Author Topic: Just When You Thought the New Release Notifications Couldn't Get Any More Broken  (Read 1144 times)

Bill Hiatt

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Many of us have complained about the whimsical way Amazon sends out new release notifications to our followers--sometimes one month after, sometimes two, sometimes more, but hardly ever close to the actual release.

Well, today I got one I didn't know whether to laugh or cry over. First, there's a huge banner on the top advertising someone else's book series--so yes, Amazon is apparently now selling ad space in the new release emails and featuring it above the actual new release announcement.

Then there's the question of dates. This new release must actually be a preorder, since it's coming out in October of 2019.

Oh, wait! This isn't a standard new release email. It's an author I bought, but not an author I'm following. Has anyone have seen that kind of new release email before? It could be something Amazon is making trads pay through the nose for, since the author is trad published. If so, it's not something that's even offered to indies, as far as I'm aware. Or it could be free. I've frequently gotten suggestion emails, but I can't recall getting a new release one like this before, and certainly never for an indie author.

Sigh!



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TimothyEllis

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I think I got one a while back. It was a trad published author, and for a pre-order on the last book in the series I've been following.

Latest after release followers emails I've been getting, have been about 3 weeks after release.

Bill Hiatt

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I think I got one a while back. It was a trad published author, and for a pre-order on the last book in the series I've been following.

Latest after release followers emails I've been getting, have been about 3 weeks after release.
That's encouraging.

I think the new release email on my last book came out about two months after release. :HB


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TimothyEllis

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I think the new release email on my last book came out about two months after release.

I now say in my email signup/followers backmatter, that if people want an immediate notification of a new release, use the email signup. If 4 days is ok, go Bookbub, and if anything from 14 days to never is ok, use Amazon. Not in those words, but that's the meaning.

Eric Thomson

The Zon never sent out a new release notification for my latest book, published on January 19th.  A good thing I use my mailing list, blog, social media, AMS ads and BB CPC ads to get word of my new releases out.
 
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The Zon never sent out a new release notification for my latest book, published on January 19th.

If you haven't had one after 3 weeks, you should be asking KDP why not. Very bad customer experience when followers dont get their email.  Grin

Eric Thomson

The Zon never sent out a new release notification for my latest book, published on January 19th.

If you haven't had one after 3 weeks, you should be asking KDP why not. Very bad customer experience when followers dont get their email.  Grin

Truth be told, I don't actually care any more whether or not Amazon sends it out.  By the time it dawned on me they hadn't yet done so, over a month had passed but sales were where they should be for the latest in a multi-book series :cool:
 

123mlh

I don't follow myself but for my January release I received an email announcing my new release to the account I used to buy a copy about six weeks later, so not exclusive to trade pub.
 

notthatamanda

Books2Read offers new release notifications.  Now I'll go there and follow myself so next time I release something, I'll see what it looks like.  At the end of the books I tell people to follow me there, or on Bookbub, to be notified of new releases.

Edit:  Books2Read sent me an email to confirm that looked like this:

We received a request for this email address to receive an announcement whenever notthatAmanda publishes a new book.
If this request was made in error, then don't worry about it. Just ignore this email and we won't add your address to the list.
If you would like to receive those announcements, however, click the button below to confirm your subscription to notthatAmanda's new releases.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:08:42 AM by notthatamanda »
 

Edward M. Grant

I pretty much just ignore Amazon junk emails these days. Most are for new books by authors whose book I downloaded for free a few years ago and never read.

I'm not sure I've ever received a new release email by an author I asked to get new release emails from.
 

Bill Hiatt

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I pretty much just ignore Amazon junk emails these days. Most are for new books by authors whose book I downloaded for free a few years ago and never read.

I'm not sure I've ever received a new release email by an author I asked to get new release emails from.
it's yet another idea that Amazon could easily have made work well but just didn't bother.


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Atunah

I have gotten quite a few of those. I also get pre-releases and just out releases of all the authors I follow on amazon.
Another email I like getting is more specific than the regular recommendations I get. It says : Here are personalized recommendations for you based on items you purchased or reviewed. Click here to see why these items were recommended.

