Courtney, this is very interesting insight. Thanks for sharing!
Courtney Milan said:I had a conversation with someone at Amazon (in Seattle) who works in author-agent relations. He doesn't know how the ranking algorithm works, but he talks to the people who do, and he threw out the word "conversion" several times in the conversation, like it was something obvious.
I suspect that the degree to which they promote your book has to do with the rate at which your book is converting views into sales. If lots of people see your book and only a few buy it, they will give that slot to someone else. If lots of people see your book and lots buy it, they'll start giving you more slots. At some point, you'll start to have saturated the audience--that's when you'll peak, and when you've reached that point, your conversion rate will go down, and that will drop you, and then you'll make fewer sales and you'll fall farther in the rankings. It's an accelerating positive feedback loop on the way up, but's an accelerating negative feedback loop on the way down, too.
I'm interpolating from a pair of offhand comments and logic, but it makes sense. Amazon wants to make as much money as possible. They want people to buy books as many times as possible. Real estate is valuable. They're going to give it to the books that do the best job of turning views into purchases. The instant you stop doing that, they'll walk away from you, fickle fair-weather friends that they are.
They're loving me right now, and I'm loving them back.