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Marketing onAmazon Turning your fiction or non-fiction book into a better seller Aprimer forAmazon marketing basics Part of theAmazon Essentials series by Brian Kittrell Late Nite Books http://www.latenitebooks.com Welcome to a new era, my friends. We are entering into a unique time in history, where new authors are bounding onto the world's stage every single day. You can be a part of this revolution, and this brief eBook will share with you the details of how you can do that and how you can maximize your efforts by marketing onAmazon – and how to do that effectively. First, let's go over a little information about the self-publishing revolution that is taking place all over the world. With the ease of entry into book publishing, thousands upon thousands of authors are taking advantage of the benefits of publishing a book – extra income, the ability to say you are a published author, and further marketing your own products and services as an expert in your field. This eBook is designed to help you along in the process of dealing withAmazon. For brevity's sake, this eBook doesn't cover every single aspect of marketing a book – instead, it covers information on how to make your book available and visible to customers on the largest online marketplace:Amazon. So, let's get started, shall we? The List of “Don'ts” We need a starting place, and there's no better place to begin than the “don'ts”. This is a list of things that you should not do to market your book onAmazon. • Don't start self-promotion threads throughout the forums. This makes you look like a spammer, and that's the last thing you want for your image if you're just getting started. Whether it results in a few sales or not is not important: in the long term, your image will be tarnished as a thoughtless self- promoter and customers will be less likely to buy from you in the future. • Don't reply to every forum thread you see that might possibly relate to your book in some way, shape, or form with a product link. Again, this is spammy. • Don't chat/call/email everyone you've ever met informing them that your book (that they've waited so long for, no doubt!) is now available. • Don't be spammy. (Are we seeing a trend here?) The best thing for you on Amazon is not to develop a reputation as a spammer or thoughtless self- promoter. There are valid and accepted ways of doing business, and there are plenty of free tools at your disposal to make your dreams of being a paid writer or author come true. So, continue reading! Considerations I decided to add a short introduction to the eBook in order to help people considering mass promotion and publishing their own books. Please, follow the advice here. It will make your life a great deal easier. First, please make sure that you have a properly-formatted eBook or print book for distribution. Make sure the margins are correct, that it looks good, and the fonts, colors, text sizes, and everything else are attractive. Make sure your spelling and grammar are generally correct – people will forgive a misspelled word or grammatically incorrect phrase every once in a while (read: two or three times PER BOOK), but they tire of amateurish books and writing. Books are meant to inspire and invigorate the reader, and too many mistakes and problems are distracting. Edit the book to make sure it makes sense and flows well. Make sure the story is interesting. Simply put, make a book that you would actually want to buy, not just something you can throw out there for sale. This is your legacy you're talking about; make sure that people remember you as an author, not as a peddler of second-hand wares. Now, let's get on with it! Author Central So many authors are guilty of not taking advantage of this valuable tool. If you do not have an Author Central account, go there immediately and set up your account: http://authorcentral.amazon.com. The first thing you must do is add your books to your account. Go to the Books tab and select “Add More Books”. Locate your books on Amazon and add them to your account. This allows you to manipulate data and information on their selling page and to create a better profile for your books. Fill out all of the information completely. If you have editorial reviews, go ahead and add them to the page now. I will discuss acquiring reviews in greater detail later in this material. You should also make any corrections to the page or add any additional information with the “Suggest product information updates” link. This can help you in making corrections to incorrect information or adding information that is not present. Every piece of information that you add can help your sales. It's free to use this tool, so make the most of it! I must note that I've seen authors not take advantage of this free tool before. If you don't use Author Central after reading this, you might as well put this book down and not read any farther; this step is probably the easiest one in the entire book. Digital Text Platform If you are setting up a new title or managing a title you already have, the Digital Text Platform (http://dtp.amazon.com) is an invaluable tool for you. This tool allows you to upload eBook versions of your print copy (or just the eBook if you are not releasing a print copy). It also allows you to make changes and help market your eBook to Amazon users. During this process, you should be sure to select all of the different categories that apply to your book and genre. You can select up to five, so select five categories that apply to your book to make it easier for people looking for books like yours to find it and purchase it. Part of your publicity should be being visible, while not being irritating. The DTP and Author Central empower you to do both at the same time, so use your tools! Tagging Have you ever noticed the “Tags Customers Associate With This Product” area of a product's home page? Let's take mine for example: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982949596. This is the product page for one of my novels. I will use it as an example for this portion of the book. Product tagging is a way for customers to locate products similar to the things they are currently viewing or searching. Tagging is an essential part of product promotion on Amazon, and adding relevant tags to your products is both easy and free. Take The Dying Times for example. It has several tags, but the most relevant are at the top (or close to it). “Zombies”, for instance, is one of the major tags for the product because it is a novel about the zombie apocalypse. Okay, stop laughing: it has remained under the #10,000 mark on sales on Kindle for some weeks now. Part of the reason for this is that the product is tagged appropriately. So, you should always make sure to create at least 15 tags that apply to your product and post them up as soon as your book goes live. This will make it easier for potential customers to find your book and purchase it, and it will make it easier for you to live your dream of getting paid for doing something that you enjoy. Getting Others to Tag Your Books Of course, this question is probably burning inside you after the last section: How do I get people to tag my book? Well, one way is asking the people that you know to do it. It doesn't cost them anything but a little time, and many of your friends will do this for you free of charge or argument. In addition, you may be able to seek out communities of authors who are willing to exchange tags with you. The premise is simple: you tag their books, and everyone participating will tag your books. This is probably the