I also get recs for alike books when I browse for specific books. Thats a newer one I haven't seen before.

Those say:
Still thinking about this book?
Because you recently browsed for
and then it shows the book I looked at at some point, usually 2 weeks and lists others like it.

I also get new releases for authors I haven't signed up specifically, but have either read a book, rated a book or bought a book by.

I used to just get regular recommendations. Something like here are some recommendations we think you might be interested in. Those weren't as good. But the ones based on my reading/rating and purchasing, those are much more specific and useful.

I seem to get the new release book emails pretty timely from the authors I follow. Sometimes its a pre-order, sometimes its on the same day its coming out and other times maybe a week or so later. So I haven't had any issues as far as I can tell getting those emails.

Those recommendations seem to now be connected with what I see on my kindles, which makes sense if they use my ratings. I don't review but I always rate. And I know they use those ratings for the recommendations just based on what they send me. I don't browse in the store anymore. I don't have to.

I have filters in my email to put all those emails into a folder so its a bit easier. Since I get so many other emails from amazon also.
 

Bill Hiatt

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I have gotten quite a few of those. I also get pre-releases and just out releases of all the authors I follow on amazon.
Another email I like getting is more specific than the regular recommendations I get. It says : Here are personalized recommendations for you based on items you purchased or reviewed. Click here to see why these items were recommended.

I also get recs for alike books when I browse for specific books. Thats a newer one I haven't seen before.

Those say:
Still thinking about this book?
Because you recently browsed for
and then it shows the book I looked at at some point, usually 2 weeks and lists others like it.

I also get new releases for authors I haven't signed up specifically, but have either read a book, rated a book or bought a book by.

I used to just get regular recommendations. Something like here are some recommendations we think you might be interested in. Those weren't as good. But the ones based on my reading/rating and purchasing, those are much more specific and useful.

I seem to get the new release book emails pretty timely from the authors I follow. Sometimes its a pre-order, sometimes its on the same day its coming out and other times maybe a week or so later. So I haven't had any issues as far as I can tell getting those emails.

Those recommendations seem to now be connected with what I see on my kindles, which makes sense if they use my ratings. I don't review but I always rate. And I know they use those ratings for the recommendations just based on what they send me. I don't browse in the store anymore. I don't have to.

I have filters in my email to put all those emails into a folder so its a bit easier. Since I get so many other emails from amazon also.
It's very encouraging to know that someone is getting new release emails in a timely fashion. I wonder if Amazon handles some genres better than others. That wouldn't make any sense, but I'm not sure how else to account for the difference in the way different people seem to receive them.


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Atunah

It's very encouraging to know that someone is getting new release emails in a timely fashion. I wonder if Amazon handles some genres better than others. That wouldn't make any sense, but I'm not sure how else to account for the difference in the way different people seem to receive them.
I can't say for 100% that I get all of the new releases since I haven't done a one by one check, but just based on what I have seen and the authors I follow, it seems to be pretty timely. Since I also get notification in a way from other readers on goodreads when something new comes out. I follow authors in a variety of genres from romance to mystery, thrillers, UF. Highest percentage is romance.

I engage overall quite a bit with the amazon ecosystem as far as the books go. I mean I rate everything from the kindles, I look at the recommendations I got via kindles from amazon and also use the goodreads function. Its all connected so I guess the more I rate and buy and read, they more they know what I want. That explains the new release emails of authors I do not follow yet, but may have read or purchased and/or rated.

To some extend they do this with other stuff I buy from amazon also, but of course there are no ratings to go around. I only star rate books on amazon, but at times write reviews for non book products.

Good thing for me is I have everything in one place. I don't subscribe to any newsletters separately, I like everything in one place.
 

