In this day and age, neither traditionally published nor self-published authors can afford to ignore Amazon. Since its inception, the online superstore has become the No. 1 seller of books in the world. Reports indicate that the online retailer generates approximately two-thirds of the global e-book sales. What this means is that authors and publishers alike need to focus the bulk of their digital marketing efforts toward increasing their visibility on Amazon’s website.
According to Jon Fine, who spoke at a recent Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference, there are three things that authors can do to boost their Amazon ebook sales.
Get your book on Amazon
The most obvious trick to boosting ebook sales is making your book available via Amazon, but posting your book to the site is not enough. You also have to make sure your Author Central page looks professional and is full of interesting information for your readers. Remember, not only does your Author Central page help readers find more books you have written, but also provides you with the perfect platform to promote:
- Your blog
- Upcoming events
- Your preferred social media channels
- Pictures and videos you feel will appeal to your readers
Ideally, you should establish your Author Central page several days prior to releasing your first book. It can take a few days for Amazon to verify the information so your page can go live.
The most important thing that appears on the Amazon Author Central page is the list of your book. Anyone who has found one of the books you have written and loves it will use this list to purchase more titles you have created. You are free to sort your books by how well they have sold, relevance (determined by Amazon) and publication date.
As the author, it is your responsibility to routinely check your Author Central page and make sure that your book listing is complete and all the links work.
As soon as you have made one of your books available for pre-order, add it to your Author Central page.
Do not overlook metadata
Before e-books took the world by storm, publishers focused a great deal of time and resources into making sure each book they released appealed to the general public, these efforts included:
- Creating an appealing cover
- Drafting synopsis and book jacket blurbs
- Creating compelling author information
As e-book sales outpaced physical book sales, many authors stopped focusing on creating metadata for each of their titles and turned their attention toward writing as many books as they possibly could during the course of a single year. As an author, it is important to understand that metadata is a critical part of your digital marketing program. Good metadata leads to an increase in Amazon book sales.
The most important piece of metadata you pair with your book is your cover. The cover you choose needs to give prospective readers an instant idea of the book’s genre, time period and theme. Keep in mind that most readers view the Amazon site via their tablets and smartphones, which means that the cover needs to look good both large and icon-sized. The text needs to be easy to read, and it should look appealing even when viewed on a black and white screen.
Most self-published authors report that most challenging aspect of digital marketing is creating the blurb for their book. Not only does the blurb have to provide the reader with content that inspires readers to hit the purchase button, but it also needs to include keywords that enables Amazon to properly categorize the book, helping the ideal reader locate it the next time they’re looking for something good to read.
Good metadata does more than drive Amazon book sales; it is also an essential aspect of getting the book you’ve written onto additional bookseller websites and listed in library catalogs.
There are several ways to select the types of keywords that should become a part of your book’s metadata, including:
- Making a list of possible words or phrases you used while conducting research for your book.
- Using Google’s Keyword Search Tool to determine which keywords and phrases are currently popular, when doing this, pretend you’re a reader in search of a book similar to what you’ve written.
- Using your social media and ask your friends to supply you with a list of keywords they use when searching for a book.
Self-promotion is an important aspect of digital marketing. Do not be afraid to talk about your book and your writing process. The more you share on social marketing networks, the more you will connect with your readers, and this connection inspires them to purchase your book on its release date.
Amazon has created a system that makes it easy for readers and authors to connect with readers, including the ones that do not currently follow your social media accounts. According to Jon Fine, the best way to incorporate the tools provided by Amazon into your digital marketing program is by making sure your Author Central page is not static. Make it as interactive as it can possibly be, something that can be done with the inclusion of tweets, videos, blog posts and photos.
By focusing your digital marketing campaign on boosting Amazon book sales, you will also see an increase in sales from other book sale platforms.