Thursday, March 22, 2018

How Amazon’s Algorithms Really Work

The German journalist and author Matthias Matting -- faithfully followed in Europe his "Self-Publisher Bibel" site -- has conducted an experiment to see if he could detect what may affect sales rankings on Amazon.

Matting has kindly written up a shortened edition of his report in English -- Test: How Amazon’s algorithms really work – myth and reality -- and comes up with some signal notions.

He starts with four books nominally named "The Self-Publishers Bible: Knowledge for Authors" and "...News for Authors" and "...Tips for Authors" and "Marketing for Authors." Here is one of them on These are new titles, which he generated from the previous omnibus work, the "Bible" of each title. Two are priced at 0.99 euros, two at 2.99 euros.

He went in with three expectations. Matting thought he would see, as he writes, that:

  • Price influences sales rank
  • Enrolling in KDP Select influences sales rank
  • The dynamics of sales influence sales rank

He came out with five "facts," and I'll leave you to peruse most of the supporting commentary for each at his site. In quoting him:

Fact 1: Price does not influence sales rank.

Fact 2: Enrollment in KDP Select does not influence sales rank.

Fact 3: An organic growth of sales number results in a higher ranking.

Fact 4: Sales of (much) more than 24 hours are important for the sales rank.

Fact 5: Borrows on Kindle Unlimited influence the sales rank immediately.
Some of Matting's most interesting notes tie  to "Fact 4." He writes, emphasis his:

One day without sales decreases the sales rank of a title in the same way as halving its sales numbers. That means the Amazon algorithms devalue a sale by half every 24 hours (approximately, the exact amount is impossible to calculate). Add to this that the sales numbers are increasing exponentially with high ranks and it gets clear how hard it is for a new title to climb into the charts.

One day without sales decreases the sales rank of a title in the same way as halving its sales numbers. That means the Amazon algorithms devalue a sale by half every 24 hours (approximately, the exact amount is impossible to calculate). Add to this that the sales numbers are increasing exponentially with high ranks and it gets clear how hard it is for a new title to climb into the charts.
And as for "Fact 5," what Howey calls "the KU effect" in which Matting sees an immediate impact on sales ranking with Kindle Unlimited, emphasis mine this time:

I couldn’t believe this [at] first. Borrows on Kindle Unlimited are only paid when the user reads at least 10 percent. But for the sales rank, all borrows count immediately...You can reach higher visibility on Amazon without having to wait until a borrower actually reads your book. Even if a borrower never reads your book but only returns it later, you still have a higher sales rank (but you won’t get paid, of course).
His advice, in fact, is that Kindle Unlimited may not be so bad for authors, at least in terms of sales rankings, per his test and observations, emphasis mine:

Twenty sales each day for a week [can] get you higher [in sales rankings] than 150 sales one day and none the [next].

Kindle Unlimited is not as bad a deal as one might think – at least, you get an immediate boost if someone borrows your title.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Before You Turn Your Manuscript Over...

Pre-Editing Made Easy:

Daphne Gray-Grant, a writing, and editing coach and author explained in an article: “When I started writing back in high school, I developed the nervous practice of producing a sentence and then going back to edit it, immediately.  Perhaps you do the same thing?  It took me 20 years to understand why editing-while-writing is so destructive – and another three years to stop it.”

“Remember, you should always write as quickly as you can.  Just be sure to edit – later when your manuscript is finished – as slowly as you can bear.  And to edit your work make use of the great tools that are available these days.”

Edit Minion
This free software identifies adverbs, passive voice, duplicate or frequently used words, and sentence length.

Language Tool
A tool that is capable of proofreading more than 20 languages. Style issues will be marked in blue.

Paper Rater
Robust grammar checking tool which allows you to find those pesky mistakes and correct them.

After the Deadline
This program helps writers to avoid spelling errors, gives grammar or style suggestions. You will spend less time editing.

This tool helps writers of novels and short stories to highlight all the issues in their drafts, including misspelled words, and repetitiveness.

My advice is to not use only ONE software, but at least TWO – better THREE – and use them in separate sessions to fine comb your manuscript BEFORE sending it to a professional editor.

