Amazon clamps down on titles (for fans of smart marketing)

Amazon clamps down on titles (for fans of smart marketing)

Amazon yesterday clamped down on a very clever marketing technique that got a book to the top of the UK Kindle lists. The book is Catch Your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards, a writing due who have pulled every trick in the book to get their book into the Kindle bestseller list. Mark has a great blog at where he details his struggle to get his work noticed among the hundreds of thousand of eBooks.

Their smartest move was to actually title their work Catch Your Death (For fans of Dan Brown & Stieg Larsson). It was a brilliant thing to do, a technique that is often used by the big publishers. Hodder and Stoughton did a similar thing to promote my Spider Shepherd thriller Hot Blood. They put a sticker on it which said "Better Than McNab Or Your Money Back" and later went on to use a slogan which said "If You Love McNab, You'll Love Leather".

There's no doubt that cross-promotion like that works, and the clever use of the names of Brown and Larsson in the title is what helped propel their book to the top of the charts, even though truth be told neither the writing style nor the content has any connection at all with the two best-selling authors.

The fast rise to the top (it reached Number One after just four days in the Top 100) helped drag their first book, modestly titled Killing Cupid: The Gripping Stalker Thriller, with it, and it's today also in the Top 5.

I wasn't the only one who spotted the effectiveness of this technique, it was highlighted by Philip Stone of The Bookseller magazine who wrote - Voss and Edwards' Catch Your Death enters the charts thanks to a cheap price (95p on Amazon) and a stroke of bibliographic genius. The full title on Amazon is "Catch Your Death (for fans of Dan Brown & Stieg Larsson)". Ker-ching!

Ker-ching was right, with Voss and Edwards selling 1,500 copies A DAY!

Someone else who spotted the technique was James Craig, the Scottish author of London Calling. His book had made it into the KIndle UK Top 10 under its own steam. Early this week Craig cunningly changed the title of his book to London Calling (For fans of Ian Rankin) which at the time I thought was a bit of a stretch, but good luck to him.

Frankly I didn't think that Amazon would allow cross-promotion like that to continue for too long, I tried some time ago to add the words The Kindle Bestseller to one of my titles and it was immediately removed from publication until I took out the word "Kindle".

Yesterday they clearly stepped in to stop what Voss and Edwards and Craig were doing and both their titles have reverted to the norm - Catch Your Death and London Calling.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

One of the fascinating things about ePublishing just now is that no one really knows what the rules are and the Indie writers are pretty much making it up as they go along. It's going to be fascinating to see what Voss and Edwards come up with next!