Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…

As a long-time Amazon shopper, I don’t hesitate to check out the reviews, Amazon recommendations, and that helpful category, “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…”. When I first published A Guilty Mind, this category was empty. I can’t remember when the category started to fill up, but I do know it was incredibly satisfying. What I didn’t know was how much that category would tell me about my readers.

Like most independent authors, the majority of my sales are e-books. While I sold a respectable number of paperbacks early on, the majority of sales in the last several months have been digital. When I pull up my Kindle page on Amazon today, there are 12 pages of books bought by people who have also bought my book. That is a great thing, but I am also honored by the books and authors that appear on those pages. Right up front are two authors I have had the privilege of hosting on this blog, Lisa Regan (see interview here) and Dina Santorelli (see interview here).

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Also included on that list are several Scandinavian authors. The most well-known is New York Times Best-Selling novelist Joe Nesbo. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, he is one of my favorite authors and I adore his protagonist, Harry Hole. In fact, there are 4 Joe Nesbo novels listed as purchased by the same readers that purchased A Guilty Mind. Clearly, this is a thrill for me.

Other Scandinavian authors listed are Jorn Lier Horst, Helene Tursten, Kristina Ohlsson, Lars Kepler, and more. I am also flattered to be included in a list with such great writers as Michael Prescott, Nancy S. Thompson, Mark Murphy, and James Hankins. Honestly, I’m in good company.

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All of this is great, but what’s more important is what this list tells me and what I think I can take away from it:

  • Meeting and getting to know your fellow writers is a good thing. I wanted to interview both Lisa and Dina because of their books. I read their debut novels, Finding Claire Fletcher and Baby Grand, and found both not only very good but compelling. I am extremely grateful that I took the time to find out about them and help both ladies publicize their work through my blog. In both cases, the experience had a positive impact and I am quite sure I found readers through both of these talented authors.
  • I have been included in a niche market of Scandinavian writers. How do I know this? Not only are a great many of my readers also readers of Scandinavian suspense, I’ve been contacted by a Scandinavian journalist asking me about my background. And while I was born in America, my grandparents were both Danish as is my father. There’s quite a bit of Scandinavian blood running through my veins. For me, this is a bonus because I love so many of the authors on the list.Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 1.22.13 PM
  • Finally, price isn’t as important as I thought it was. I’m not saying that a first-time independent novelist should price their e-book at $12.99, but I don’t know how much it really matters between $1.99 and $3.99. The books bought by my readers ranged from $.99 to $14.57. Some were independent, some are backlists, some are traditionally published. Don’t stress over the price, it’s an easy thing to fix.

While I never set out to attract a specific market other than the more broad genre of mystery and suspense, I can see now that getting to know your subgenre of readers is an important component in sharing your work. Re-evaluate your market through the eyes of the reader and not your eyes as the writer. You never know what you might see.

Just for fun, take a look at your list, “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” and decide, what does it tell you about your readers?