Showing posts with label Amazon Authors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amazon Authors. Show all posts

Why Authors Should Learn to Love Amazon’s Freebies



Learning to Love Amazon’s Freebies

 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Award-winning writer of fiction and poetry and
author of the multi award-winning 
#HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers



 

 

Even with a publicity background, I stepped in lots of mucky publicity potholes when my first novel was published. Here on the four phases of my disillusionment:

 

  • I thought that hiring a professional was the only way to go—after all I had once been a New York publicist! so it was only natural to suppose that, right?
  • When I realized that book promotion not only offered but that it pretty much demanded processes that were different from the PR I had done professionally, I thought I had to hire one. And due to my frugality, I hated that, but I did it anyway.
  • When I realized I didn’t have to spend money and reclaimed my independence, I fell into shooting publicity bullets at…well, if not really the wrong audience, then certainly not the audience that would buy the most books.
  • I was new at the self-publishing part of my writing life, so I believed the misinformation I was hearing from authors who were determined to avoid Amazon.

 

Of course, I was dead wrong on all accounts. Primarily because when we learn new rules, they always seem so didactic. They leave no middle ground. I had to learn the hard way from each of first three phases. Luckily, I learned quite quickly that if Amazon sells 60% of the world’s books, they couldn’t be all bad even though my author friends loved to hate it.

 

So, I am now an Amazon fan who chooses to skirt the parts that seem antagonistic to a writer’s goals or research them to find why Amazon does those things. Most often, I learn something new (and positive) from that search. It is worth the effort. It is, after all, a great place to find people who read.

 

My favorite Amazon tool is a free KDP feature that lets authors (or publishers) dress up their book’s buy pages with quotes and images. Find the one my publisher did for the third edition of the winningest book in my series for writers, The Frugal Editor from Modern History Press. Self-publishers can do it, too, directly from their magical KDP bookshelf.

 

My second favorite is the profile page Amazon does for authors. It is w-a-ay underused by authors. When your readers use the “follow” icon on your profile page, Amazon pings all of those who followed with announcements of your newest book. The thing is, your readers need to know about the page even if they prefer not to be pestered with frequent emails. They will want to know about each of your new books! It’s free and it works. One of my mottoes is, “For a promotion to work you gotta promote the promotion.” So, here are some reasons to love profile pages and to get one for yourself:

 

  • If you’re self-published, you’re in charge of your own profile page. If you’re under contract to a publisher, you might have to ask them to do it, or give Amazon permission for you to do it for yourself.
  • It’s a great way to reach some of the readers you would otherwise never know about. Amazon never shares the names of people who have looked at your page or purchased your book, but they will share your book with those readers.
  • Amazon is a huge search engine where your book gets more exposure with the key words you or your publisher supplied when they installed your book on this wondrous online bookstore.
  • Every time you participate in one of Amazon’s features—that might be a review you post for your favorite books—your name links back to that page.
  • If you have a series, Amazon now offers a free series page where your new readers can order all the e-book versions of your books with one click. Amazon’s logarithms love that, too, and it helps with Amazon’s searches. (See the next bullet for more on their logarithms!) To see an example, go to mine at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTXQL27T
  • Every time you participate in any Amazon feature—like your profile page—Amazon’s logarithms get a little nudge. With enough nudges, you might be amazed at how much free promotion you’ll get—some of which you’ll never know about until the logarithm is so happy it makes it happen and a friend or reader tells you about it.

 

So take a look at how I installed and fancied my profile page up with a biography. I also importing all my self-published titles from my bookshelf at AuthorCentral bookshelf in addition to traditionally published ones. I made a short, memorable link (no gibberish or codes!) for it. Real words are more memorable—and better marketing—than a string of html. To get people to come (and help ping that logarithm), I put an invitation to follow me there in most of my email signatures. If you haven’t seen one, check mine at https://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.

            

            One thing you should know: Rumor has it that Amazon claims to “own” any writing you post. In my The Frugal Book Promoter I explain that this is misinformation using a quotation directly from Amazon as proof. Authors still maintain rights to use the reviews or anything else they write and put on Amazon. (Amazon may use it, too, but they have never used anything of mine. If they ever should, I will cheer rather than gripe. And, yes, even try to find the person responsible to thank them for the great exposure!

 

MORE ABOUT THE BLOG CONTRIBUTOR


Carolyn Howard-Johnson tries to share something she hopes might save some author from embarrassment (or make the task of writing more fun or creative) with the subscribers and visitors to Karen Cioffi’s Writers on the Move blog each month.

She is the author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally. Series of books for writers including the third edition of its flagship book The Frugal Book Promoter and, more recently, the third edition of The Frugal Editor from Modern History Press. Find both (among her others in that series) on the new Amazon Series page. The new edition of The Frugal Editor book has been fully updated including a new chapter on how backmatter can be extended to help readers and nudge book sales.