… And Why You Still Need an Editor:
Pre-editing will save you money and embarrassment.  However, none of these grammar tools can replace human intelligence.  You will still need a professional editor who then fine-tunes your manuscript for an outstanding, successful book.  Just to give you one example, how your editor will improve your book even more:

Developmental and Line Edit
He or she will give you the “big picture” feedback about structure, style, pacing, and voice. A developmental edit for a work of nonfiction may include feedback about the book’s organizational structure, as well as both stylistic and informational strengths and weaknesses. For fiction manuscripts, developmental editing also includes notes on plot, the point-of-view, and characterization.
Often, a developmental edit is given in the form of a detailed report or letter rather than as notes made directly on the manuscript. Then, there is also the line edit, where your editor will point out specific things such as certain lines of dialogue that don’t sound convincing, or pacing problems in a given section.
Here are even more digital tools for your pre-editing:

Happy Writing and Editing!


Friday, March 9, 2018

Intl Women in Aviation Week March 5 - 11

. . .

Meanwhile in Canada 
The first female Indigenous Medivac Air Ambulance team
was announced Tuesday in Manitoba. 

Congratulations to Captain Robyn Shlachetla of Wabowden, Manitoba and First Officer Raven Beardy of Shamattawa, Manitoba.  They lifted off this evening, with Missinippi Medivac and are proving Indigenous youth are soaring within our community.

This historic Manitoba flight coincides with Woman of Aviation Week - Mar 5-11th Worldwide.


Magazine Article:


Monday, March 5, 2018

Writing on LinkedIn for More Exposure

Founder and CMO, Social Marketing Solutions 
wrote a very useful article on that the LinkedIn Editors recently changed their Twitter handle.  They changed it from @LinkedInPulse to @LinkedInEditors.
However, they forgot to let LinkedIn members know about their new Twitter handle. 
John White explained:

"In the past, writers would compose a tweet for their post and then include the words "tip @LinkedInPulse." The editors wrote a post in the official Writing on LinkedIn group explaining the process. Mentioning their Twitter handle triggers a notification of your tweet to the editors on LinkedIn via their Twitter account and alerts them to your post. I didn't see any announcement from them, and I searched all over. It seems that LinkedIn's Editors just changed their Twitter handle one day and didn't tell anyone.  Many LinkedIn writers still tweeting their posts to the old Twitter handle not knowing that there is nobody on the other end.  If you want to increase the likelihood of a LinkedIn editor seeing your posts, make sure to tweet them to "tip @LinkedInEditors" (make sure to put a single space between tip and @LinkedInEditors)."
Thanks, Mr. White


Monday, February 26, 2018

WiFi - Wherever You Are?


This once mega-idea of creating a virtual airborne worldwide web has turned into a monumental reality: Commercial aircraft are used as “mini-satellites”.  AWN’s primary target customer-base will be worldwide data and communications service providers.
Airborne Wireless Network has created a network that will provide live streaming to monitor the health of systems on planes, locomotives, ships, help emergency responders and produce a WIFI service that allows for passengers to have a better uninterrupted “WIFI” experience while they travel. In addition, the onboard hardware can support aircraft to aircraft awareness and monitoring, bringing far more safety to the skies.
Patented Technology
In 1998, during the pioneering days of wireless data-connectivity, the Network's inventor submitted a patent application to the US patent and trademark office, and on September 4, 2001, US patent #US 6,285,878 B1 was granted.  A few days later, an event occurred, which changed the airline industry and which would delay development of this disruptive technology for a number of years.  In 2016, AWN acquired this patent and intends to further develop and deploy this technology.
A Virtual Airborne “Worldwide Web”
Because it is a meshed network, it is like a web where all nodes are connected via multiple links. With traditional “single link-systems”, such as most cell-tower and satellite systems. There are no single points of failure as there is nearly always another aircraft, ship or earth-station within range of an aircraft.
Easy to Update, Upgrade or Servicing
As new software becomes available, the system can be easily updated.  When new and more efficient data-transmission technologies emerge, upgrading AWN’s system can be as easy as replacing a single module, and the system is ready for “the future”.  The Network is never obsolete.  Satellite technology, on the other hand, in most cases, has already been surpassed by the time a satellite is launched.  These cannot be upgraded or serviced once launched.
No Space Junk
Unlike satellites, which can be disabled or knocked out of orbit by space-junk, AWN’s system operates in a safe and controlled environment, typically between 20,000 and 40,000 feet (6,000-12,000 m).  Space junk has been known to cause serious damage to commercial and military satellites.
Airborne Wireless Network are working to provide you with something that will have the world of technology “soaring” into the future.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Amazon Prime Membership for Avid Readers

There are over 1.3 million titles listed in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library - not only books but also newspapers and magazines - in print and digital format.  How can readers benefit from these Prime advantages?

