Tag Archives: amazon

Expanding Your Amazon Reach

Amazon’s AuthorCentral websites allow readers to see a dedicated page focusing on a particular writer. It’s an easy way for Amazon customers, particularly those with Kindle readers, to find more about an author. The recently re-designed pages now include a sliding window featuring books registered to an author. The images are larger, allowing the viewer to see more details and entice them to purchase another book from an author they enjoyed.

Most of the professional writers have claimed their author page on Amazon USA. Besides the book sliding tool, they can upload headshots and casual images. Another section is available to present a bio, and all of the AuthorCentral sites allow Twitter integration. Only the United States version has blog/RSS integration, so one can highlight their latest posts to visiting readers and fans.

Unfortunately, many professional writers have not claimed their overseas AuthorCentral pages. Most erroneously believe that they are all tied together. This is not the case at present, although Amazon has indicated this may be possible in future website updates.

To create your AuthorCentral page, go to one of the links below. I had to register at all of them separately, but some of my friends already had accounts when they first visited the rest of the sites.

I would recommend you use the Chrome web browser because it has Google Translate integration built in. For example, going to the French AuthorCentral page, I right-clicked and selected “translate this page”. The results were understandable but not perfect. Images and some buttons may not get translated because they’re not text, but the layouts are similar to the US version. If you set up your United States page first, the rest will be similar enough that you won’t have to translate the pages every time.

After you create an account or log in, you will see a couple of your book titles. Select the button that says “these are my titles” and Amazon will populate most of your titles. Some do not import, so you will have to do a comparison to your full catalog. If you have foreign language versions of your titles, you can have both that language and the English ones for sale, which is handy for places like Japan where there are many English speakers and ex-pats. Make sure all of your titles are listed with all languages and all formats (Kindle, hardcover, paperback, stone carvings, etc.)
Foreign markets are counted separately for book ranking, so if you’re a neurotic rank checker you’ll have several places to click. Oddly enough, many of the reviews carry over, but not all of them — it’s very hit-and-miss.

Amazon is working on the China (amazon.cn) and Italy (amazon.it) sites. The Canada (amazon.ca) and India (amazon.in) versions appear to use the data from the United States. Some of the other countries run off of others, such as Austria mostly using the German AuthorCentral system. Eventually, all of them will be available to use. With any luck, they will have all of them integrated to make things easier for the author.

Since this does take time, is it worth the effort? My thoughts are yes, for several reasons. Amazon is a high-quality website, so crosslinking it with your blog may help your Google ranking. Even if you only get a trickle of sales, that is still income for your pocket and a chance for a new reader to fall in love with your work.

To check how your page looks, go to the Amazon shopping page of the country you wish to view and enter your author name. You should see some of your titles with your name highlighted underneath. Click on your name and you will be taken to your author page. You may wish to have your bio translated into the appropriate language and use that version. Friends who speak and write the language, local colleges, asking around online for references, or even using places like Fiverr.com can help you to upload a native version.

I do not recommend using software methods to change the language of your bio since the meaning gets lost in translation. For example, Pepsi set up shop in China in the early 1970s, using the slogan “Come Alive! You’re In The Pepsi Generation”, which roughly translated meant it brought ancestors back from the dead. Great for horror writers, bad for soft drink companies…except it suddenly became “cool” to drink Pepsi and sales took off.

I wish you the best of luck expanding your author empire until it’s a world-wide phenomenon.


About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award® nominee; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at Wikipedia and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Marketing 101

A guest post by Doug Dandridge.

Empires at WarI’m not sure if you can call me the world’s greatest expert on self-marketing.  However, since I am closing in on 130,000 book sales in thirty-four months, I must be doing something right.  I have made over $300,000.00 in that time period, and am a full time working author.  In this blog, I will give a quick rundown on some of the things I have done.   I will go ahead and plug a book I wrote which is available on Amazon called How I Sold 100,000 Books On Amazon.  I’ve heard from some people who read the book and reported increased success.  I don’t have time to go into everything in this brief essay, but will cover what I think are the most important points.  Of course, most important is to write a book that a lot of people will want to read when you put it out there.  But that is of no use if you can’t attract people to give it a try.