Bill Hiatt

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It's very encouraging to know that someone is getting new release emails in a timely fashion. I wonder if Amazon handles some genres better than others. That wouldn't make any sense, but I'm not sure how else to account for the difference in the way different people seem to receive them.
I can't say for 100% that I get all of the new releases since I haven't done a one by one check, but just based on what I have seen and the authors I follow, it seems to be pretty timely. Since I also get notification in a way from other readers on goodreads when something new comes out. I follow authors in a variety of genres from romance to mystery, thrillers, UF. Highest percentage is romance.

I engage overall quite a bit with the amazon ecosystem as far as the books go. I mean I rate everything from the kindles, I look at the recommendations I got via kindles from amazon and also use the goodreads function. Its all connected so I guess the more I rate and buy and read, they more they know what I want. That explains the new release emails of authors I do not follow yet, but may have read or purchased and/or rated.

To some extend they do this with other stuff I buy from amazon also, but of course there are no ratings to go around. I only star rate books on amazon, but at times write reviews for non book products.

Good thing for me is I have everything in one place. I don't subscribe to any newsletters separately, I like everything in one place.
Interesting!

We'd always assumed that when Amazon sends out a new release notice to people who follow us, they send out that nr to everyone at the same time. What you're saying makes me wonder if Amazon sends such notices out to more active customers first.


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Rosie Scott

Well, today I got one I didn't know whether to laugh or cry over. First, there's a huge banner on the top advertising someone else's book series--so yes, Amazon is apparently now selling ad space in the new release emails and featuring it above the actual new release announcement.

I just got a new release email the other day and looked for this since you had mentioned it. There were no ads in the email like there were in yours, but it was for a comic issue rather than a novel so perhaps genre comes into play.

A new release email working right is an anomaly. Three or so releases ago I received a new release email of one of my own books within a day or two of its release. The rest of them have been weeks or even months off, and one (Book 3 of my recently completed series) was never sent at all. It's become like a game to try to figure out a pattern, but I can't ascertain one yet.

The best notifications Amazon seems to send me are on my Kindle itself. For example, my latest release was on March 31. I got the email a few days ago (mid-April), but I had multiple announcements on my Kindle. One that said an author I'd bought before had a new release, and my book was listed as the first "recommended for you" when I opened up the bookstore. I'd assume many readers find out about new releases like this (unless they're newsletter subscribers). Then again, I'm not a huge reader, so not many books are recommended to me. Perhaps people who read dozens of books per month have cluttered recommendations as a result and miss out on new releases they'd otherwise be interested in.

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After 21 days without a new release email, I complained to KDP, and received this:

Quote
I would like to inform you that sometimes, it could take up to 60 days after release to notify followers.

I call that a very bad customer experience.

I also call it deliberate sabotage of new releases in order to force authors to use AMS.

I think it's time to remove Amazon Follower links from backmatter.
 
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ashleycapes

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After 21 days without a new release email, I complained to KDP, and received this:

Quote
I would like to inform you that sometimes, it could take up to 60 days after release to notify followers.

I call that a very bad customer experience.

I also call it deliberate sabotage of new releases in order to force authors to use AMS.

I think it's time to remove Amazon Follower links from backmatter.


Wow, that's standing by your product, huh?


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Bill Hiatt

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After 21 days without a new release email, I complained to KDP, and received this:

Quote
I would like to inform you that sometimes, it could take up to 60 days after release to notify followers.

I call that a very bad customer experience.

I also call it deliberate sabotage of new releases in order to force authors to use AMS.

I think it's time to remove Amazon Follower links from backmatter.
I'm glad I never had a link in my backmatter. And sometimes mine have come out after 60 days--or never.

Even before Amazon started getting haphazard about sending out the emails, I was irked by the fact that Amazon didn't give us any way to check how many followers we actually had. At the time, Amazon was pushing Amazon giveaways as a way to boost followers. I tried those a few times, but there was never any feedback on them, either. I would have liked to have known how many people who joined as a result of a giveaway actually stuck around. Meanwhile, Amazon restructured the giveaways in such a way that they became undesirable. Yet another example of Amazon taking a good thing and finding a way to break it.


