You’ve created a powerful book with an eye-grabbing cover, an attention-arresting title and an intriguing description. People can “Look Inside” and you’ve carefully priced it and placed it within your best Amazon category.
You know your audience, inside out. But this is no “Field of Dreams”. You’ve built it – but now you have to actively and proactively let them know your Amazon book is ready and waiting to become the next best seller.
It’s important to realize there is no specific “best” way to promote your book – just a handful of best ways for your particular audience.
These ideas should help you come up with a winning formula all your own.
Proof your eBook thoroughly – before and after formatting.
You want the professional aura you’ve built up to continue – not break down – when people finally access your book. And “proofing” doesn’t just mean a quick read-through. It means checking for:
• Spelling mistakes
• Syntax and grammar
• Image placement
Be sure to include a “Look Inside” sample of your book’s contents.
You can learn more about this in Amazon’s Help section. It is fairly sparse, so if you have specific questions, scroll down to the very bottom of that page and click the tiny “Contact Us” link. (In spite of being hard to find, Amazon’s support team is very helpful with simple questions.)
Make a Marketing Plan.
Don’t just leave it to chance. Choose your methods with your target reader and the platforms she uses in mind. Make a plan for:
Pre-launch – getting reviews and feedback; tweaking anything that needs to be edited
Launch – Plan to build up excitement and do your best to make your book launch news go viral
Post-launch – Don’t just let your book sit there, once the initial excitement has waned. Plan promotions throughout the year and take full advantage of your five give-the-book-away-for-free days, if you’ve enrolled in KDP Select.
Tie promotions in with seasonal holidays, if appropriate.
Educate your audience about Kindle’s Cloud Reader.
Many people ignore Kindle because they don’t own a device – and they don’t realize they can still download eBooks and read them right in their own browsers and other devices through the free Kindle Cloud Reader app and desktop program.
Write a “How to get it” post on your blog
Upload a “How to get it” video on YouTube
(Remember to include a link to your book in your signature, sidebar, ad, link, description or anywhere else you can put it in a way that feels logical and natural.)
Research and contact top Amazon reviewers.
Amazon will rank your book based on the volume of downloads your book gets as well as the amount of reviews stacked on your book’s review page. The system is designed to take notice of the books that are getting lots of reviews. Amazon has a list of the top reviewers that you can check out. You will probably have to do some digging as many reviewers are removing email addresses and other contact information due to spam and the quantity of requests to read books they get.
You can also ask people who just finished reading your book to leave a review.
Submit your book to review sites
There are a few sites out there that can help find reviewers for you. NEVER PAY FOR A REVIEW. This goes against Amazon policy. There is a difference between having a paid subscription at a site that helps you find readers to review your book and paying a person directly for a review – whether they read the book or not. Sites like The Kindle Book Review and Rainbow Book Review are good places to start.
Familiarize yourself with Amazon link permissions.
Taking advantage of the link permissions will allow you to use Amazon trademarks or logos on other websites (such as your own). If your book is on Kindle, be sure to follow the Kindle brand use tagging and framing guidelines.
(NOTE: You cannot include a link to your site in your Description!)
Sign up for the Amazon Associates program and provide affiliate links to your book on your website.
You can include customized Text Links, Text-and-Image links, and “Image Only” links to your books under the affiliate links. The Amazon Associates page provides tools to get you started: Adds Amazon: “We’ve provided links to Kindle devices and to best sellers in Kindle books and accessories to help get you started”. You can sign up for the Amazon Associates program here.
Create a hashtag for your book or book launch.
Register it with Hashtags.org. You can even create a Twitter Party about it, if you already have fans or a list.
Create a contest.
Amazon allows you to gift your book for five days out of every 90 days. This is a great way to get your book out there. Be careful of doing this too often of course.
Create a YouTube video.
You can talk about your book on camera, or put together a presentation of slides from your book, a sound track, images that boost your message.
Make it short and with impact. (You can also demonstrate one point or method or tip from your book.) Remember to include a link to your book both in the video description and at the end of the video.
(You can also upload a slide presentation to SlideShare.)
Create a Google Hangout on Air.
This live-streaming video will be automatically recorded on YouTube. Do this, not on your book, but on the topic your book deals with.
For example, say your book is about surviving the terrible twos while working at home: Invite up to ten work-at-home moms you know who have experienced children going through the terrible twos stage and invite them to share their stories. (Be sure to include a link to your book in your YouTube recording description; and at least at the end of your video.)
Follow Digital authority blogs and directories.
Sites like Digital Book Today provide valuable tips about promotion, as well information about contests and award opportunities. (And whatever you do, don’t miss checking out the Author Marketing Club.)
Don’t neglect your local market.
Send out press releases, presenting your book release as a “Human Interest” story rather than a blowing-your-own-horn story. (E.G.: “When Verna Cular rescued a drowning bee two years ago, she didn’t realize that it would lead to producing award-winning local honey – entirely produced from her wild rose garden.”)
If your book is printed, send a review copy of your book to your local and nearest “big city” arts and entertainment editors. (Check to see if there is a particular person in charge of book reviews.)
Send it to your local librarian and other key people in your niche.
Offer to do a book signing for your local independent bookseller, if you can convince them to carry your book.
Or give a (niche-related) workshop at your local library
You can do this even if yours is a kindle book – but it works better if you have copies of physical books
Start a genre group on Goodreads.
Goodreads allows authors to create groups. Start one, not for your book, but for your genre or industry.
Send invitations to list member and on your social networks. (Ask others to share the news.)
Create a Facebook Author Page for your book.
Not only can you build a community and get a buzz going with your Facebook Page, you can also use it to display third-party app tabs leading to:
• Sample chapters
Treat it as a “customer service” site, no matter what your book topic. Answer questions about becoming an author; answer questions about your niche topic; and remember to acknowledge and thank people for interactions as you check in daily to keep your community well-nourished and happy.
Keep your book updated.
A book is a live entity. Don’t be afraid to put out a second, third, fourth edition or more, as long as your book keeps selling. This will most likely apply if yours is a textbook or deals with changing technology or social habits. Not only will people appreciate updated information, your diligence will build trust, as well as give you the opportunity to run new promotions around the new edition – and attract new readers.
Don’t use promotional stickers on your book covers!
By “promotional stickers”, we mean banners running across your Cover Photo with a “deal” or price emblazoned on; or starbursts containing pricing or promotional information. It doesn’t matter how well these stickers “work”: Amazon doesn’t like them, and your book will suffer if you use them.
Upload a presentation to SlideShare
This is another often neglected method of promoting your book. Build the slide show around your best keywords, and even include quotes and slides from your book, always keeping the focus on the topic – not on your book.
Finish off with an invitation to check out your book (include your Amazon link directly.)
Learn from your mistakes.
Even the best marketers make mistakes in promoting their books, so it’s not the end of the world. If one promotion fails, build another – and congratulate yourself on learning what not to do next time. (Check out Common but Painful Kindle Publishing Mistakes to Avoid that Cost you Money at Nicoleonthenet.com to learn which mistakes nine top marketers admitted to.)
But the best promotion methods are the ones you dream up yourself.
Next time I’ll Let you in on the “secret” to having a fantastic launch team and a few resources to help you start your Amazon Author career.
Have you launched a book through Amazon? What type of experiences did you have? Drop it in the comments!