Archive for August 18th, 2011

Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been focusing on 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Today we’re going to discuss the marketing options available for authors on Amazon.

Love them or hate them, Amazon sells a LOT of books. And while it’s not a perfect system, they do a decent job with free promotional tools for authors. Today we’re going to examine 2 aspects of Amazon’s marketing tools for authors: (1) the Look Inside program, and (2) Amazon’s Author Central.

An astonishing number of authors who sell their books through Amazon are not taking advantage of these tools. Case in point: Even authors of marketing books are not utilizing this feature, as illustrated below. Three of the top five authors in the general topic of marketing do not have the Look Inside feature attached to their books.

One of the laments of the  move toward digital bookselling is the fact that you can’t wander through the store or pick up the book and page through it. I agree! Amazon offers the next best thing with its Look Inside program. Personally, I cannot imagine purchasing a book I have not examined ahead of time, if only to see the Table of Contents, front and back covers, and a sample chapter. It astonishes me that any author would neglect this important piece of marketing.

In order to use the Look Inside feature, an author must first be signed up with Amazon’s Author Central program. It’s pretty simple. Just click the JOIN NOW button and follow the prompts.

First, enter the name under which your book(s) is published.

Next, claim your title(s).

Then you will be directed to a page that allows you to:

  • Update your profile and bibliography
    • Add a photo and biography to an Author Central Profile
    • View and edit our list of your books
  • Add a blog
    • Add a blog you already write using an RSS feed
  • Learn more
    • Enroll your books in Kindle
    • Join Search Inside the Book
    • Become an Amazon Associate

It’s through the link on this page that you sign up for the Look/Search Inside program.

According to Amazon, joining the Look Inside program will do 3 things for you, as an author: 

When shoppers search for books on Amazon.com, Amazon uses the actual words from the text of participating books not just the author, title, and keywords supplied by the publisher to return the best possible results for each search. For matches that come from text inside the book, Amazon also displays a short excerpt and links to the page(s) where the query matched.

Titles you submit to Search Inside are automatically eligible for personalization and merchandising features throughout Amazon. For example, if a customer views a book by another author that uses one of your key terms and later returns to Amazon, he may see a recommendation for your book.

From any book detail page, customers have the opportunity to sample the book using our Look Inside reader. This includes being able to preview sample pages, view a random page or search for a specific reference or character.


  • Do not include dashes in your filename.
  • PDF is text-based (as opposed to image-based)
  • The PDF is free of security (changes, selection, document printing are allowed).
  • All fonts are embedded especially if custom fonts are used.
  • A front cover is provided, either as a bookmark in the PDF or as a separate file (PDF or JPG)
  • The order of pages in the PDF corresponds to the physical book. Each page in the PDF file must correspond to one page in the physical printed book.

A single PDF which includes all required components in a single bookmarked PDF. This will include:

  • The front cover
  • All printed pages
  • In addition to the front cover, Amazon prefers to have a back cover as well. They also would prefer to have the front flap, back flap, and spine, if possible.

Much like Smashwords, the author can determine how much of the book’s interior will be previewed, the least being 10 percent, and increasing in 10 percent increments.


In addition to the Look Inside feature, Amazon also makes a detailed author’s page available to each author. Again, I cannot imagine trying to sell books on Amazon without taking the time to complete this step. It costs you NOTHING but time and a little imagination!

For your effort, you get to include 8 pieces of information:

  1. Author bio
  2. A list of your books
  3. Upcoming events and book signings
  4. Customer discussions – DO THIS!
  5. A link to your blog
  6. Photos from your book and/or topic
  7. Videos, including book trailers and interviews
  8. Your Twitter feed

With all of those benefits available to you that enable you not only to give away a sample of your work, but also to interact with your readers on a one-on-one basis, you can’t afford to skip these marketing steps!

Make sure to check back on Monday when we’ll be talking about how to put your sample chapters on a DVD so that you can give them away for free. 



*Savvy Book Marketer


Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.


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How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing


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