Manuscripts Burn

MANUSCRIPTS BURN
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog!  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon.  You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do My Amazon Author Page "Likes" Mean Anything?

Short answer?  No, I'm afraid not.

If you don't know what I'm talking about (and as an average reader you probably don't) go ahead and click on my Amazon author page.  Depending on your browser, you should see something like this:


If you click that button I've circled in red, you've just "liked" my page.  You can go ahead and click it, of course.  For one thing, it'll make me feel good, and the imaginary numbers on which I judge my life a success or not will increase slightly.

What does it actually do for me, though?  Well, nothing, really. 

There's a rumor spreading wildly on Facebook right now that Amazon is basing their marketing for authors on the number of "likes" they have.  Tellingly, though I've seen dozens of posts to this effect, none of them have quoted a source or even cited Wikipedia.  I don't have to be Snopes.com to realize there's something fishy about that.

So, in the interest of finding out whether this is something I should be concerned about, I checked Amazon's FAQs about the "like" button to find...nothing.  So I took the next investigative step and, just like a real-life BRAINEATER JONES, I e-mailed Amazon's Author Central bureau.

Within hours I received a response from a nice all-American girl from Bangalore, Ohio.  So, what the heck, I'll just reprint it in its entirety here:

Hello Stephen,

I understand you'd like to know if the number of "likes" on Author Page will affect the amount of marketing.

Please know that Amazon doesn't market books based on the number of likes on Author Page and also it isn't intended to improve your rank in search results on Amazon.com. The "Like" button on Amazon.com Author Pages is a feature we use to recommend books, among other products, based on customer-interest. This feature is purely a cosmetic feature at this time, but when a customer expresses interest in the Author Page and clicks the Like icon, we'll use this to make better recommendations.

The "Like" button feature is only on Amazon product pages, and isn't related to Facebook. Amazon won't share information from an account with Facebook or post anything to a Facebook Wall without the account holder's consent.

If you have other questions about the "Like" feature, check out the information available on our Help pages:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_13316081_bid_2542401?...

I'd also like to inform you that the "Like" feature on Author Page is now being deprecated and all the existing Author Pages which have this feature will no longer have it as we are currently testing a new presentation of the bibliography on Author Pages which includes deprecation of 'Like' feature. We're aiming for a more convenient way for our customers and readers to browse for their favorite books and authors on our website.

We'll make this change permanent assuming feedback from customers.

Rest assured, your feedback contributes to the development and the way we make future changes to the program.

I hope this helps to explain. We hope to seeing you again soon. 

Best regards,[Eh, What the Heck, I'll Redact Her Name]

So, basically, I'm a "product."  And the likes are there for my readers, not me.  If you "like" me, you'll be informed when I have new releases and that sort of thing, a functionality, incidentally, you can also receive by joining my mailing list.  And while "deprecate" is a bit of an odd word to use, I think it's just a simple translation error on our good customer service rep's part for "discontinue."  Same with "purely cosmetic."  I mean, it's not "purely cosmetic;" it does do something, just...not what the rumor mill seems to think.

So.  Long story short, in a roundabout way having more "likes" helps you in the sense that people who "like" your page will be informed what you're up to.  But it will not affecting your marketing, also boughts, or the Amazon algorithm.  And the functionality is being discontinued anyway.  So, I wouldn't stress out about it too much, authors, but never let it be said that authors will not find something new to stress out about every day.