Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Increase your exposure: Buy your own book on Amazon!

My longest-term client publishes a holistic health newspaper, known online as Natural Healing News. One of the most significant features of the paper, known in print as AZ Networking News, has been its bimonthly publication of book and movie reviews. The books my client receives from authors all over the world run the gamut from very badly self-published editions to gorgeous hardback books from larger players in the traditional publishing world – and everything in between. It was a natural fit for her to create an online bookstore through which to offer links to the books’ Amazon pages.

As we were uploading the articles for the August/September 2015 issue of the newspaper to the website earlier this week – and creating Amazon links for the books and music – I was reminded of a very simple, yet potentially effective marketing idea I learned from my friend and promoter extraordinaire, Raleigh Pinsky.

Q What happens whenever you look at a book – or purchase a book – on Amazon?secrets - new

AYou are shown a string of other titles under the heading: “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.”

Just for demonstration purposes, I searched for one of the best books I’ve ever read, Secrets of Attraction, by Sandra Anne Taylor. As soon as I clicked the title link, I scrolled down a little to reveal the following:

also bought

You’ll likely notice something about the books: they’re all very similar in theme to the book in my original search.

Assuming your book is on Amazon – and I COMPLETELY understand if it is not – next time you purchase a book (or other product) on Amazon, buy a copy of your own book, too. That way, the next time someone even looks at the book you bought, they’ll see your book come up under: Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought. This has the potential to expose your book to people who might not be seeking it, but might have an interest. And depending on your contract with Amazon, if they buy your book you’ll probably get something back on the deal.

Here’s to getting more eyeballs on your book!



ANSWERS to Tuesday’s Trivia Questions

In Tuesday’s post, Word Trivia: Which Author Coined Which Word?, I promised to post the answers to the trivia question today. Without further ado, I give you…

1.      William Shakespeare is said to have first written bedazzled in The Taming of trivia answersthe Shrew.

2.      Ernest Hemingway is credited with the first English use of cajones.

3.      John Milton gave us pandemonium, the capital of Hell in Paradise Lost.

4.      Sir Walter Scott first used freelance in Ivanhoe.


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__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

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The time is ripe for a REAL competitor to Amazon

If  you’re in the publishing industry – even as a self-publisher – you’d be foolish to ignore the coming wave of eBooks. But it’s far too soon to speak of the demise of printed books. Nevertheless, this is an interesting piece from the Irish Times about shifts in the industry.

up market

Personally, I agree with Donna Tartt, Stephen King, and Malcolm Gladwell that Amazon does more to harm authors – and books – than it does to preserve the integrity of the publishing arena. Jeff Bezos makes no secret of the fact that he is in it for the money, and he’s counting on people to keep buying based on price and convenience. I wouldn’t argue that point, but here are two other things to consider:

(1) The consumer market is broad. In spite of all the damage it has done (and continues to do) to our economy and the American middle class, Walmart continues to attract loyal customers who wouldn’t dream of shopping elsewhere – largely because of the store’s willingness to be the “low price leader.” But when it comes to marketing most goods and services, being the low-price leader is not usually a good way to compete. Walmart succeeds because they have such a large market share. But guess who’s still in business, too? Lord & Taylor, Sachs, Nordstrom and lots of other up-market retailers. Likewise, there are consumers out there who are willing to pay more to support authors who are producing high-quality books!

(2) Circumstances are ripe for another smaller player (or several others) to come in and take a significant share of the online book market. Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, chances are you’ve heard of the Samuel Adams brand. Did you know that Sam Adams has just 1 PERCENT of the beer market? As I continue to speak and work and consult in the self-publishing field, I’m shifting my purchases and promotions to Powell’s Books and Barnes & Noble as my own small way of working to level the playing field even slightly. We DON’T HAVE TO give all our business to Amazon. We’ve just become conditioned to do so.

That said, Amazon is right now still a huge player, and self-publishers who ignore it may do so to their peril. But tread lightly, and not without being fully informed! READ all the fine print before listing your book with Amazon or signing up for KDP Select. And have a fallback plan; don’t put all your publishing eggs in the Amazon basket. This is a case where the fox most definitely rules the proverbial chicken coop.

Here’s to a being an informed self-publisher and consumer!



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Amazon has hit a new low in punishing successful authors

I first learned of this story from Ruth Ann Nordin at Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors.

Then I read the first-hand account from Jamie McGuire about her situation with Amazon.

The capsule version is that Jamie McGuire was successful enough with her book, Beautiful Disaster, that a publisher picked it up. Now, Amazon is offering to issue everyone who originally bought the self-published version from them a refund PLUS the $7 difference in price for the new version with the publisher (seemingly to punish McGuire from bailing on Amazon), but Amazon is debiting McGuire’s account to pay the refunds.

Please read McGuire’s full first-hand account to be sure you understand all the nuances and details.

I have long defended Amazon when other authors were railing against them for one thing or another, but this is simply EVIL! If McGuire’s account is true and accurate (and I have no reason to believe it’s not), we absolutely must band together to support each other so that this WRONGwrongWRONG practice does not gain momentum or support.

stop amazon



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CreateSpace pluses seem to outweigh the minuses

I first heard about CreateSpace about 3 years ago from a very savvy Web marketer friend. Acquired by Amazon.com in 2005, the company (formerly CustomFlix) was at the time an  on-demand DVD distributor. Since then, CreateSpace has expanded to become highly competitive in the production of on-demand books, CDs, and video.

Having had two clients who published back-to-back books, one through Lightning Source and the other through CreateSpace, I was sorely disappointed with the quality of the Lightning Source book and pleasantly surprised that CreateSpace exceeded all my expectations. I have subsequently listed my own title through them, and things seem to be going quite well.

A couple weeks ago, Marcie began a series called “5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing” one of those ways was taking advantage of the general tools offered by Amazon. As an Amazon company, it’s no surprise that CreateSpace also offers lots of useful tools for its authors. After its core POD service and access to distribution channels, perhaps its greatest asset is the CreateSpace Community, which offers lots of help for authors from both staff and other authors. The sheer numbers participating on the discussion streams indicates a lot of activity taking place here.

On the other hand, if a CreateSpace rep tries to sell you on their marketing tools, RUN!!! The CreateSpace marketing options are largely a scam, nothing more than a money-making machine for the company that will cost you as much as 20 TIMES MORE than you could be paying for the exact same products/services elsewhere.

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.

So, on the whole, CreateSpace’s author services get a thumbs-up, while their marketing tools get a big raspberry and a giant thumbs-down.

While I never recommend that you shop solely on price, when it comes to spending money to get your book written, published, printed, and into the marketplace, be a truly Savvy Book Marketer and remember to do your research! These are some of the players you may need on your team, so do a good scouting job!

  • Editor
  • Book designer
  • Typesetter
  • Proofreader
  • Printer
  • Distributor
  • Social media strategist
  • Book trailer expert
  • Web designer
  • Print collateral (bookmarks, postcards, etc.)

Get references, compare notes, and make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

Happy marketing…



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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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If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.



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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