Does Amazon Reward Quantity over Quality?

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As a publisher, various questions arrive in my inbox that I address. This year, I decided to share more of these with our audience, so make sure you are on our email list and subscribe to our social media pages for the most up-to-date information.

Q: Does Amazon reward quantity over quality

A:  It depends on your viewpoint. 

Amazon, like any business, has a goal to make money. The company does this through e-commerce, digital streaming, and other methods. But Amazon is not looking at each author for the number of books they publish and rewarding accordingly. 

The author that asked this question also shared the following information:

I am working on getting my fourth book out the door, and I realized that Amazon seems to reward quantity over quality, at least with respect to self-publishing. Here’s my thinking:

Suppose you wanted to dedicate 1,000 hours a year to writing/self-publishing. You could spend all your hours on getting a single book of 300+ pages as “really good” as possible, to earn many 5 star ratings and positive reviews.

Putting aside marketing/advertising efforts and costs, you’d need to charge the average price for Kindle and paperbacks. Depending on your niche, you MIGHT sell a couple of thousand books (if you’re lucky!!)

If you dedicated the same # of hours in your second year to writing and publishing two “good” books at 150 pages each, you’d probably outsell your first book and gross nearly double.

In your third year, if you split your time similarly, you could write and get three books of the same length out the door of “decent” quality.

By the time you were done, you’d have published 6 books, but you’d presumably gross way more from average quantity than the first quality one.

Am I wrong?

As a publisher, some of these sentences make me cringe because this is often the thought process of those who approach our company. While this is music to vanity publishers’ earsthose who publish anything for paymentit is like nails on a chalkboard for reputable publishers. 

Think about it for a moment: if what you are doing is not working, then why would doing it repeatedly, the exact same way, work in your favor? Trying to squeeze into a pair of size 0 jeans when you are a size 12 will never work if nothing changes. As long as you are a size 12, a pair of size 0 jeans will never fit your body, even if you repeatedly try them on. 

As it relates to book publishing, one could argue that a writer’s skills get sharper the more they write. While there is some truth in that, the quality of one’s book is not a direct correlation to the number of hours invested in writing. While one would obtain more experience this way, the result is not necessarily a better quality book. (Do you know how many poorly written, incoherent manuscripts I have rejected? Even as a copywriter and ghostwriter, I remember one book I received last year that, honestly, if Jesus didn’t fix it, there was nothing that could be done.)

Suppose you wanted to dedicate 1,000 hours a year to writing/self-publishing. You could spend all your hours on getting a single book of 300+ pages as “really good” as possible, to earn many 5 star ratings and positive reviews.

This is one of the top problems that novice authors have: believing that writing a “good book,” one that is well received, is all about the author. It is not. Your target audience, those you wrote your book for, will determine whether you wrote a “good book.” The author is not the one giving the 5-star ratings and positive reviews: the reader is! 

  • How much time have you spent communicating with your target audience during your book writing journey? 
  • How much did you spend communicating with your target audience before writing your book? Or did you just assume your perspective and words were what they desired? 

Putting aside marketing/advertising efforts and costs ….

Bingo! This is one of the TOP problems that novice authors have: putting aside marketing/advertising efforts and costs or dedicating a minimal amount of time towards this versus writing. Seasoned, successful authors will tell you how important marketing and advertising are to the success of your book(s). Otherwise, your books will be available to purchase on Amazon and at other online book retailers, but with very little success. 

Another publishers’ secret: publishing companies are not 100% responsible for your book marketing and advertising. The top traditional publishers are known for including requirements in their publishing contracts requiring clients to have a specified number of speaking appearances and engagements in the promotion of their books. If this is true of celebrities and highly successful influencers, you and I are not exempt. Without marketing and advertising, your success will be limited regardless of the number of books you have published. The following statement is not true as a result:

By the time you were done, you’d have published 6 books, but you’d presumably gross way more from average quantity than the first quality one.

Amazon, like any business, has a goal to make money. You should too, which is why being a published author is a business. Amazon uses e-commerce, digital streaming, and other methods as part of its success. Amazon is not looking at each author for the number of books they publish and rewarding them accordingly. The company is simply providing a platform for those who want to buy and sell things, including books. Depending on your business model, Amazon might not be the best place for you to sell your book(s).

Need help? Message us at FruitionPublishing.com/contact-us/.

-Alesha Brown, CEO, Fruition Publishing Concierge Services™

Award-Winning Entrepreneur|Publisher|Transformational Speaker 

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