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“Also Bought…” (Another Amazon Mystery)

My novel Timed Out is usually classified as ‘mature romance’ or ‘women’s literary fiction’. (I snobbishly  prefer ‘literary fiction’ though I know that doesn’t sell books.) It is about an older woman trying to turn her life around after she retires, doing Internet dating and also  pondering again the Big Questions.

On its  book page Amazon.co.uk lists three authors that people who bought Timed Out also bought: Salley Vickers, Leo Tolstoy and Thomas Hardy. I would love to meet these readers of eclectic taste. I struggle to grasp what Timed Out has in common with the works of these three famous authors.

I have read one of Vickers’ best selling novels, Miss Garnett’s Angel. Things in common: older woman protagonist, part set in Venice. But otherwise I can’t see much similarity. There are hints of religious faith  in hers, as far as I can recall. Mine has a Humanist/agnostic thread.

Thomas Hardy is my least favourite of the great nineteenth century novelists (though I love his poetry). I read all his novels eagerly as a teenager but now I find them overwrought and melodramatic with characters I  find hard to believe in.

Tolstoy is another matter. I read Russian at university and I still re-read Tolstoy’s novels and stories, and find inspiration and feel humbled. No one can write about happiness as he can – see Natasha’s first ball, or Levin the night before he proposes, when everything and everyone seems so remarkably good. Or create characters like these, and Pierre, and young Nikolai, and Natasha’s dancing father. I could go on and on…  But the worry is, if someone has read Tolstoy, could  they like my work  as well? Are these the same people who have written the generous reviews I’ve been getting? I can hardly believe that. If I deserve five stars, how many does Tolstoy deserve?

I would love to have your comments. If you are an author, what is on your  ‘also bought’ Amazon listing? And what are your thoughts? And if a reader who looks at these Amazon book pages, what do you make of the ‘also bought’ information?






6 thoughts on ““Also Bought…” (Another Amazon Mystery)

  1. Well now, that’s a hard one. As your Jane Lambert might say, Barbara, “Discuss.” I bought Timed Out, and really really enjoyed it a lot. Recent online purchases include The Haunted House , an illustrated picture book for five year olds by a Japanese illustrator, Kazuno Kohara (no, I don’t have any grandchildren or any children to give it to), 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism by James Chandler, and a basic guide to researching your Jamaican ancestry. As to what these items have in common, I can’t see a thing; they all interest me in different ways. Readers are multifaceted and unpredictable.

    • Thanks for this. Interesting. On mature reflection (I love that phrase) I realise that readers can and do have varied interests. And also (on mature reflection) it occurs to me that the listing may refer to purchases by more than one reader.

  2. Dear Babs

    When you have worked out the relation of your readership’s novels maybe you can help me. I wanted a pea shooter to discourage squirells from my garden. Amazon said buyers also bought a nun’s cross,a US sailor’s hat and a Borat mankini.

    Love Keith


    • If you didn’t find a pea shooter maybe a water pistol would work?
      You should have taken the hint from Amazon and bought yourself those three items. A glorious sight to see! And surely a sight that would have spooked the poor squirrels.

  3. Lucky you to have made the 20 reviews necessary for Amazon to promote your book under its ‘also bought’ system! I am stuck at 17 reviews (Amazon meanly having deleted 2 reviews because they were by people who are ‘friends’ on Goodreads grrrr). Children’s books are at a big disadvantage here, as by definition their readers can’t write reviews, so the author relies on parents for these, or on adults who enjoy reading children’s books.
    But to answer your question – people shop on Amazon for all kinds of reasons, buying books as presents for instance, so there may not be a connection between the ones chosen. Not bad to be bracketed with Hardy and Tolstoy though!

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