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Amazon Etiquette

Minding Your Manners on Amazon.com

By Aaron Shepard

Excerpted and updated from the book Aiming at Amazon: The NEW Business of Self Publishing, Shepard Publications, 2007

For more resources, visit Aaron Shepard’s Publishing Page at www.newselfpublishing.com.

Copyright © 2007–2008, 2010–2011, 2015 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted, but it may not be posted online without permission.

Book cover: Aiming at AmazonAmazon has truly become a jungle. Authors and self publishers will do things there they would never consider doing offline. And it’s often “experts” who should know better who encourage them to do it!

What we need is an etiquette for Amazon. I here propose several guidelines as a starting point.

1. Don’t spam.

Don’t flood Amazon with submissions meant to game the system. This includes creating loads of short, useless Kindle books to rack up borrows.

2. Don’t deceive.

Don’t make something look like what it’s not. This includes writing phony customer reviews, or soliciting customer reviews from people who can’t sincerely and knowledgeably praise your book, or paying a commercial service to write and post them.

3. Don’t horn in.

Don’t use the book page of another author to sell your own. This includes writing customer reviews so you can recommend or mention your book.

4. Don’t attack.

Don’t undercut a competitor’s book in any way. This includes writing negative customer reviews. An exception is reporting to Amazon when you spot other authors or publishers ignoring these guidelines!

5. Don’t manipulate.

Don’t artificially inflate your sales rank. This includes ordering large quantities of your book that you don’t need or can get more cheaply elsewhere. In the stock market, such practices are called fraud!

When in doubt, follow the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you—or if you don’t want to see everyone else do the same—don’t do it yourself!

Book cover: Aiming at Amazon
Read the book!

Aiming at Amazon
The NEW Business of Self Publishing
By Aaron Shepard

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