They’re Ba-ack! (Kindle Tags, That Is)

Last week I posted about how tags on Kindle books had mysteriously disappeared from Amazon, and how their abuse by self-published authors was probably why.

It was.

Tags are now reinstated, but Amazon are taking action and have locked down a number of discussion threads on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) community forums including “Tag My Book.” According to a user on there, this is what an Amazon representative posted regarding the situation (underlining my own):

“We’d like to provide a little more information about the Tag feature on Amazon.com. Tags are not intended to be used as a method to promote your titles. The tagging activity occurring in this thread does not follow the terms of use for the Tag feature on Amazon.com and could be considered abusive. You can learn more about the Tags feature by visiting Amazon.com.

For this reason, we are locking this and all threads that organize this type of tagging, and future threads of this nature will be deleted from our Community. We encourage you to share your work with each other and discuss marketing and promotion ideas, but organized manipulation of any feature is not something we will permit on our boards. Website features and tools should be used as intended.

We understand that you have put a lot of time and effort into this thread and that it can be quite a challenge to increase the visibility of your work. We hope you will check out the tips we provided which may help improve your titles’ searchability on Amazon.com and continue to support each other’s success.”

Amazon are having a busy week, because they’ve also put a halt to intelligent titling (which is a term that I just made up – and one that’s hard to say). The number one selling fiction title in the UK Kindle store right now – or as I write this, anyway – is Catch Your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards. It’s had a meteoric rise up through the bestseller ranks since it was released and it continues to do well. But initially its full title was Catch Your Death (For Fans of Dan Brown and Stieg Larsson).

(I’m not sure there’s too much of a fans of Dan Brown/fans of Stieg Larsson crossover but hey, it worked, didn’t it?)

The upshot of all this is that there’s no shortcuts to promoting your book. There’s already indignant complaints piling up on forum threads all over the internet about this so-called discrimination against self-publishers and my eyes can hardly keep up with all the rolling they have to do. Because:

I never forget how lucky I am to be able, as an individual, to sell a book on the world’s biggest online bookstore, and do it without any red tape, headaches or heartache. (Formatting aside.) To be able to see my book on the same virtual shelf as the bestselling and most highly lauded books in the world. To be able to forge a living off the cheques that Amazon sends me, and always sends me on time. And to do it all through easy-to-use – and free-to-use – websites and from the comfort of my own home.

So what I’m saying is, self-publishers: quit the bellyaching and get back to work.

4 thoughts on “They’re Ba-ack! (Kindle Tags, That Is)

  1. Steven Lewis says:

    Nicely put, Catherine, especially about the eye rolling. I don’t agree with everything Amazon does but these practises just don’t make self-publishers look professional; and that tarnishes us all.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thank you! This may be over-simplifying things a bit but I feel like we (self-publishers) have been allowed to sit at Amazon’s dinner table and if we don’t behave ourselves, we’ll get sent back to sit with the other kids. It’s a huge opportunity that has changed what being a writer can mean today and we shouldn’t abuse it. Amazon aren’t perfect but I can’t say I’ve personally had any complaints. 🙂

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