Saturday, February 5, 2022

Learning to Love What Amazon Can Do for Authors

 


How Authors Can Use Public Relations Principles to Work with Amazon

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning
HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers


I get ideas about stuff to talk about in unexpected places. I assume that is not unique to my writing experience, but today something popped up in Facebook Memories feature I just couldn't resist passing along to my blogger friends. I think the major lesson to me (and from me! Ha!)  is that we can love to hate Amazon and other entities all we want, but it's more useful to our writing careers--both successes and enjoyment of them--if we don't listen to all the rumors of entities in the publishing world and find out for ourselves. In this case it is Amazon, but I constantly run into experiences even after decades of writing experience in several different disciplines (journalism, PR, marketing, blogging, and publishing in a variety of genres, etc.) that nudge me away from all the griping we hear on the web and elsewhere and onto doing what the basics of good marketing departments at great universities tell us to do. That is, make friends, network, and explore new possibilities.
 
Sooo, I had heard from several fairly reliable sources that Amazon wouldn't remove old editions of a book from their sales pages but decided to try one more time using the email feature at their Author Central to reach someone to ask for help. Here is my experience as posted on Facebook way back then--in probably about 2011.
 
"I just had the nicest telephone conversation with Amazon's Author Central. I had worked for two years trying to get the old edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon via e-mail (I thought it would make it easier if they had all the ISBNs, etc in writing! Silly me! And, I admit to hating confrontation and avoiding it like the plague! )
 
"So the conversation goes like this:
 
"ME: "I understand I can't have the first edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon even though it's outdated—by about a decade—but that I can add a new widget to that page to direct my readers to the new one."
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL (At Amazon!):  "I'd be happy to do that for you."
 
"ME: Some chitchat including thank yous as she works. Then some magic words! "Too bad we can't just hide the old edition and get all 128 of the old reviews transferred to the multi award-winning second edition!" (Were "multi award-winning" the magic words?"
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL: "Oh, we can do that!" Typing noises. "It may take 72 hours for that to happen but it's done."
 
"ME: "Really?"
 
"DANA THE WONDERFUL: "Really."
 
"ME: Happy Dance. Huge Thank yous.
 
"Note: It obviously is worth the time waiting for a real person on the Author Connect (Author Central)  hotline!  Wish I had a recording of the conversation for you!"
 
Here's a disclaimer.  This is 2022,  NOT 2011. Amazon changes policies all the time as needed (or as they think are needed--I have seen them change back again). So if you are having this particular problem, try my method. But the real point of this post is to try it no matter what it is you want or need. In the past, I have had them...
 
1. Add several widgets to point to several of my books that were published in later editions.


2. To move reviews from earlier editions to later editions.


3. To remove early editions of e-books from Amazon completely. (I didn’t have any luck with getting them to remove outdated but paper books, presumably because removing paper books interferes with their second market (used books) feature.


4. To fix or update metadata.


5. To get blatantly biased reviews removed. Amazon doesn't like this either and is working mightily to avoid it. There are all kinds of scammy approaches to reviews. In fact, I wrote a big, fat how-to book on reviews that includes a case study of sorts on the topic of Amazon vs. Scammy reviews. We don't like to believe it, but there are actually fellow writers out there with an agenda and somehow believe that dissing their competition's books will be good for their own. It is the third in my multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers,  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically at  https://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews.


6. It seems they have recently changed a wonderful feature they had where #authors and #publishers could add all kinds of helpful information to their buy page—everything from professional reviews to notes from the author. I told you they change all the time, but keep checking. Better still, keep asking. You might even run into my "Dana the Wonderful!"
 
 
MORE ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

 

Howard-Johnson is the multi award-wining author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter, now offered by Modern History Press in its third edition. Carolyn's latest is in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. She has two booklets in the #HowToDoItFrugally Series, both in their second editions from Modern History Press. Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers and The Great First Impression Book Proposal are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors. The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, is the winningest book in the series. Carolyn also has three frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques http://bit.ly/RetailersGuide). In addition to this blog, Karen Cioffi’s WritersOnTheMove, Carolyn helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com). Learn more and follow for news on her new releases direct from Amazon: http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

 


 

3 comments:

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, this is such great advice on how to deal with Amazon as an author. I have an old version of How to Write a Children's Fiction Book (with a different title) that I'll have to contact them about. I'd love it off of my Amazon Author Page. Thanks for the tips!

Terry Whalin said...

Carolyn

Amazon is a huge player in the book market and authors need to take action on these tips. Thank you. Some publishers say that 50% of their sales are on Amazon.

Terry

deborah lyn said...

Great tips and experience, Carolyn! Thank you.
All writers need Amazon coaching.

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