Establish a web presence.  You want your name, not just the name of your book, to take up the top slots in a Google search.  There are several things I did here.  First, I established a web site, with a lot of outgoing links, which hopefully will help generate more incoming links.  This will raise it up in the search algorithms.  Next I established a blog.  I was able to get domain names for both blog and website that were my name, dougdandridge, one with a .com, one with a .net.  I went on Amazon and Goodreads and rated a hell of a lot of books I had read, and left actual reviews for most of them.  Blog when you can.   It doesn’t have to be daily, and don’t just blog on how people can buy your book.  Blog on things of interest around the topics of your books.  I do blogs on armor, modern and future weapons, tropes, movies, all kinds of stuff, and then also do a couple of blogs, with excerpts, whenever I put out a book.  And don’t let the number of subscribers put you off.  I only have about a 150 subscribers, but my blog, published about every other week, gets hundreds of views a day.  That’s because I also tweet the blog, with hashtags, and post it on a number of Facebook pages frequented by people interested in fantasy, scifi or ebooks in general.  Also do blogs for other people when asked, and ask them if they don’t get around to it.  I have done blogs for people like David Farland, and for people who have less than fifty subscribers.  I feel like it is a reciprical effort, helping both parties.  The result is that I have the top twenty slots on Google for Doug Dandridge now.  When I started out I was on page two with one entry, and there aren’t that many Doug Dandridges out there to compete with.

Advertise your other books in each of your books, with hyperlinks to make it easy for readers to get to them.  I also have a newsletter, which, while it has slightly less than 300 subscribers, has a much better than average opening rate.  The newsletter is probably responsible for a couple of hundred early sales of each book, driving them up the genre charts, which gets even more attention.  Reviews are important, probably as much as anything.  Not actually what they said, but how they rate you, and the average of those ratings.  Do not buy reviews.  Repeat, do not buy reviews.  But if anyone compliments you, on Facebook, your blog or by email, ask them if they will give you a review.  One review I got was a three star for another series, but he complimented me on my Exodus series, and I asked him is we would be kind enough to write a review for one of those books.  I got another five star review out of that transaction.

I got started with Amazon giveaways.   I have given away almost 16K ebooks, and several of those giveaways have driven my sales.  The trick is to not just do the giveaway, but to advertise those dates.  I use Author’s Marketing Club, which has a free page where you can visit sites that let you advertise your free book.  Most of the sites are free, some charge a nominal fee, but it’s worth it.  You also blog and tweet the giveaway.  How well have they worked?  In September of 2012 I gave away 4,100 copies of The Deep Dark Well, a book which has sold almost 6,000 copies since.  When I released the first of my Exodus: Empires at War books, it started flying off the Amazon servers.  In May 2014 I did a giveaway of that very Exodus book, just after releasing book 6.  I gave away 4,900 copies of book 1.  The five Exodus books were selling between fifty and a hundred books a month at that time.  After the giveaway, each volume sold over five hundred copies in May, including the one I had just given away.  Over two thousand books, for over six thousand dollars in royalties.  Cha ching.  So they are still useful, if done properly.

Twitter is a big part of my platform.  And twitter doesn’t work well at all when you’re just starting out.  What I did was join an indie author’s site, Independent Authors Network, and started retweeting the tweets from some of their most followed authors.   Eventually I was tweeting about fifty authors, and when I started to tweet my own books, I was being retweeted to several hundred thousand followers.  And I learned about hashtags, which get your tweets in front of people who are not following you or anyone you know.  Hootsuite was also useful in scheduling tweets around the clock, so I could get my message in front of fans in Australia.

And those are my basic steps for getting some notice.  Some may work well for you, some may not.  Among the strategies that don’t work are paid advertisements.  Among others that work well are volunteering to do essays on other blogs, like this one.  Or, as Kevin J. Anderson says when offered an opportunity that might help, “I can do that.”

11348812_911349812241779_1132617393_nDoug Dandridge Bio:
Doug Dandridge is a Florida native, Army veteran and ex-professional college student who spent way too much time in the halls of academia.  He has worked as a psychotherapist, drug counselor, and, most recently, for the Florida Department of Children and Families.  An early reader of Heinlein, Howard, Moorcock and Asimov, he has always had a love for the fantastic in books, TV and movies.  Doug started submitting science fiction and fantasy in 1997 and collected over four hundred rejection letters.  In Decmeber of 2011 he put his first self-publishing efforts online.  He currently has 26 books on Amazon, with two more due out over the summer.  After a slow 8 month start, he has sold over 125,000 copies of his work in a 33 month period, and his Exodus: Empires at War science fiction series has placed five consecutive books at the number one rank on the Amazon.UK Space Opera and Military Science Fiction lists, and top five on Amazon.US.  He has been published in Kevin J. Anderson’s Five By Five military science fiction anthology, and has been invited to submit to several others.  He quit his day job in March 2013, and has since made a successful career as a self-published author

Marketing on Amazon

A guest post by Jodi McIsaac.

ITFsmallThe world of publishing is changing at whiplash speed, and the company setting the pace is Amazon. As the largest bookseller (with 29% of the market) in a world where more books are now bought online than in brick-and-mortor stores, Amazon is a force to be reckoned with. Fortunately for authors who want to sell books (and who doesn’t?), this is a good thing: Amazon is the #1 place where readers go to buy books, and you, the author, can use that to your advantage.

As traditional publishing houses offer less and less (and often zero) marketing support, it’s never before been more important – or easier – for authors to connect directly to their readers, and to take charge of their own marketing.