easiest method and will result in the most tags for your books – provided that you are honest and you are actually going through and tagging other authors' books when they are tagging yours. It is tedious work, but it pays off if you participate properly. CreateSpace is one community that has a group of authors willing to do this, so check it out. Reviews Reviews are a very helpful way of garnering support for your fledgling book. The better the source, the better the chances that people will give you more than a passing glance. In this section, I will share a little bit about my experiences with reviewers and how they can help you. My first professional review came from a reviewer who writes for the Midwest Book Review (http://www.midwestbookreview.com). Keep that link handy – it can be one of your greatest allies. Basically, Midwest will review (and actually gives priority to) self-published authors. It is like the Publisher's Weekly or New York Times Book Review of the indie world. Midwest publishes their reviews to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere for you, all free of charge. It is best to get professional reviewers from different places. The best way to find them from my experience is to search Google for the term “[genre] book review”. You should come up with some different reviewers. Contact them before submitting your book to them; most people don't like unsolicited books appearing at their doorstep or email inbox. Spreading the word also means contacting book bloggers related to your genre and joining community websites for your type of book. Remember: when joining communities or approaching bloggers (or commenting/posting to discussion forums or doing anything in the public), be tasteful and don't be spammy. People really hate it when you do that to their websites or their communities. If someone agrees to review your work, be patient with them. They are people, too – some are authors, others have kids, some have jobs, and others have lives outside your book. It is easy to get over-excited about your book, so calm down and do what's right for your work. When they finish the review, that is the time to ask them if they will post it toAmazon and other places. If you get negative reviews, thank them for their words and use that as constructive criticism. Everyone who writes is guilty of being overzealous and overprotective of their own works – it's perfect, and everyone should see it that way, right? If you get negative reviews, take the reviewer's thoughts in and use them to your advantage by making your book and future books better. You may be able to convince other authors to review your work in exchange for you reviewing their books. Such exchanges can lead to additional reviews for both of you, helping both of you sell more books! Additional Sources of Exposure The following is a list of additional sources you can use to promote your book. Some are free, some aren't. They aren't covered in great detail here, though: they are a list of different options for getting your book out there. They don't necessarily apply toAmazon directly, but they can help. • Book Trailer – if you have technical know-how (or you are prepared to spend the money), developing a short book trailer and posting it to YouTube can help gain some exposure and interest in your title. • Interviews – performing interviews (radio, TV, or internet blogs) can grant you some exposure. • Press Releases – writing and releasing press releases can give you some exposure to the internet at large. I would recommend not using pay-to-release services, as there are free ones (such as PRLOG.org) that release them for free and have about the same results. • Create a Website – there is never a better time than now to start marketing yourself – via your own website. Try to post regularly about yourself, your book, and other things that interest you. This sort of thing creates a connection with readers and can be an invaluable marketing tool for you. • Social Networks – if you don't have a social network account, you are letting one of the best marketing and exposure tools pass you by! Get a Facebook account. Get friends. Post about your book. Do it now! Just don't be spammy! • Advertising (Google AdWords) – advertising through Google AdWords can help you in many ways. I would recommend starting at a very low cost-per-click rate (read: $0.05 per click or in that area). Don't worry if your page says “Below First Page Bid” and so forth; I find that I still get clicks and impressions without being the top bidder, and this sort of advertising is not going to slam you with people wanting to read your book. It is simply a little extra exposure that you have to pay for. • Advertising (Facebook Ads) – like Google AdWords, I would recommend not pumping too much money into this. I have had less than miraculous results advertising through Facebook, so only put a little money in there to play with. It is more difficult to get impressions and clicks with a low bid about through Facebook, too. • Advertising (Radio, TV) – possibly the most expensive, but it reaches the largest markets in one foul swoop. If you are reading this, the benefits of having a TV or Radio commercial are probably lower than spending the money elsewhere, so be guarded in this arena. • Word of Mouth – this is my favorite: it's free for you, it's the best advertising, and anybody can do it. Encourage your fans and readers to help you spread the word. You can use the fact that you are self-published to your advantage here – you are not some big publishing house with the budget, you are the little guy, and most everybody loves the little guy. Well, except for the big guy, of course. • Conversations on Amazon Forums – remember how I said not to be spammy on the Amazon forums? Well, you can still use them to help with your marketing. Instead of posting self-promotion threads everywhere, get involved in the conversations. At the end, attach a product link and your signature to your posts. Potential readers are more interested in reading books from people who are helpful and interesting. We've all seen the late night infomercials, and we don't want that sort of thing invading our communities. • Promote With Every Piece of Mail – every piece of mail that you send out has the potential to be a marketing piece. If you mail a check to pay a bill, slip a marketing piece into the envelope with it. If you send mail to relatives, why not throw in a bookmark that has your brand name or book's name on it? Everything with an envelope and a stamp can be a marketing opportunity. Don't forget it! • Giveaways – Everybody loves free stuff, and you've just created a product. The idea is to sell this product and make money, right? Well, as a new author, you may be able to create some buzz about your book by hosting a giveaway for it. Give incentives for people to advertise and spread the word about your book, such as giving them extra entries in their name for posting about it on their blog or posting to discussion forums about it. Make several levels of goodies, such as First Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize, and so forth. People are more likely to participate in anything if they have a reasonable chance to win. I certainly hope that this $0.99 primer to Amazon marketing has been helpful to you. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to post them to the discussion forums for this product on Amazon, and I will try to address them post-haste. I will continue to update this material based on customer feedback and conversations as needed!
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