I published a novella on Smashwords 2 years ago. The Love Thief. There I said it. It’s a smutty little erotic fairytale that was fun to write and I think fun to read (if you are into smut). I did it as a test of sorts. I didn’t invest a lot of expectations. It was more like ‘hey I have this thing lets see what happens’. I never expected to make any money off of it. I really just wanted to see how it all worked, the whole self publishing thing. It has sold 1 time (that was me) and downloaded 24 times (during the first week when I was awaiting premium status so probably to get it processed).
My book simply cannot be found in searches with any of the other ebook sellers through Smashwords. Even when I input my specific title and author name it’s not the first one that shows up. I did make it into the premium catalog and it was distributed to nearly all the ebook sellers EXCEPT Amazon. The Amazon status still looks like this:
|Amazon||1||book||Ships every Thursday or Friday.||Ship date TBD. Smashwords and Amazon are working to complete technical integration.|
Just like it was two years ago. The reason I initially didn’t publish it with Amazon even though they control like 50% of the market or some such ridiculous amount was because I thought it was something I was waiting days for not years! In any case, I’ve been thinking of retesting this process by perhaps trying it out with Amazon instead of Smashwords. Amazon seems to have more opportunities in place to make your book seen. Yes it’s only one seller but half of nothing is still nothing. Again I have nothing to loose.
I don’t want to invest a lot of time in marketing. I know I know for SHAME! Hey it’s an erotic novella and while I thinks it’s a fun story I’m not going to hassle my friends and family to read it. I don’t think I could attend next Thanksgiving if I did. I do know that I have to change a few things. The cover sucks, the blurb sucks etc…but remember no body could find it in the first place so those things have yet to matter.
So what’s the best way to get it seen without a bunch of marketing? Why don’t the searches work?
I’ve started with the search problem. I wanted this information in layman’s terms. Because I’m not a computer genius nor have I ever studied I typed in my search requirements in a question form that I most wanted answered:
Google search: why isn’t my self published book turning up in searches? About 29,800,000 results
However, what shows up in the first page of the search results are useless. I listed them below if you’re interested. They in no way answered the question I had posed. So I thought about something I’d read a while back on a completely different subject and typed in another search using the word algorithm.
Precisely: Google search: how to optimize algorithms on ebook seller sites
I know, probably a much smarter question right? On that whole first page of initial search results I don’t think the word algorithm was ever used. (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) However, it’s what I expected to be told somewhere in my first search.
I don’t know a lot about metadata or algorithms and wouldn’t normally use the term in regular conversation but, ding ding ding, on the very first page I found what I was looking for: How to use metadata to sell ebooks | Digital Publishing 101.
Of course this article is entitled how to SELL ebooks which is second to how to get books SEEN in this case. However, it provides the information needed to get books to show up easier without the marketing aspect. Now why algorithms or metadata didn’t pick this article up in my first search is beyond me. Maybe it works for some things and not for others. But in light of this result I’m not betting much on the outcome. But it’s something to try.
If you’re interested in the results of that first search they are below. However, in a nut shell: If your book sucks in anyway no one will read it.
Why Self-Published Books Don’t Sell – How to Make Sure Yours DOES. Basically 10 reasons why someone wont read/download your book AFTER they see it. None of which happens if they can’t search it.