Showing posts with label book promotion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book promotion. 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.

 

 

No Need To Worry About Amazon's Kindle Prime Lending Program

How Is Kindle's Lending Program Kin to Libaries'?

What Might Ann Landers Say About
Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program



By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I often use a “Q&A a la Ann Landers” format for my SharingwithWriters newsletter. I became a regular reader of her columns when I started my first job in journalism and part of my duties were to make her column fit the “society page” layout. In other words, it was an edit-to-fit task. No way would I interfere with her copy! Gasp! I cringed every time I had to delete something, but I learned much from her—about life and about editing! I am still hearing from readers of my books who don’t quite understand how the concept of borrowing a book benefits their marketing campaign.

QUESTION:

How do you feel about the free borrowing feature offered by Amazon to their Prime members for their Kindle books?

ANSWER:
I don't think any of us would have objected to library lending back in the days before Kindle. Yes, there are some differences—not least of which is that libraries bought the books they lent. But benefits of lending programs still exist—whether we’re talking library or Kindle's lending or online Peek-Inside features.
Here are some of them:
 

  Libraries buy books for their shelves, too. An e-book that does well in a library may also be considered for their system wide purchases. That can be quite a Ka-Ching for books so chosen by large library systems. Sometimes 50 books or more. Online entities logarithms might reward oft-read books with more exposure.

  Amazon provides a stipend from their huge KDP Select global Fund when customers read their books from the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It’s based on how many pages the reader actually turns (or reads). Amazon announce the amount to money that goes into that fun regularly.

  Loaned books allow people who can’t afford a book (or won’t spend the money) to read them. Most authors want their books read. Great readership can create sales greater momentum in a still wider world of readers.

The same concept applies to readership in general—purchased, lent, or borrowed—that will likely increase the buzz about a book which results in more sales.

  Activity on book lending gets noticed by Amazon’s algorithms. The more action you have on you Amazon account, the more likely Amazon’s logarithms will be to peg your book for additional exposure.

There is another big advantage. If your book is available to borrow on Amazon's Prime program, reviewers are often just as happy accessing your book that way instead of having you send a hardcopy to them. That's saves time and money for the author or publisher. In fact, that is one of the tips I give in one of the books in my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.  It is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.
 
One last thing: Borrowing of any kind over paper that also must be shipped minimizes your carbon footprint. That’s important for authors who are also greenies.
 

More About Today's Author:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoIhttps://howtodoitfrugally.com/tFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
The author loves to travel. She has visited nearly 100 countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is https://howtodoitfrugally.com.

PS: The typewriter featured in this article is the very one Carolyn used for personal projects back in the day she was trimming Ann Landers' columns to fit what people then called the "Society" page of the newspaper she worked for.

 

 

 

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