Kindle Direct Publishing is the rather blandly titled service that takes the dumb crap I type into my computer and turns it into books people like you can download to your Kindle devices and apps. KDP, as all the cool kids who selfie their Instagrams call it, comes equipped with a few discount functions and a basic set of sales reports. It’s pretty swell, but it could be a lot better if Amazon would stop bogarting their data.
Here’s the thing: KDP authors know very little about their audiences. I’ve got sales numbers, but those numbers exist in a vacuum. Without context, I can’t help myself help Amazon make more money off the free products I’m basically handing them. It’s a great big circle of sadness.
For instance, I don’t know how many people have seen my books’ pages. That means I don’t know if I need to change the information on them to try to generate more sales. With that data, I could tweak and retweak my descriptions to find the one that works best.
I also don’t know how people are finding my books in the first place. I’ve tried Twitter and I’ve got a Facebook page I’ve neglected worse than your average redheaded stepchild. I’ve completed author interviews for various blogs and posted in all sorts of forums. Is any of that helping? I have no fucking idea. Every single purchase of All Your Fault could’ve come from people who found a link on a pet grooming site based out of Tanzania for all I know.
And imagine what we authors could do if we had a clear view of our customers’ paths through the store. For example, if I had data proving my readers overlapped heavily with Stephen King’s, I could reach out to him to see if he wanted to work on some sort of self-promotion. He’d surely ignore me and I’d have to move down the list until I found a similarly small-time indy guy to work with, but whatever. It would help.
Here’s the kicker: as a technology professional, I know Amazon has this information. That’s just how modern web analytics work. I know how you got to this page. Well, not you specifically, but I know where my page views on this shitty site are coming from. If I can do that, Amazon certainly can.
So why don’t you share, Amazon? Pretty please?