4 Tips for Selling Books on Amazon
By Margo Myers, Margo Myers Communications
Here are 4 tips for selling books on Amazon, especially for authors who use Amazon as a platform to write their books (CreateSpace), and sell their books on the Amazon website. In a recent meeting with Amazon’s Community Outreach Director, Thom Kephart, we talked about the best tips for authors on Amazon.
1. Use the right meta data.
Meta data is the use of your keywords to describe your book, especially if you are selling on Amazon. For example, my book with Karen Lynn Maher is ExpertBook Marketing Made Simple, Publicizing and Promoting Your Book. On the book’s Description page on CreateSpace, you’re allowed to enter 5 different keywords or phrases that describe your book. Use keywords or phrases that people use when searching for your books’ content. For our book, I used the following key phrases:
marketing my book
how do I market my book
publicizing my book
Kephart advises using a keyword that’s in your book’s title, which is why I used ‘marketing.’ He also advises authors to use the same keywords in the description of the book, and in the ‘inside’ of the book. I know it sounds repetitive, but Kephart explains that Amazon’s algorithms are all linked, and this helps move your book up the list in terms of being found. Phrases used within your book show up in the ‘Look Inside’ feature potential customers can click when they are considering buying your book.
2. Know your audience ‘before’ you publish.
Who’s your audience? Who are you writing for? Be specific. Kephart recommends drilling down to identify your ideal client, or book reader. In our case, we aimed our book at professionals and first-time authors who have very little marketing or PR experience, and want to take on promoting their book by themselves. While there is a lot of information for free on the web, our book pulls a variety of information together in one easy guide for the do-it-yourself author based on our experience working with various writers.
3. Connect with your audience — before and after you publish.
Granted, our book came out before we met Kephart, so we didn’t take advantage of this kind of ‘crowdsourcing’ with your audience. However, if you can get feedback from your potential customers ‘before’ you publish, make changes to your content or incorporate their suggestions, you will help make your book that much more valuable to your future customers. They’ll be invested because they helped. Kephart explained how some authors gather information through their websites, and then ask questions through social media – either Facebook or Twitter – for feedback.
For instance, Guy Kawasaki used this method to ‘crowdsource’ writing, and did so with APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, (a much more in-depth tome than our book, if you’re interested). Hugh Howey is the author of the wildly popular WOOL series. Kephart explained that Howey published his books online, and would mention he was going to be in a certain location at a specific time, and anyone who wanted to discuss his books was welcome to show up. They showed. In fact, Kephart says one fan drove 8 hours to talk with Howey. And the crowds grew as Howey held more discussion groups. Talk about WOMM (word of mouth marketing)!
4. Examine your competition.
Know your competition before you publish. What’s going to differentiate you and what you write from your competition? How will you position your book? How will you price it? Will your audience be primarily regional? These are all things to consider (and we mention them in our book) before you publish.
There is no clear-cut path to creating a best-seller on Amazon. Best-selling authors have all used different methods to grow their audiences, and certainly these tips will help sell books.
I’ll be presenting ‘Getting Ready for the Spotlight: How to Prepare for Media Interviews’ at the NW Bookfest on November 2-3 in Kirkland, WA, and would love to see you there.