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EB

After 21 days without a new release email, I complained to KDP, and received this:

Quote
I would like to inform you that sometimes, it could take up to 60 days after release to notify followers.

I call that a very bad customer experience.

I also call it deliberate sabotage of new releases in order to force authors to use AMS.

I think it's time to remove Amazon Follower links from backmatter.

Agree ^^.

I removed Amazon Follower links from all my books, website, & mailing list info. Instead I offer a link to follow me on Bookbub if readers prefer not to sign up for my newsletter. I know I can depend on Bookbub, they're always right on time & reliable.
 

David VanDyke



I think it's time to remove Amazon Follower links from backmatter.

There goes the baby with the bathwater...er, backmatter...
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.
 
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notthatamanda

I have my amazon page in my back matter but I state to follow me for notifications on new releases on bookbub or books2read and have those links.

David - saw your recommendation on google alerts, um, elsewhere, did not know that was a thing, signed up.  Thanks!
 

David VanDyke

Yes, every author should have Google alerts on themselves and their books IMO. The only downside, if it is, is that you discover a lot more piracy, which can be distracting.
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ashleycapes

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14 days between release and notification for my last alert, much better than the last alert I noted (for another author).

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14 days between release and notification for my last alert, much better than the last alert I noted (for another author).

26 days and not got one yet. Much worse.

ashleycapes

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14 days between release and notification for my last alert, much better than the last alert I noted (for another author).

26 days and not got one yet. Much worse.

That's getting close to the border of 'not really a new release anymore' I reckon

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Bill Hiatt

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14 days between release and notification for my last alert, much better than the last alert I noted (for another author).

26 days and not got one yet. Much worse.

That's getting close to the border of 'not really a new release anymore' I reckon
That was my thinking. It's almost as if Amazon is waiting for the thirty-day cliff to pass before sending out the email.

Given that Amazon automates virtually everything it can, I'm amazed that automation doesn't send out new release emails at the same time for each new release, like two days after or something like that. It would be so easy to do that.


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Given that Amazon automates virtually everything it can, I'm amazed that automation doesn't send out new release emails at the same time for each new release, like two days after or something like that. It would be so easy to do that.

IMO, they should be going out on day 1.

How do we start a campaign to get Amazon to send them out within 5 days?

They need to see the bad customer experience label in public a lot.

Do we make a banner and post it on twitter and instagram, Fb and the like?

Bill Hiatt

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Given that Amazon automates virtually everything it can, I'm amazed that automation doesn't send out new release emails at the same time for each new release, like two days after or something like that. It would be so easy to do that.

IMO, they should be going out on day 1.

How do we start a campaign to get Amazon to send them out within 5 days?

They need to see the bad customer experience label in public a lot.

Do we make a banner and post it on twitter and instagram, Fb and the like?
I would have said day 1 also, but I know that sometimes the product page doesn't get fully populated right away, even when the dashboard suggests that the process is over. Having a little more lead-time makes it more likely the page will be complete when the emails go out.

Here's what I'd suggest for campaigning. It's polite to give Amazon a chance to fix the problem before making a big public fuss. Is there anyone active here who has a personal rep? If there is such a person, and that person is willing to communicate the concern through the rep, that would be good. We all know those author reps don't have any authority, but they are higher on the ladder than the KDP first responders, and they presumably have ways of communicating with people who can make decisions.

If that doesn't work, I'd suggest using one of the online petition sites (whichever one has the biggest reach, ideally) to accumulate author signatures. For that to work, someone who still also posts on KBoards would need to be willing to publicize it there as well. Showing Amazon that this isn't just an isolated reaction, but that we all feel the same way, would help.

And yes, using social media is also important. Maybe some of our followers and fans will repost, retweet, and regram (or whatever that's called). I doubt an issue like this will go viral, but it might reach enough people for Amazon to notice.

It's sad this approach probably wouldn't work with some of our more serious issues, but this one is such an easy fix that there's actually a possibility Amazon will just fix it rather than deal with the uproar.


