Amazon is, for all intents and purposes, the powerhouse when it comes to the book distribution process. It doesn’t seem to be a temporary thing, either; authors and publishers alike simply must acclimate to the fact that to sell a lot of books, they first must tailor their Amazon presence to be an attractive one. And Amazon seems to have good intentions insofar as providing resources goes: its architects have dedicated incredible resources to creating better ways to connect authors with their readers.
There are a lot of ways to promote your book on Amazon, and since sales through this website may very well account for a large percentage of your overall book sales, it’s worth making sure you’re aware of all of the options!
The first step, of course, is to figure out what you’re doing right.
To do this, locate your book listing on Amazon by searching the title or ISBN. Once your book listing is fully loaded, make sure your cover is showing. If it isn’t there yet, make sure to upload a quality image for your readers to view–preferably at a high resolution. Double-check that all of the information on display is accurate, and check back every few weeks to make sure it stays up-to-date and glitch-free. This all is predicated on the assumption, of course, that you already have your book for sale on Amazon … but what if you don’t?
Create an Author Central account.
This account differs from the normal customer account you may already have on Amazon as a result of buying something (or many things). An Author Central account allows you to better manage your books, and the process is free, so there are zero reasons not to create one. To begin, navigate to authorcentral.amazon.com and register your profile, following the on-screen prompts to add your books to your bibliography, create a blog, edit or revise your online descriptions, and use a number of other tools on offer.
Returning to your book listing page, it’s vital that you include only relevant and compelling sales information with a positive marketing slant that will increase both your exposure and the number of people who actually buy your book. That’s money in the bank! Streamline your page to avoid the clutter of white noise (information that distracts from what’s really important) and reassess regularly.
Go for those reviews. Go for them.
Amazon rewards activity on your Author Central profile page and on your book page listings, to the more reviews you have–the more people who will be directed to your book via Amazon’s search algorithms, and the more people who will buy and review your book. Interesting Factoid Alert: This is the definition of a positive feedback loop! You want your book’s activity to outweigh the activity on all other books of comparable genre, content, and publication date–so in a sense, it is a bit of race to rack up the reviews. To get these reviews, it’s a good plan to:
- Write online reviews for other books. This gets your name out there, establishing you as an authority, and will occasionally be reciprocated by those authors you review.
- Entice people you know to review your book. And if you don’t yet know a host of eager reviewers, consider hosting giveaways or offering discounts to potential reviewers.
- Mark positive reviews of your book as ‘helpful.’ There’s a link attached to each review on your book that allows other viewers to gauge the review’s usefulness (and accuracy). You can ask your other friends and followers to do this, too.
Books without reviews are like books no one is buying–Amazon’s algorithms tend to leave them out of search engine results and “If you like this, you might also like this” recommendations. It’s unethical (and fairly easy for others to spot) to give your own book a five-star review, but you shouldn’t shy from asking others to. The worst they can say is ‘no,’ and there are plenty who will say ‘yes.’
Share your book using Amazon’s built-in features.
Picture this: sending an Amazon-branded email to all of your friends and acquaintances. Imagine that the email contains a large image of your book cover along with its retail price, star rating, and an enormous inviting button saying “Learn More”! Well, this option exists, is free, and is almost ridiculously easy to use. All you have to do is locate your book on Amazon, look at your sales detail page, find the “Share” button (usually on the right-hand column). Click “Share” and crack open your list of email contacts. You can enter the email addresses for anyone you know who might like to know about your book, following the on-screen prompts to enter up to four hundred people at a time.
Amazon also makes it easy to share your book listing on social media. You don’t have to copy the link manually; just click the Twitter, Facebook, and other social media icons on your book listing page–and again, just follow the prompts to log in and post the link to your followers. Easy peasy! And the best part is … every ‘hit’ on your book listing page boosts your online presence and optimizes your Amazon page within their complicated system. Give yourself a leg up and explore all of your options!
You are not alone. ♣︎
ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.