Algorithms – Gesundheit (Understanding They’re Not a Sneeze)

Publicity Tip #77 ~

sneeze-shakeFrom a two hour “advice for writers” lecture I attended, I walked away with two things: A clearer understanding that I’ve been doing the right thing publicity-wise (pat on the back); and that I need to pay more attention to algorithms.

What are algorithms? No, I didn’t just sneeze – apparently they’re a “thing” – what exactly they are I honestly couldn’t say except to repeat what the lecturer said…

“They’re the tiny think-bots Google uses to calculate how your book should be ranked.”

The way he explained it made a lot of sense and I wanted to pass what I learned on to you. The most important thing to remember about Google and Amazon rankings is that they’re algorithm-based.

That means, if you sell (say) 100 copies of your book on the first day the think-bots send up a red flag and wonder if you’re a big-name author like Stephen King. So, by the end of day one, the think-bots will push your book up high in the rankings. However, if sales on day two drop to an handful of copies the bots immediately say, “Not Stephen! Not Stephen!” and drop you from the rankings.

That’s why many in the industry believe it’s no big deal if you were on the top of the charts on your book launch day… we all have the potential to garner enough family and friends to buy our book on day one to make this kind of impact. The big deal happens when you can claim a top ranking for a week or more (more is always better but not always possible).

So how does this help?

If you’ve never tried to “trick” the think-bots on the first day of your release (in order to get your book noticed in the rankings), you’ll never get the opportunity to have a free day (afternoon) of exposure on Google or Amazon in the hopes of drawing in more readers (readers = buyers) to boost day two’s sales to keep you up in the rankings (and keep you getting noticed and making more sales).

A few good practices to help with this release-boost and algorithm-hype are:

Opt in for pre-sales/early orders a month or two in advance of your release date.

Get the word out to potential readers via a Goodreads Giveaway a month before the release.

Do a one (or more) week pre-book tour online and a post tour of a week (or more).

Run a separate (smaller) Giveaway specifically for social media fans and publicize the heck out of it.

These ideas are by no means the be-all-end-all for marketing your book toward a good first day/week of sales but they are a start 🙂 These ideas are also not a guarantee for sales… it all depends on how well your book is received, whether you’ve targeted your market effectively and if people are in the mood to buy.

But never do nothing… even Stephen King’s rep’s let the world know when his next book is coming out 😉

If you’re an algorithm buff (someone who gets it) I invite you to share your insight in the comments below.

Categories: Publicity

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2 replies

  1. That Al Gore is into everything since he invented the internet. Kind of pretentious to name algorithms after himself.


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