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Given that Amazon automates virtually everything it can, I'm amazed that automation doesn't send out new release emails at the same time for each new release, like two days after or something like that. It would be so easy to do that.

IMO, they should be going out on day 1.

How do we start a campaign to get Amazon to send them out within 5 days?

They need to see the bad customer experience label in public a lot.

Do we make a banner and post it on twitter and instagram, Fb and the like?
I would have said day 1 also, but I know that sometimes the product page doesn't get fully populated right away, even when the dashboard suggests that the process is over. Having a little more lead-time makes it more likely the page will be complete when the emails go out.

Here's what I'd suggest for campaigning. It's polite to give Amazon a chance to fix the problem before making a big public fuss. Is there anyone active here who has a personal rep? If there is such a person, and that person is willing to communicate the concern through the rep, that would be good. We all know those author reps don't have any authority, but they are higher on the ladder than the KDP first responders, and they presumably have ways of communicating with people who can make decisions.

If that doesn't work, I'd suggest using one of the online petition sites (whichever one has the biggest reach, ideally) to accumulate author signatures. For that to work, someone who still also posts on KBoards would need to be willing to publicize it there as well. Showing Amazon that this isn't just an isolated reaction, but that we all feel the same way, would help.

And yes, using social media is also important. Maybe some of our followers and fans will repost, retweet, and regram (or whatever that's called). I doubt an issue like this will go viral, but it might reach enough people for Amazon to notice.

It's sad this approach probably wouldn't work with some of our more serious issues, but this one is such an easy fix that there's actually a possibility Amazon will just fix it rather than deal with the uproar.

I'm good with all of that.

If anyone does have a rep (Amanda?), I'm more than happy to extend an invitation here. I'd love to have an Amazon rep active on the forum.

Personally, I dont rank steadily to rate a rep. I might have after my 2018, but my health never lets me keep the ball rolling. CCD.

I'm not aware of good petition sites, but I'm up for funding if we need it. Just need guidance to where and how.

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I've seen some but can't remember the names. I'll check through my old emails. I have participated from time to time, so I may be able to find one or more and check them out.


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Interesting observation.

I finally picked up 2 books which I'd been waiting for, but for various issues decided not to get when they came out.

I'd kept the notification emails so I could get them easily.

Both were for PAPERBACKS.

Now I'm wondering if Amazon have an unannounced policy of rewarding those who release the paperback at the same time as the ebook. And penalizing those who have no paperbacks at all.

Just a thought.

Bill Hiatt

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I suppose that's possible. I do paperbacks, but usually the ebook comes out first.


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Bill Hiatt

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Now that the posting issue seems to be corrected, here's my research so far on petition sites:

There are many online petition sites. I was going to recommend change.org, but apparently there are concerns about privacy. See for example https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-best-sites-to-start-a-petition. I'm not seeing anything objectionable in the privacy policy, though. https://www.change.org/policies/privacy It's later than the Q discussion and seems to address the concerns expressed there.

Anyway, change.org has a number of success stories, some big and some small. Because our audience is relatively limited (indie authors), we wouldn't want a platform geared exclusively to large campaigns. I looked through a number of current petitions, and there were some with very limited audiences (change the dress code at a particular high school, for example). The other thing I looked for was ideological diversity, so that all of our members would be comfortable. A lot of the petitions don't have a clearly liberal or conservative slant. Those that do are predominately liberal, but I did find at least one that would appeal to conservatives.

Here are some other petition sites that could also be considered. https://www.socialbrite.org/2010/07/20/9-online-petition-tools-how-to-make-a-difference/.

I didn't look up the details, but apparently it's also possible to run petition drives through FB and Twitter. I wouldn't recommend that approach because not all of our members want to get involved with social media.

If we wanted to go small-scale, there is also a wordpress petition plugin. https://wordpress.org/plugins/speakout/ It's currently maintained, has good reviews, and could be suitable for a small campaign. The potential downside is that you wouldn't have the kind of traffic you'd get on one of the big petition sites. However, it would give you a link that could be shared in various indie author communities. This could be all we'd need.


