Showing posts with label book marketing Amazon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book marketing Amazon. Show all posts

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"ME: "I understand I can't have the first edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter removed from Amazon even though it's outdated—by about a decade—but that I can add a new widget to that page to direct my readers to the new one."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.

 


 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Let's Focus on Building Writing Careers

It Isn't About Book Sales: It's About Career Building  By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Adapted from the multi award-winning  flagship book in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of
books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter, Third Edition

In a writer's world sharing is sometimes as important as the creative aspect of building a book. The trouble is sharing—for many—translates into selling books. Of course, most of us want to do that, but we tend to lose sight of the fact that we will eventually sell a whole lot more books and, in doing so, share with a whole lot more people, if we concentrate on building our careers. Indeed, for some authors with nonfiction books based on their businesses and professions, the whole purpose of the book is to increase credibility and exposure for themselves and careers. For them, their book may be all about their careers, but in that journey they may neglect how important it is for that book to reflect their professionalism at all levels.

What many authors think of when they think of book sales is the kind of hardsell that most would rather eschew. When they decide to do it anyway because they know they should, they may skip learning something about marketing first and their efforts backfire on them. I have a motto: “Never say, ‘Buy my book.’” Keep reading for better ways to market your book and yourself.

Here's the surprise for most everyone but those who have already studied a bit about marketing. Marketing—marketing anything—isn't about selling. Marketing is about knowing your audience and doing stuff that will attract more of a similar demographic. Marketing a book is about finding the people who will benefit and appreciate what the author has to share and then letting those people know how they will benefit (or avoid problems) by reading it. Doing that requires a lot of writing along the way and that's what we do. There is real pleasure in seeing our marketing efforts succeed and seeing our careers build as we do more of it and learn more about it. Here are some ideas of giving-sharing kinds of marketing from the flagship book in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter. Each may be used as a part of a launch campaign or to nudge exposure for books that have been around a while.

§  Meet new readers by running a contest on your website, on Twitter, or in your newsletter. Use your books for prizes or get cross-promotion benefits by asking other authors to share their books; many will donate one to you in trade for the exposure. Watch the 99 Cent Stores for suitable favors to go with them.


Hint: Any promotion you do including a contest is more powerful when you call on your friends to tell their blog visitors or Facebook pals about it.

Barter your books or your services for exposure on other authors’ websites. Other authors tend to understand your need to build your career and to sell your books. You'll make long lasting friends doing it.

Offer classes in writing to your local high school, college, or library system. Students can become valued friends and fellow writers. Publicizing the classes is easy and free and helps build your author-name recognition. When appropriate, use your own book as suggested reading. Use your teaching experience in your media kit to show you have presentation skills.

Send notes to your friends and readers asking them to recommend your book to others. Or offer them a perk like free shipping, gift wrap, or small gift if they purchase your book for a friend. That’s an ideal way to use those contact lists—the ones I show you how to build in The Frugal Book Promoter—and to let personal friends share in your exciting publishing adventure.

Some of your reviews (both others’ reviews of your book and reviews you’ve written about others’ books) can be networking experiences. Read that word "networking" as "making friends who want to work with you." Check the submission guidelines for the free review service blog I started to help fellow authors extend the life of their favorite reviews. It's at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. There are several review-related opportunities in the tabs at the top of the home page.

Connect and reconnect. Subscribe to new blogs and newsletters to get new ideas, new opinions. Start reading the ones you once subscribed to again. Join a writers’ group or organization related to the subject of your book. Offer to help them with guest articles and blogs. Enter their contests. Communicate on their forums.

When you ship signed copies of your book, include a coupon for the purchase of another copy for a friend—signed and dedicated—or for one of your other books. Some distributors insert fliers or coupons into your books when they ship them for a small fee.
   
Adjust the idea above to a cross-promotional effort with a friend who writes in the same genre as you. She puts a coupon for your book in her shipments; you do the same for her in yours.
   
Be sure your book’s Amazon buy page amplifies the effects of its logarithms and utilizes the benefits they offer through AuthorCentral (also called AuthorConnect).
   
Explore the opportunities for speaking on cruise ships. Many have cut back on the number of speakers they use, but your area of expertise may be perfect for one of them. I tried it, but found ship politics a drawback. Still many authors like Allyn Evans who holds top honors in Toastmasters and Erica Miner have used these venues successfully. Do know, however, that you need a knockout platform including speaking credits.
  
I call reviews forever-reviews because they hang around forever on the web. And because they are forever useful on their own or repurposed as endorsements—yep, even when a book is aging. In fact, I think they are so important to your career that I wrote an entire book on how to get them, how to manage them on places like Amazon, and how to utilize them…well, forever. It is, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson has been promoting her own books and helping clients promote theirs for more than a decade. Her marketing plan for the second book in the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success won the Next Generation Millennium Award for Marketing. The just-released third edition of The Frugal Book Promoter, published by Modern History Press, is New! Expanded! Updated! Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction books have been honored by the likes of Writer’s Digest, USA Book News Award, the Irwin award, Dan Poynter’s Global Ebook Awards and more. Learn more about Carolyn and her books of fiction and poetry. Each of them helped her learn more about maximizing marketing efforts for different writers, different titles. Learn more at www.howtodoitfrugally.com and http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.




One Last Edit: Re-think before Submitting

Think of a story as a string of pearls. If you don't have a string, you can't put the pearls around your neck.                      ...