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5 Secrets Authors Need to Know About Amazon’s Book Sale Algorithms

Self-publishing is a huge undertaking. Understanding how book sales platforms work is critical, and because Amazon sells more books than any other platform, understanding how Amazon works is critical. Here are five things every author needs to know about the company.
1. Free does not count the same as a sale. When you give your book away for free on Amazon, the algorithms count it differently than an actual sale. This means your book will need many more free downloads to rise in the rankings and most of Amazon’s lists.
2. If you have set up your book on any platform other than Amazon’s, you will not be able to directly control the price of the book. You set the retail price only. Amazon decides when to discount it and how much of a discount to offer.
3. After a sale or giveaway that includes many distributors, track your book’s price on Amazon. They often do not restore the original price right away, leaving your book at a sale price for longer periods than you’d planned. Note, too, that they have the ability to leave it at that sale price, including free, forever.
4. If you have a short-term sale that shoots your book up Amazon’s rankings, you will see a very sharp drop-off after the sale. Be prepared for this to happen and continue your marketing efforts over time.
5. Multiple sales spikes, even small ones, are given more weight than single-day or week-long spikes. For best results, spread your efforts out over time. Each smaller sales spike will benefit your book more in the long term than one short, exponential spike.