Amazon has truly become a jungle. Authors and self publishers will do things on Amazon.com they would never consider doing offline. And it’s often the “experts” who should know better who encourage them to do it!
What we need now is an etiquette for Amazon. I here propose several guidelines as a starting point.
1. Don’t flood.
Don’t overwhelm Amazon with submissions for particular features. This includes creating loads of Listmania lists.
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 one.
3. Don’t horn in.
Don’t use the page for someone else’s book to sell your own. This includes writing customer reviews so you can recommend or mention your book. Exceptions are when Amazon reserves space for promoting other books, as with Better Together placements or Listmania lists.
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!