Guest Expert: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Know this: I hate talking about book sales for a whole lot of reasons. The thing is today I have to talk about them because I want to to talk about Amazon ratings and I can’t talke about them without talking about selling books.
You may be asking why I don’t like to talk about book sales. It’s that there are more important things to talk about like cross promotion and branding. You may know that I believe if you network well, you won’t have to sell anything, ever. Not in the traditional sense.
That is my disclaimer. I’m done. Now, I’m going to tell you how to let Amazon help you sell more books anyway!
A promotional drop in the bucket can move Amazon ratings drastically! Especially if you keep dripping promotion into the pail. Use the perks that Amazon provides for you (see the list below), and you’ll find your book selling. Especially if you don’t give up. Just keep dribbling little bits of information into these Amazon tools (and all the other avenues of promotion that you use). Success is about frequency and longevity. Here they are. Pick one (or more) and keep at it:
1. Use Listmanias on Amazon and, along with your own book, sprinkle in the titles of your author-friends. Let these authors know you included their books in your targeted Listmainia list. That’s a way to make a new promotion friend. There is a chapter in The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t that tells you how to use this free promotional perk along with tips for making Listmanias more effective. It also includes information on other free tools on Amazon.
2. When you read a book by an author you know (or even one you don’t), do yourself and them a favor by adding a review to Amazon. It takes but a minute and you and your book get exposed, especially if you use a promotion-savvy signature. Simply type in a couple of dashes and then add “Reviewed by xxxxx and your book title.” Don’t link to your own sales page on Amazon, though. Amazon cops don’t like that!
3. Tell other people about what you’re doing, how your book relates to current events and more by posting on your Amazon plog or blog. Another name for that page complete with a blog is Author Central™. You are using it aren’t you? It’s much like a profile page you find on social networks.
4. In your Amazon blog, spread the word about your fellow authors’ books and then ask them to pass on the word about your blog, complete with URL. This is cross promotion at its best.
5. Flesh out your book’s page on Amazon by using Amazon’s Wiki (or Amapedia) to add information on your awards or other publishing you’ve done.
6. Add to the tag window on your book’s sales pages. Use keywords from your book. As an example, for my novel This Is the Place, I use Big Love, Mormons, polygamy, Utah, western history, women’s fiction, coming-of-age story, New York, Latter Day Saint, and a whole lot more. Do it for others’ books, too. It only takes a few seconds.
7. Ask your friends and professional associates to review your book on Amazon. See that word “ask?” They will be happy to do it. They just need a nudge!
8. If you have a book suited to it, you add pictures to your book’s page. Check out my “Promote or Perish” picture on The Frugal Book Promoter sales page. Here’s the URL: http://www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo .
9. Don’t avoid Amazon because you’re mad at them. Getting caught up in the idea of trying to sell your book only on your own Web site is counterproductive. You may make more per book, but you’ll make less over all and your promotion will suffer. Read that word “promotion” as “readership.” Read it as “exposure.” Read it as “credibility.” You and your book need to be seen more than you need a couple of extra dollars profit on any given book.
10. Look into the So You’d Like Tos . . . on Amazon. They will allow you to rant or write essays to your hearts content and gather readers as you do it. They work similarly to Listmanias but they’re lots more work.
Make friends. When someone adds a review to your page. Thank them. Follow them on their social networks. Get to know them. Then invite them to trade links with you. By the way, when someone reviews your book, it may show up on their profile page. Their friends buy books, too!
Note: Updated 21st August 2010. Thanks Jerry Schwartz for the heads-up :)
The author is Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t, winner of USA Book News’ Best Professional Book, and Book Publicists of Southern California’s Irwin Award. Its sister book, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success is also a multi-award winner. Her new booklet of word trippers is Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy. Learn more at: http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com.
Her complimentary newsletter Sharing with Writers is always full of promotion tips, craft, and publishing news. Send an e-mail with “subscribe” in the subject line to HoJoNews@aol.com.