Follow Authors at Amazon (Hear all about it)

Amazon Follow


A really cool thing happened to me recently.

I received an email from Amazon a week or two ago.

I almost deleted it. At first, I thought it was an advertisement for a book. I get those a lot.

But I noticed the subject line and realized it was different.

The email subject was: A Question about Your Book “Learn or Review Trigonometry: Essential Skills.”

My first thought was to wonder what was wrong. But it was good news, not bad.

The question was, “Would you like to share this release with your Amazon Followers?”

You bet I would! (Too bad I don’t have that many Amazon followers. But I’ll take what I can get.)

The email included a picture of my book cover, the title, and Yes and No buttons. I clicked Yes.

I published this book on June 10. I received the email from Amazon on June 26, a little over two weeks after the publication date. I responded Yes on the 26th.

According to Amazon, “…you may be invited by Amazon Follow to share a personal message about an upcoming release to your followers.”

It’s available by invitation only. I’ve published dozens of books, and this was my first invitation. (Maybe I deleted a few others!! At least, this was the first invitation that I noticed.)

If you receive an invitation, when you click the Yes button, you must compose a message for your followers.

At 1:07 a.m. this morning, I received an email from Amazon. That’s about a week after I clicked Yes.

The subject states that I have 1 new update from people I follow on Amazon. Inside the email, there is:

  • One of my pictures from my author page, but not the default main image. How and why they chose the image, I have no idea.
  • Text: “Chris McMullen released and wrote a personal message about Learn or Review Trigonometry: Essential Skills.”
  • A See More button.

When I click the See More button, I come to an Amazon page with:

  • the same author page picture
  • my name as a hyperlink (click on it and you visit my author page)
  • the message I had composed
  • the cover thumbnail
  • the title of the book as a hyperlink (to visit the product page)
  • the list price
  • and the review count (0 reviews as of now)

One thing I regret is that the Look Inside still hasn’t activated, even though the book has been out for a few weeks. Usually, the Look Inside shows up quickly, but this time it seems to be stuck. It’s odd that Amazon didn’t check this out and either delay my message until it was resolved or speed up the Look Inside process. (The Kindle edition doesn’t have a Look Inside because I used the Kindle Textbook Creator, but if the print Look Inside shows up, that should show up with the Kindle edition, too.)


First, if you’re an author, whether you’ve self-published or traditionally published, you should follow yourself at Amazon.

That way, if you ever get the chance to send a message to your followers, you’ll get to see firsthand what it looks like from the other side.

Next, you should visit the author pages of your favorite authors at Amazon and follow them.

Amazon might let you know when their new books come out.

Visit the author’s Author Central page. From any of the author’s books, if the author has an Amazon author page, you can find a link to it with their picture and biography on the book’s product page.

Once you reach the author page, click the large yellow Follow button under the author’s picture.



(Has a #1 new release tag, though the sales rank is around 300,000 right now. Nice thing about some nonfiction categories is that you don’t have to sell dozens of books per day to get extra exposure, though there was a magical day a couple of weeks back where it sold 15 copies.)


Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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Authors, You Are Amazon

Me yes you

Why You

Because your book is available for sale at Amazon.

Amazon does sell many other products, but most customers think of books when they think of Amazon.

Millions of customers will buy other books besides yours, but some will (hopefully) buy your book.

When those customers read your book, your book—for that period of time—represents Amazon.

If the customer enjoys the shopping and reading experience that your book provides, the customer doesn’t just think highly of your book and you, but Amazon, too.

A poor buying or reading experience produces the opposite effect.

Of course, you have your own reasons for wanting to create a positive reading experience: You want the customer to recommend your book to others and to look for more of your books.

You want other authors’ books to create positive reading experiences. The more customers who enjoy shopping for books at Amazon and reading those books, the more likely those customers are to buy more books from Amazon and recommend Amazon to their friends, which improves the sales potential of your own books.

So it’s in your interest to support your fellow authors when they need and ask for help. (Offering unsolicited advice isn’t always received well, though.)

It’s also in your own best interest to help brand a positive image for Amazon, Kindle, and CreateSpace. The more customers who shop on Amazon, the better for all authors.

It’s even in your best interest to have good things to say about books similar to yours because those books are likely to appear on your customers-also-bought lists, and even if they don’t, most customers buy multiple books that are similar, not just one of them. Similar books can thrive together (or they can sink together).

When you hear negative things about Amazon, Kindle, or CreateSpace, take a moment to calmly and concisely say something good—and then let it be. Don’t get into a confrontation. Brand a positive image for yourself, too.

If you ask a customer what Amazon is, he or she will probably mention that it’s a huge website with an enormous selection of well-priced books.

But that’s not how the customer feels about Amazon. How the customer feels depends on shopping experiences and reading experiences. Each sale of your book contributes to a customer’s perception of Amazon.

You are Amazon.

We are Amazon.

Even the customer is Amazon. Anyone who enjoys the great selection, convenience, and prices benefits from helping to brand a positive image for Amazon.

Of course, indie authors must be thankful for the opportunities that Amazon has created.

Indie authors account for a significant share of Amazon’s book sales.

Indies are Amazon, too.

And the best indie books have shown that they can create wonderful reading experiences.

Beyond Amazon

You’re more than Amazon.

If you sell books on Nook, Kobo, Sony, Smashwords, etc., you’re all of these.

Wherever your book is sold, your book represents that retailer.

You want to brand a positive image for all of these outlets, and for whatever publishing service you use.

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Amazon Prime Price Increase: Will it Affect Authors?


Price Increase

The price for Amazon Prime is increasing from $79 to $99 per year.

Here is a link to Amazon’s website with information about this price change:

How will this impact authors?

If Prime memberships decline, this may impact authors a couple of different ways:

  • Fewer sales of print books. For one, Prime customers qualify for free two-day shipping of eligible products. Prime customers may be more impulsive shoppers because (1) they don’t have to spend $35 to qualify for free shipping and (2) making more purchases than they would otherwise may help them feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
  • Fewer borrows of e-books. Prime members who own Kindle devices can borrow up to one Kindle e-book per month. Authors enrolled in KDP Select earn royalties on borrows. But don’t worry too much: If there are fewer borrows, then each borrow will pay a somewhat larger royalty. If the number of borrows does drop, the effect may be negligible (unless Amazon reduces the monthly fund for borrows).

Hidden Surprise?

Suppose the extra $20 does deter some customers from keeping or joining Amazon Prime. It’s possible that Amazon will roll out some new Prime benefit to attract new customers. Presently, Prime benefits include free two-day shipping on eligible products, borrowing one KDP Select e-book per month, and instant streaming of a wide selection of videos. Perhaps something new is on the horizon. If so, that would help to attract new Prime members.

Is Prime Worth the Money?

There was a great article on this issue on Yahoo News recently:–worth-it-221620738.html?vp=1

If you’re thinking about signing up, you can sign up for a free trial by March 20 and lock in the current rate of $79.

If you’re a current Prime member who has recently renewed, you don’t have to worry about paying $99 until it renews again. If, for example, you signed up in January, the price change won’t impact you as a customer until January, 2015.

Did you know that you can share your Prime membership with family members living in the same household? Here’s how:

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.