Mystery solved (I think) and a quick update on the marketing blitz

Hi, everyone,

Shizzle, Inc got up to #34 on Amazon’s Satire Bestseller list! If you are not following the live tweeting of my biggest marketing campaign to date, here is a quick recap:

  1. Robin Reads started strong, but was a disappointment at 19 sales, at a cost of $25.
  2. Indie Book Promo was a complete dud, at maybe 1 sale (I had 3 total, but 2 were from my constant tweeting about it).
  3. Book Gorilla is currently on fire!

Screenshot (25)

I will post a complete report on Monday. Wish me luck!

Now, I’d like to venture an explanation for the mystery surrounding the 1,200+ verified purchase reviews on a book yet to be released – as previously mentioned in Riddle me this!

First of all, I’d like to thank the following detectives:

  1. Nancy Glynn of Nancy Glynn – thank you for sharing the loophole allowing reviews on a yet-to-be-published book by “tricking” CreateSpace.
  2. Isabella Belucci of Isabella Belucci – thank you for sharing your experience reviewing and ARC (Advanced Review Copy) for another author.
  3. Mykl Walsh of Secret Agent Man – thank you for scouring the Internet for clues!
  4. Tim Vicary of Tim Vicary – thank you for checking the suspect’s Goodreads profile 🙂
  5. Prospero of Prospero’s Island – thank you for digging up an interview with the mention of Kindle First!

I did some research myself – and it all seemed to point to Kindle First. For example, all 1,200+ reviews have been posted during November, in line with Kindle First offering the book a month before its release on 1 December. For those not familiar with Kindle First – it is an offer of free or discounted bestsellers (I think just four of them a month), chosen by Amazon’s editors. I have searched madly for any clues on how to get on the list, but it seems to be either a secret or an impossible feat, even though most traditional publishers are currently not supporting it.

Any detectives want to take on this new mystery??


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

57 responses to “Mystery solved (I think) and a quick update on the marketing blitz

  1. Great news on your current sales! And an interesting update on the riddle. It still seems very strange. Your ‘detectives’ did well to find out as much as they did. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Look forward to your report on Monday, and congrats on the sales so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think there must be a link between Kindle Scout and Kindle First. Maybe if you get your book accepted by Kindle Scout they then put it on Kindle first.. is that possible? Here’s a link. I’m not sure if it’s encouraging or just plain scary!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennifer F. Santucci

    Funny you should mention Kindle First. I was browsing a book and below it was an advertisement for Kindle First. It was below the book description. I was intrigued and decided to take a look after I purchased my book. After I bought my book, I went back and the note was gone. There was a different note for Amazon Prime to sign up. I tried looking for it through a search and nothing. 😞 The advert changed again to something else.

    Lesson: if it shows up again click on it right away!


  5. I would say it has something to do with Amazon being the publisher……..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. exiledprospero

    Glad to be of service, Ana.

    I’m surprised about Book Gorilla. Good for you though. Isn’t this exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fun Simplicity

    I’ve learnt a lot through your post! Thanks for sharing. ❤️ Best of luck! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi everyone,

    My name is Matthew. I’m the author of The Short Drop. Saw this thread, and the confusion regarding the quantity of reviews for my book. Thought I’d shed some light on the issue if that’s okay.

    So… Thomas & Mercer is Amazon Publishing’s thriller imprint. Amazon is a publisher in its own right, in addition to being a bookseller. It has multiple imprints for various genres. For example, it’s Romance Imprint is called Montlake Romance.

    In February, Thomas & Mercer bought the rights to my book and selected it for the Kindle First program. Kindle First is one of the benefits to having an Amazon Prime membership. The way it works is that each month, Amazon offers six books to it’s Prime members before their official publication date. As a Prime member, you can choose to download one of the six books for free. My month ends on Monday night and a fresh slate of titles will be offered.

    On December 1, my books will actually be “published” and will be for sale to the general public.

    I hope that helps to clarify things. I’ve included links below to the various pieces that I cited.



    Amazon Prime:

    Kindle First:

    Amazon Publishing:

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Matthew! Congratulations on your success – may I ask what has been your journey to get to the point of getting Thomas and Mercer interested? Was it a long hard road or an “overnight success”?


      • Appreciate it, Ana. To answer your question, it was the proverbial long hard road to an eventual overnight success. So.. both? I wrote a novel in my twenties that I poured myself into but which never sold. It was the 90s so pre-self-publishing. Burned out, I essentially gave up on writing and moved on to other career paths. If you’d told me five years ago that I would be a published author, I would have looked for the hidden camera. The desire to write began to reassert itself over the last few years, slowly at first, but out of that rekindled enthusiasm, I wrote The Short Drop.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you again, Matthew! That gives hope to a lot of us – I myself burned out after a year and 70+ pitches. I have since self-published Shizzle, Inc and hope to catch attention of the big leagues with the sequels. Or continue myself – I’ve actually enjoyed publishing and marketing game 🙂


  9. Best of luck with the sales! Glad the riddle was solved! Might be able to do some detective work and report back 🙂 Can’t wait for your update on Monday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for joining the discussion, Matthew, very helpful of you. Almost everything’s clear now, but could I ask – how exactly did you go about submitting your book to Thomas & Mercer in the first place? It’s clearly a different route to straightforward self-publishing.

    Good luck with the book – after all this interest I think I’m going to have to read it now!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Titania Hudson

    Hi Ana, right now I am still baffled about the promotional strategies for ebooks. Could you or anyone here kindly share it with me?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Matthew FitzSimmons himself stops by to explain the mystery of Short Drop reviews! |

  13. Great news about your sales, Ana. It’s possible to sign (as a reader if you’re a Prime costumer) to get a newsletter sent every month with their books on offer the month before they’re officially published. I’ve signed, although I have a very long list of books to read. Matthew’s reply was very useful. I know some Spanish authors whose books have done quite well in Spanish and Amazon has chosen them for translation and published them under one of their own publishing imprints, so I guess it’s possible to catch their eye. (Another one of the authors won the Amazon independent novel competition for books in Spanish this year and they’ll publish her novel in English too).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I need to do – make constant “noise” until I get noticed by a big publisher or a film studio. That’s why I will continue to advertise, even if it’s losing money in the short term.


  14. Pingback:

  15. Hi Ana, congrats on your sales success…I just got an email from, all departments Deals of the Day, and the first/lead deal was Shizzle Inc. Great exposure! Is this a random thing from Amazon or part of a marketing campaign?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Awesome site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any message boards that
    cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get advice from
    other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It’s showing $1.52 in the promo blurb, but when you click through to your sales page it shows $2.99 kindle edition…. odd

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tim – that’s because I had no idea they were gonna do that and just changed the price to $2.99. Can’t even change it back – will have to wait till the morning. Thanks again for letting me know – amazing 🙂


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