 

 

A Tip to Reach a Wider Market on Amazon

 

Costa Rica is a bird-watcher's paradise.
The touconette is the most exciting bird we saw on our trip.
By Linda Wilson @LinWilsonauthor

Is your book for sale on Amazon? If so, in your Author Profile have you added your biography in different languages? On a recent trip to Costa Rica, I learned how to use a language translator on Google. I tried it for my profile page and it worked. Here’s how:

  • Go to the edit function for your Author Profile page in Author Central.
  • My bio was outdated, so I spruced it up.
  • Find “Your biographies,” where it says, “Do you have translations of your biography in other languages? You can add other versions of your biography here, so your readers can get to know you—wherever they are.” 
  • Languages offered are: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. 
  • Copy your bio. 
  • Go to Google. I typed in “Spanish translator.” 
  • On the left side, plug in your bio in English. 
  • On the right side, choose the language you want to translate, and paste in your English bio. 
  • VoilĂ ! You have your translation. 
  • Go back to your Author Profile page, click the green button that asks for your bio in another language, and paste your new bio in. Click Review, then Publish. 
  • If you’re not able to paste the translation directly from Google, paste it into a Word document, and copy and paste from there. 
  • A message will tell you when your bio in another language will go live.Then for fun, go to the drop-down menu and button that allows you to see how your Author Page looks in an assortment of other countries.

 Anyone who would like to share more tips on how to reach markets outside of the U.S., your comment would be greatly appreciated.

 Bonne chance! Buena suerta! Buona fortuna!

Photo credit: Linda Wilson

Sketch by Nancy Batra,
illustrator of A Packrat's Holiday:
Thistletoe's Gift,

for the cover of  Waddles the Duck:
Hey, Wait for Me!

Coming Soon!

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

Tweetable:

https://www.writersonthemove.com/2022/01/a-tip-to-reach-wider-market-on-amazon.html 

How Authors Can Learn to Love Amazon


 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 2021,  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, but not paper books. Removing paper books interferes with their second market feature.
4. To fix or update metadata.
5. To get blatantly biases 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 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 the Writers on the Move.
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 (http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII), 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 (http://bit.ly/LastMinuteEditsII) and The Great First Impression Book Proposal (http://bit.ly/BookProposalsII) are career boosters in mini doses and both make ideal thank you gifts for authors.  

Carolyn also has frugal books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it helps them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings, literally gives authors ideas on how to approach independent retails (including bookstores). 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). 

Carolyn contributes to this blog regularly and  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.




Goodreads Participation Helps Amazon Best-Selling Authors


Contributed by Carolyn Wilhelm

 Dublin author Clare O'Beara writes award-winning mysteries, quarantine lit, science-fiction, multicultural children's novels, as well as horse books. O'Beara likes to share a slice of her life and inspirations with other writers. As a past show-jumping champion in Ireland, tree surgeon, member of MENSA, World-Con volunteer, and journalism student, she comes by her knowledge with a depth of experience. She is an example of leveraging Goodreads to a writer's advantage. She credits the platform with some of her book success. 

O'Beara suggests getting involved in Goodreads Groups, which should reflect an author's genuine interests, like horses in her case or green (environmental) matters. If an author joins Groups, which are about promoting books, he or she will come across as 'all about me.'

O'Beara also writes a monthly column on Goodreads, such as her post about Ireland's Octocon. First, an author page on Goodreads is required, which has to be completed by the author. So many authors have not completed their free Goodreads author pages. Writers must then select to enter their blog feeds or could write posts on the site. While the post text area is tiny, pulling the corner out will provide a larger space to allow a lengthy article.

Of course, blog posts alone are not enough; O'Beara advises authors to read books, rate, and review them on the site. Reviewing helps other authors as well as potential readers of those books, so the author comes across as the keen book lover they are, and not just about him or herself.

Goodreads offers book lists, as well. Lists may be reviewed by authors who might include one or more of their books. Goodreads won't let you add your own books to any lists, but it's always nice to find someone else has added them. For instance, YA New Releases for October 2020 might grab your attention. Goodreads offers some tips at the top of lists, such as to double-check the book's release dates make sure that they are classified as correctly. If you see a book that doesn't fit that description, you may comment. The Goodreads librarians will check comments from time to time. 


Be sure to check favorite genres from the pop-up menu under your photo to select which to follow. Goodreads will choose for a writer, otherwise, and it might not be correct. If a person has been on Goodreads for a while and not checked on genres, it is a good idea to edit those choices, perhaps. Shelving read books can be individualized by naming shelves according to what an author wants.

Authors without Goodreads author pages are advised to set one up. If you are wondering how here is the information. (https://help.goodreads.com/s/article/How-do-I-start-a-blog-on-my-author-profile-1553870941102) Authors who already have such pages are advised to make use of the opportunity.


Carolyn Wilhelm
is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY.

 

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