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notthatamanda


 
 Simon, I just got a new release notification on your book.  The screenshot was too big to post sorry.

 
 
Raiders: The Secret War
Simon Haynes
 
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Kindle Edition: $4.99   

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You are subscribed to receive this email because you follow Simon Haynes. We thought you’d like to know about this new book by the author.
 
 
 


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CoraBuhlert

Today I got a new release notification for a book I released on April 17. Worse, there was a sponsored ad on top of the mail for some Dan Brown wannabe thriller (my book is fantasy).

So yes, Amazon's new release notifications are completely useless.

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ashleycapes

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Still waiting on a new release alert from one of my titles that went out May 17, so not the longest time but still no-where near 'close' I reckon

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Denise

I follow myself on Amazon and just got a new release alert for a book that's on pre order to be released in mid July. No ads.

It's not a new release.  :shrug It will be (if I finish writing the book). No paperback yet, so the theory that they give priority to paperbacks doesn't work here.

So... no pattern whatsoever. It's just random.

Frankly, this is worse for Amazon, because authors no longer encourage readers to follow them there.  I mean, there's no reason why we should, right?
 

Bill Hiatt

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I follow myself on Amazon and just got a new release alert for a book that's on pre order to be released in mid July. No ads.

It's not a new release.  :shrug It will be (if I finish writing the book). No paperback yet, so the theory that they give priority to paperbacks doesn't work here.

So... no pattern whatsoever. It's just random.

Frankly, this is worse for Amazon, because authors no longer encourage readers to follow them there.  I mean, there's no reason why we should, right?
I can't think of a single one. New release notices were the only benefit for that, and, as you say, there's no pattern. You might luck out and have one come out in a reasonably timely fashion, or you might not. I think the latter is the more likely outcome.


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PJ Post

 :writethink:

So when we build the better mouse trap...it sounds like new release notifications should be a simple and straightforward priority; something both writers and readers can count on. Got it, thanks.  grint

 

TimothyEllis

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So after the last book didnt get a new release notification except for UK at 2 months,.....

My last release just got one at 10 days.

Go figure.

Or maybe the message did get back to someone who had whatever issue fixed?

CoraBuhlert

Apparently, Amazon's new release notifications have gotten even more broken. At any rate, someone on Twitter just reported getting a new release notification for Daniel Defoe's new novel Robinson Crusoe.

Hey, it's only 300 years late.

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notthatamanda

I followed a trad published author I knew was releasing a book 6/4, just got the notification today.
 

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There was a survey on a 'Recommended for You' email I got this morning.

I took the opportunity to tell them I wanted followers emails on day 1. 2 weeks after was unacceptable. Month after was a joke. Never getting one was insulting the reader and the author.

Probably only going to be seen by a bot, but what the hell. They asked. I told.

Bill Hiatt

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There was a survey on a 'Recommended for You' email I got this morning.

I took the opportunity to tell them I wanted followers emails on day 1. 2 weeks after was unacceptable. Month after was a joke. Never getting one was insulting the reader and the author.

Probably only going to be seen by a bot, but what the hell. They asked. I told.
They probably wouldn't bother with a survey if the results were only going to be seen by a bot. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if bots sorted them based on particular words or something like that, and that determined which low-level employee they got routed to.


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Simon Haynes

I released a new novel on May 20th. One person got the Amazon New Notification email on the 2nd of June. I just got my notification for the same novel today, 12th of June.

They obviously spread them out a lot.


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TimothyEllis

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Makes me wonder how many notification emails get spamblocked on individual net nodes without anyone knowing, and it varies because the routing varies.

 :icon_think:

notthatamanda

I don't really understand how spam blockers work but is it possible they are spacing them out just so they won't look like spam?
I have the impression that sending an email to a lot of people makes it look like spam.  I could be completely wrong about this, just a wild guess, before coffee.
 

Simon Haynes

Amazon's own mail servers would be white-listed in any spam database out there. Same with other major tech companies like FB, twitter and so on.




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