Amazon.com is the world’s largest online retailer. The site receives 65 million visitors each month. While some people don’t like Amazon.com’s control of the book marketplace, there is no denying the fact that this site forever altered how people buy and sell books.
I once heard an interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. In the interview he shared his vision of making Amazon.com the Wal-Mart of books, where people could go to buy books at a great price, 365 days per year. It seems as if Bezos’ vision has been realized. Many of us buy all our books from Amazon or its digital arm, Kindle. The last book I purchased at a physical book store was at an airport when I was stranded by a flight delay and did not have my Kindle with me. Can you remember the last time you purchased a book at a store?
While I hate to see the demise of so many independent bookstores, as an author and publisher, I must embrace and celebrate the potential of Amazon.com for my books.
Amazon’s business model is to encourage readers to purchase lots of books, knowing that the books will be sold at a discount price. To that end, Amazon provides several tools to encourage book sales. The great thing is that all these tools are free for authors. Amazon leaders realize that by providing free tools to authors, they will sell more books so everyone wins. The only wrinkle is that finding these tools on Amazon.com is a little tricky. After you finish this article, you’ll know exactly where to find them.
Opportunity #1- Optimize your book listing with key words. When you or your publisher lists your book on Amazon or Kindle, you can submit a description of the book. This description may contain up to 4000 characters describing your book and why readers will enjoy it.
If you have done some simple key word research and know the primary search terms for the topics covered your book, you can include those key words in your book description. For example, if you were writing a book for parents of teenagers and discussed the topics of peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse, dating, and fostering responsibility, you may use the key words: parents, teens, teenagers, drugs, drinking, dating, bullying, and high school in your description. In that way, when a reader places any of those terms in the Amazon search tool, your book will come up.
Opportunity #2- Use Author Central. After your book is listed on Amazon or Kindle, you are eligible for a free account at Amazon Author Central. Author Central allows you to correct or change your book description on Amazon, add your photo and author biography, link your blog’s RSS feed and Twitter accounts to your listings on Amazon and set up discussions with readers. You can also add video, update your list of publications on Amazon and join the Search Inside the Book program.
To set up your Author Central account, go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/. You’ll be asked for your Amazon.com book buyer user name and password and then be able to set up your account. Once your account is created, you can follow the simple prompts to upload materials and use the other features.
Opportunity #3- Set up a Personal Profile and Post Reviews. A personal profile is a related to you as a book buyer, not an author. When you first log in to Amazon to look at books, on the far left you’ll see your name’s Amazon.com. Mine reads Lynne’s Amazon.com. Click there and you’ll see a blue tab at the top of the page that reads “My Profile”. Click on that tab and use the edit function to add your photo, biography, and website.
The important things to list on your personal profile are your name, website, photo, and signature. Your signature is like a tag line that shows up after your name when you post reviews on Amazon. Mine reads “Lynne Klippel, Book Strategist and Publisher”. This is a good opportunity for you to do a subtle advertisement of your business and web address.
Once your personal profile is set up, you can post reviews of books you’ve read. When you go, your name and signature will appear on each review. It’s wise to post reviews of the books you’ve read. It will get your name appearing on Amazon.com more frequently and it is good karma. Since you want many glowing reviews for your books, why not give reviews as often as possible?
Opportunity #4- Use the Look Inside Your Book Feature. This feature will allow book buyers to browse and sample a few pages of your print on Kindle book.
Many publisher will set this up for you, but if you have self-published or your publisher did not add this feature to your book listing on Amazon, you can follow this link http://amzn.to/df5IEw , to enroll in your book in the Look Inside program. Amazon’s research suggests that this feature both increases book sales and helps book buyers find your book more easily when they search on Amazon.
These 4 opportunities are free, fast, easy to set up, and don’t require much effort on your part after the initial registration. Fast, easy, free, and time saving….what more could a busy author like you want?