But where to start? There are two easy ways to market your books on Amazon. While these tips apply primarily to self-published authors, who have more control over how their books are presented to the world, traditionally-published authors can work with their publishers to use Amazon to their advantage, and find a new and enthusiastic audience for their work.

1. Enroll in KDP Select

If you are self-publishing and using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform (as you should), you have the option of signing up for the KDP Select program. In exchange for agreeing to sell your e-book exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, they will (a) include your book in the Kindle Lending Library, and (b) allow you to give it away for free for up to 5 days during that 90-day period.

Now, the first part is a no-brainer—Amazon Prime users are allowed to download one book a month for free from the Lending Library. The great part is, Amazon pays the authors out of a “global fund” that’s usually around $600,000 a month. That means you might even get paid more when someone borrows your book than when someone buys it. And it’s a great way to reach new readers who will take a chance on your book when it’s free to them. And that brings us to the next point:

What do you mean, they’ll “allow” me to give my book away for free for 5 days? Why would I do that?

For many reasons, actually. Strategically giving your book away is a great way to gain exposure, get more reviews (which in turn drive more sales), and introduce new readers to your work. This plan is especially effective if you have more than one book available—if readers enjoy your free offering, they will often go searching for your other books. It used to be that authors who used KDP Select also saw a big jump in sales in the days and weeks following their free promotion, because Amazon counted the free “sales” as paid sales, which often meant that books landed on the bestseller lists after the free days were finished. But in the past few months Amazon has adjusted their algorithms, so the sales bump isn’t quite so dramatic as it used to be. Nevertheless, it’s a very worthwhile marketing tactic. My book Through the Door was downloaded over 60,000 times in five days when it was enrolled in KDP Select. Many of those readers loved it, told their friends, signed up for my newsletter, and have since pre-ordered the second book in the series.

2. Optimize your metadata

In How to Market Your Book, Joanna Penn says, “You can never sell as many books as Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and the other retailers can sell for you.” This is because those retailers thrive on being useful to their customers—and that means presenting their customers with buying options that they think you’ll like. They do this by means of top-secret algorithms, but there is a way you can make your book stand up and say “Pick me!” It’s called optimizing your metadata.

Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it sounds. “Metadata” is basically everything about your book except for the content itself – the title, description, author bio, reviews, excerpts, table of contents, and keyword data. When you upload a book to Amazon you (or your publisher) have the opportunity to fill in all of these “behind the scenes” fields. This data drives recommendations and placement on Amazon—such as a “what to read next” spot in a promotional email to their customers or a coveted placement on readers’ home pages. Think of it as the equivalent of front-of-store and end cap placement in your local bookstore, except it’s targeted to the people who are most likely to buy your book based on their buying history. Here’s how you do it:

Make sure you are in the right category—which means you need to know your audience and what they are looking for. Readers don’t want to buy a book in the romance category only to discover it’s actually a horror novel. The more specific you can get with your categorization, the better. Is it “fantasy” or “paranormal romance” or “urban fantasy” or “contemporary fantasy”? Yes, there is a difference, and if you can nail that down then your readers will know where to find you. You have the option to pick more than one, just make sure they’re both true. Right now I’m “shelved” in Contemporary Fantasy and Women’s Fiction>Mothers and Children. Both work, because the book is a modern-day fantasy novel about a mother trying to save her child.

Brainstorm keywords that best describe your book. For example, mine might be “Celtic mythology, Ireland, fantasy, gods and goddesses, modern magic.” Then use Google’s free Keyword Search Tool (you’ll need a Google or Gmail account), which will allow you to plug these keywords in and discover which similar terms people are searching for. Choose the words that are searched for most often and most accurately reflect your book, and you’re almost done.

Narrow down your list by comparing what is being searched for on Amazon. Plug your keywords into Amazon’s search bar and see what comes up – are these books similar to yours? If yes, you’ve got your keywords.

Now, use these words in your metadata fields. Use your keywords as often as possible in the metadata categories I listed above (while making them sound natural, of course). The more you can work these keywords into your metadata fields, the easier it will be for Amazon’s algorithms to find it and match it with the right readers.

It’s only a few hours of work, and there’s a big upside: research has shown that simply optimizing your metadata can boost a book’s online sales by up to 28%.

Of course, Amazon is always changing things up—in the publishing industry and on their own website. So it’s important to stay abreast of all the developing marketing opportunities the online retailer provides. But using the KDP Select program and optimizing your metadata are two excellent places to start getting ahead of the curve.

Guest Writer Bio:
Jodi-081 edit1Jodi McIsaac is the author of THROUGH THE DOOR, the first book in the bestselling contemporary fantasy series, The Thin Veil. The second book in the series, INTO THE FIRE, is being released on November 12. Visit Jodi at her website or on Facebook and Twitter.