I just received an email and a survey from Amazon's KDP program asking me a number of questions.
Every single question was geared toward determining what I have done to market my books. From writing in this place and on my personal blog to hiring publicists and sending out email blasts, they wanted to know everything.
What was the hardest thing about marketing? What was the most expensive? What was the easiest? What was I doing currently?
Then, they started asking questions about how much money I was spending on such efforts.
The email stated thusly:
As part of Kindle Direct Publishing's ongoing effort to provide you with better services and support, we would like your feedback. Please help us by taking this short online survey which asks about your opinions and experiences with book marketing and more.
I think it's a prudent move for Amazon to get into book marketing, but they don't need to do a whole lot for it. All they'd need to do is hire a few readers to elevate the good stuff on the site and review it. That would be marketing enough. If I had to pay a small premium to get Amazon to read my book and decide whether or not it should get a review and better algorithm results, I'd be happy to do it. My books are well-reviewed enough and sell well enough that I wouldn't imagine I'd have a problem qualifying for something like that. (Or maybe that's just my ego talking...)
I'm not sure what I'd pay, but if Amazon is getting into that business, I'd certainly consider it.
But are they diving in to just take more money from the stereotypical bad self-publisher who can't figure out why their book isn't selling?
I've heard that Amazon's model isn't to sell 1,000,000 copies of a bestseller, but to sell 1 copy of a million poor sellers. To them, it's all the same. If they could do the same thing with marketing services to the same people, that would make lots of financial sense.
A survey from authors who utilize their desktop publishing is clearly an exploratory step. We'll see what comes next. With Amazon, anything is possible.