  • Borrowing one book per month from the huge Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (roughly 25 percent of all Kindle books).  However, there is no due date, you can keep one title as long as you want.  You need to own an Amazon device – for example, either a Kindle e-reader or a Fire tablet.
  • Prime Reading of over 1,000 items on a book selection which is being frequently refreshed with new titles. Subscribers can read for free the top-selling Kindle books and comic books.  Additionally, there is free access to premium magazines, from National Geographic to People, to Coastal Living, to Entrepreneur, to Golf, to Popular Science, to Sports Illustrated.
  • Free two-day shipping of print books plus millions of items from the Amazon online store.  There are over 14.5 million Prime-eligible books in Amazon store.  Prime members can get the Prime-eligible book often delivered the same day - if they live in certain areas.
  • Getting one “Kindle First” ebook a month, at no extra cost.  Amazon editors select a couple of books that are exclusively published for Kindle.  The list is being refreshed at the beginning of each month.  What’s special about Kindle First is that the featured books are available ahead of their official release dates.
  • Getting free access to Audible Channels.  Audible Channels is a carefully curated selection of original programs, lectures, and audio editions of articles and news from most popular and opinion-forming sources such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or the Harvard Business Review among others.

Amazon Prime – Complete List of Features
Free Two-Day Shipping – on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S.,
Free Same-Day Delivery – in certain areas,
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – you can borrow one book each calendar month; the catalog includes over 1,000,000 ebooks,
Kindle First – early access to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks,
Audible Channels – free access to original audio editions of standout articles and news from top sources,
Prime Reading – free access to over 1,000 top Kindle books, magazines, and comics,
Prime Instant Video – unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes,
Prime Music – unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime playlists and more than a million songs,
Prime Photos – secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive,
Prime Pantry – members can purchase low priced grocery, household, and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99,
Amazon Elements – access to Amazon’s line of everyday essentials,
Prime Early Access – 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals and new events on,
Membership sharing – Prime members may share the account with up to four eligible household members living at the same address.

HOWEVER: these are the benefits for US-CUSTOMERS only!  Amazon customers in Canada, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world may not have all of the same benefits.  Hopefully, Amazon adds all these benefits soon to readers in every country. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fellowship & Writer's Residency in Arkansas

Writers of any genre are invited to apply for the Oxford American Jeff Baskin Writers Fellowship.  Although the writer may have published books in other genres, the proposed project must be for a debut book of creative nonfiction.

The manuscript may, however, be in any stage of development: draft, agency representation, contracted, or not.  For the purposes of this fellowship, creative nonfiction is defined as literary journalism, memoir, reportage, criticism, or the lyric essay.

The successful writer will receive:

  • a $10,000 stipend paid in installments
  • a furnished apartment in Little Rock to live in for the duration of the fellowship. The apartment comes with basic utilities including wi-fi
  • and an editorial apprenticeship with the Oxford American (approximately 20 hours per week, with some flexibility)

To apply for the fellowship applicants must supply:

  • a 300 – 500-word book proposal
  • a 300 – 500-word statement of interest in magazine editorial work
  • a creative nonfiction writing sample of no more than 12,000 words excerpted from the proposed project and
  • a curriculum vitae

To be eligible for this fellowship:
Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents. An application fee of $30 is payable at the time of submission. This will be used by the magazine to help cover the administrative costs associated with the prize.
The Oxford American does not require that the writer or the proposed project have a particular tie to the South; however, applications of equal literary value that align with the Oxford American’s mission will be given preference.

Application Deadline 24 March 2018
Find all the details at: