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?


Published by K.L. Murphy

Author of Her Sister's Death and The Detective Cancini Mysteries

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