question isn't it, Master?"
You're getting the hang of this, Grasshopper. Well, let me tell you the answer because the hands of the clock are in danger of moving backwards. I go to my book http://amzn.to/dKPVOe and it tells me its lying at a respectable 25 in the serial killers category, but typing 'serial killers' in the search box reveals a list where my book is not No. 25! Now, at this point you're thinking, I hope he's got a ball of golden thread with him because he's in a maze, inside a Japanese puzzle box (Have you seen one of those infernal devices? I had one as a kid. Here's a link: http://amzn.to/h7A5EL). So, if you actually look under 'Product Details' (of my book!) the route to actually navigate to this particular book in Serial Killers is: #25 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Law & Disorder > Issues > Serial Killers - Say what?
Exactly! I rest my case, Grasshopper! Now, you may not be the most colouful marble in the marble bag, but if someone can tell you how a reader finds my book I'd be happy to let them download a free copy of any one of my titles - Ha, easy money!
There’s also a Like button, but what does 'Like' actually mean, Grasshopper? Does it mean, I like the web page? I like the book cover? I like the fact that I actually made it here and found your book? I like your book even though I havent read it? or... I like yours because you liked mine? I know what you're thinking, but let's keep it clean shall we? (Have you noticed no one uses 'shall' anymore - except me, I use it a lot so that the word shall not die out)! So, when you press this 'Like' button it changes colour (nifty or what?) and the number inside increases by numero uno (didn't Schwarzeneggar say that one time in the Terminator? I still watch those movies, you know - Call me a deranged psychopath, but those suckers are some of the best films ever made!) Oh well... when an actual reader works his/her (PC) way through the convoluted tunnels of the labyrinthine Cretan maze at Amazon, they'll see that a numero uno person likes your book - Great, or what?
Readers may like to (play on words there if you were reading so fast you didn't notice - slow down, Grasshopper) comment on whether anybody takes any notice of this 'Like' button - No Grasshopper, I'm not giving away anymore damned books - I mean, they're already 75p/99c (+VAT/Tax, handling charge, wireless fee, production manager's cut, lighting boy's wedge, or whatever). If that isn't a bargain I don't know what is. "A future blog, Master?" - Damned right, Grasshopper!
Finally, let's expound on the subject of reader reviews. Your hundreds and thousands of fans – once they’ve finished reading your book – can write an honest, but glowing review saying what a wonderful story arc it had (that’s a beginning, a middle, and an end - to the unwashed, or should that be uninitiated?) How the plot was riddled with conflict – rising action – climax – falling action – resolution, and threaded itself inexorably to that unputdownable ending (Did you cry at the end of Titanic? Not me - real men don't cry!)
"Are you still talking about reviews, Master?" Forgive me, Grasshopper, an old man's memories sometimes impinge on everyday life. So, that pesky reader - who downloaded your book for a bargain 75p/99c and read it twice because they couldn't believe anybody wrote so beautifully - is in mid-utterance telling you how the characters are multi-dimensional, believable, and utterly compelling. How they were sat on the edge of their seats, biting nails that had long since withered away - essentially, they were rooting for the protagonist and his Moll (Is anybody actually called that anymore? I remember watching Bonnie & Clyde - watch the brilliant ending with Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway...)
"Don't wander off again, Master." I'd give you a clip round the ear if I was still allowed to do that, Grasshopper. So, reviews - two quick points because you've got your initiation ceremony soon - where you walk on red hot coals and pick up a burning cauldron with your bare arms - Remember, pain is all in the mind! "Thank you..." Stop interrupting me, Grasshopper. The first point is, can we believe the number and content of reviews? Well, let's say there are 25 x 5* reviews, which is what you expected anyway, but hold on... I've heard that all 25 of those reviews were written by family and friends. "Surely not, Master?" Yes, I can see the shock chiselled on your innocent boyish face, Grasshopper. Who would do such a thing? Unfortunately, readers (who have had the good fortune to stumble upon your book) don't like books that ain't got at least five reviews. Here are two links: Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk - Scroll down the list of my books (yes, I know it appears to the unwashed (or should that be untrained?) eye as if I'm shamelesslessy plugging my own books, but there's a valuable lesson to be learned here, Grasshopper).
"Is it time for a lime milkshake yet, Master?" Nearly, Grasshopper. As you can see, my books have been strutting their stuff on Amazon for a month now, and (apart from not being a multi-millionnaire like Amanda Hocking) they've hardly had any reviews. You can rightly conclude from this that I have no friends, and my family can't read. At this point, let me also formally thank those readers who 1) have bought and read my books, and 2) posted a review on Amazon - What more could a writer ask for? "More sales, Master?" Damned right, Grasshopper!
The second point, is that... Oh yes, where are the reviews? Those pesky readers buy your book, read it in one sitting thrilled at the wonderful... Anyway, why don't they post reviews? Don't they understand that part of their reader responsibility when they hand over the extortionate amount of 75p/99c is to write and post a review on Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, Barns & Noble, Diesel... Is it idleness? A laissaiz faire attitude - init? Or, does it go deeper than that? "What do you think the answer is, Master?" The fullness of time, Grasshopper, the fullness of time...
Hi, I'm Tim Ellis - I write a lot and I hope you enjoy what I write.