Feedback for Amazon

by Ashlynmathews on April 18, 2013

My local RWA chapter was contacted by an Amazon representative for feedback regarding improvements to Amazon’s romance page. As an avid reader who buys print and digital books and an author planning on self-publishing, I have a vested interest in attending an hour session to give Amazon my feedback.

I’m also giving everyone else a chance to chime in. I’ll put the responses together and bring them to the meeting scheduled for April 24th. I know some of you write YA, women’s fiction and fiction with elements of romance. How can we authors, especially debut authors or SP authors, increase our visibility thus leading to discoverability and a faithful following of new readers? As my boss would say “Silence equates to an agreement.” If you want your voices heard, then leave me a comment. Here are the questions from Amazon.

Below are a list of questions they would like everyone to think about and consider.

1)            As a romance reader, how do you choose your next romance book?

2)            How do you read (i.e. on a device, paperback, etc.) and where do you read (i.e. commuting, at home, etc.)?

3)            What other genres do you read besides romance? How does romance influence your interest in other categories?

4)            What social communities/social sites do you engage with to learn more about what’s new and/or find your next romance book?

5)            How many romance books do you read a month/a week?  What, if anything, is a barrier to reading more?

6)            How could the Amazon Kindle store provide better discoverability for consumers searching for authors and/or Romance books in general?

7)            What type of editorial content do you think is most interesting/valuable to consumers as they decide on their next Romance book?

8)            What are the top 1 or 2 things you think would most likely attract Romance fans to the Kindle store?

9)            How could Amazon Kindle best support the Romance genre for consumers and authors alike?

10)          If you were able to make any one change to the Amazon Kindle Romance store (and had no limitations), what would it be?

 

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Evie Bohn April 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Here are my answers, Ashlyn. Thanks for repping lots of ideas to them.

1) As a romance reader, how do you choose your next romance book?

1. If I’m involved in a series I look for the next book to read.
2. If I know a favorite author’s book is coming out, I look for it.
3. If I’m just in the mood for something new, I do a search on a category that matches my mood and start looking at the covers. If the cover draws me in, I click on it to read the blurb. Then I click on it for the look inside. After all that if I still like it, AND it costs less than $5 I buy it. I’m not going to pay more than $5 if I don’t know the author or have a zillion recommendations on the book.
4. If the author is unknown to me, I also look for reviews on GoodReads or LibraryThing to decide whether to spring for the book.

2) How do you read (i.e. on a device, paperback, etc.) and where do you read (i.e. commuting, at home, etc.)?
I prefer reading with my ereader. If I have to I’ll read on my computer–but that’s only because I’ve promised a review and the author will only provide it in PDF form. (I hate that by the way). I anticipate that in the future, when I have more money, I’ll read on a tablet.

3) What other genres do you read besides romance? How does romance influence your interest in other categories?
SF. Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Women’s Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, and Young Adult in the same subgenres. My romance selections do not influence these other selections. However these other categories can influence my romance selections.

4) What social communities/social sites do you engage with to learn more about what’s new and/or find your next romance book?
Primarily GoodReads and LibraryThing. There are perhaps 10 book blogger/reviewers I also follow.

5) How many romance books do you read a month/a week? What, if anything, is a barrier to reading more?
I read 2-3 romances, 2-3 YA, and 1-2 other genres per month. I average about 100 books total a year.

6) How could the Amazon Kindle store provide better discoverability for consumers searching for authors and/or Romance books in general?
It seems to me that the keyword search rarely brings back what I want to read. This may be because publishers or authors don’t bother with entering keywords that outside of general categories. For example, if I am interested in a dark paranormal romance about penance or repentance, I might put in: romance, paranormal, repentant, penance, demon. What i get back is one option (or one series option) that contains ALL the elements. And in the “also bought” section, I get nothing that relates to that. I know of at least 10 books that fit that criteria, and there are probably hundreds of others but I never see them listed. Perhaps I don’t understand how the search works because it never works for me.

7) What type of editorial content do you think is most interesting/valuable to consumers as they decide on their next Romance book?
Reviews are the most important to me.

8) What are the top 1 or 2 things you think would most likely attract Romance fans to the Kindle store?
I would go to an author text chat or video chat. But I would want to have more to select from than just the 10 bestsellers.
I would also participate in a genre group that shared info on new books in that genre (example: a group that shared new finds in paranormal romance; or a group that shared new finds in YA Fantasy). It seems to me that the only active groups are the ones that announce free stuff. I’ll probably be shot for saying this, but I’m tired of downloading free stuff because too much of it isn’t worth reading.

9) How could Amazon Kindle best support the Romance genre for consumers and authors alike?
I don’t know about for authors. But for readers, I mostly want a way to find new recommended authors in the genres I like to read. It’s easy to find my favorites. But when they don’t have something new out, I’m up for someone new. But I don’t know how to find them unless I hear about them on a blog or something.

10) If you were able to make any one change to the Amazon Kindle Romance store (and had no limitations), what would it be?
I don’t know. Maybe have a regular Romance Reviewer for debut authors, you know like Kirkus or PW but it would be the Amazon Indie Romance Reviewer. Maybe that’s crazy, but I guess I’m looking for people who will read indie books in advance and tell us if it’s worth spending even 99 cents. I WANT to support indies more, I just don’t know how to do it without spending my entire life combing through book blurbs.

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Ashlynmathews April 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

Thank you, Evie. I appreciate your responses!

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