Flywheel for Authors

On Friday, our son dropped in to store some things in our basement. Yes, even adult children with their own houses apparently need to use their parent’s basement. While chatting about a challenge that my husband has taken on as a board member for a not-for-profit, our son who specializes in marketing innovation mentioned Amazon’s Flywheel.

Hmm, wonder what that is, I thought as my former consulting self kicked into motion. After he left, a quick trip to Googleland surfaced several million articles and many diagrams. Jeff Bezos supposedly wrote one like this on a napkin (I have no idea whether cocktails were involved).


The primary circle goes something like this: provide a wide selection and a great customer experience; this will lead to traffic (buyers) and to more sellers using the Amazon platform. More sellers will broaden the selection, improve the customer experience and so on. The resulting growth – in the middle of the diagram – will lower the cost structure leading to lower prices which in turn will spin the flywheel again and again. Check out Sam Seely’s article for more (you can find many others).

Always thinking of books, I wondered how the flywheel concept applies to the publishing world, both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Fortunately, Chanticleer Book Reviews provided an article illustrating such a flywheel; the article goes on to focus on building a pitch for your book(s).

Source: Chanticleer Book Reviews

According to the article: “The flywheel effect occurs when small wins (acquiring readers one at a time) accumulate over time, creating momentum that keeps your business growing (increasing your readership).” The pitch is central to acquiring readers.

If we go back to the earlier diagram, writing more novels increases your selection. Turning delighted readers into promoters of your novels helps spin your flywheel. Attracting readers can be boosted by SEO, meta-data, marketing campaigns, and a strong pitch.

Chanticleer uses the following equation to describe a successful pitch:

Central Conflict + Inciting Incident + Protagonist Goal + Protagonist = Pitch

Well, that’s all for now, but I’m going to noodle on this some more. I’ll be back if I discover further insights.

More on marketing:


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website

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Meet M.K.Tod

The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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