Charged To Promote
Last week a savvy author contacted me about possibly reviewing his book. Over a year ago, this author published a book about the Presidents and had read the customer reviews of some of the presidential candidates on Amazon. Now I wrote one of those customer reviews so he contacted me to see if I would be interested in possibly reviewing his book. That's a smart idea worthy of your attention and possible imitation. You could look at books similar to your title and directly contact some of the people who have written customer reviews about possibly reviewing your book.
As I looked at the Amazon page for this book on the Presidents of the United States, I noticed the publisher released the book outside of the election year cycle. Like many Amazon pages where the author isn't actively involved, the book had scant information. The Search Inside The Book feature wasn't turned on and it had less than five customer reviews and no information about the book or the author.
In my email to the author, I encouraged him to proactively change the missing elements on the book page of Amazon. He instantly bounced back that he wanted those features to be activated but to turn them on was the publisher's responsibility. Yes, maybe sometimes the publisher will handle this matter but I hear authors large or small complain about the limited marketing and promotion efforts from their publishers. Instead of complaining, I recommend you roll up your sleeves and get involved in the promotion process--and not just for a season. I encourage you to spend a regular part of your writing life doing something to promote yourself and your book. It will pay off for you.
If you are concerned about your book sales (and every author should be concerned about continuing to sell books), then I encourage you to actively work on the pages where your books appear on Amazon.
1. Join Amazon Connect and create an Amazon blog and a connection to your website.
2. Take active steps to implement the Search Inside feature on the Amazon page. If your publisher hasn't activated this feature, you may have to take matters into your own hands (and that's OK--the publisher should applaud your proactive efforts to sell books).
Working with a small press for Book Proposals That Sell, this feature wasn't turned on for my book. I printed and signed the Amazon permission form, then mailed them a physical copy of the book. After several weeks, they scan the book and get the pages into their system and the Search Inside feature will be activated for your book. Customers make buying decisions every day by looking inside the book online, then purchasing the book. If you don't have that feature turned on, then you are potentially missing some sales.
3. Actively work to gather five star customer reviews for your book on Amazon. The five stars portion of my previous sentence is important because Amazon averages the stars. You want to have many reviews of your book on these pages. As readers send you little notes of appreciation for your book, when you thank them for their encouragement, take several additional seconds and suggest, "Could you cut and paste those kind comments into a Five Star Review on Amazon? I'd really appreciate it and here's the link to take you right to exact page on Amazon."
The Amazon links tend to be really long--so make sure you send them a short cut link. You create a short cut link using a free tool like snipurl.com or tinyurl.com. The short cut link almost guarantees that they will have an active link from your email they can use to go to the Amazon page for your book. This simple suggestion works and when you notice they have added their Five Star review, don't forget to send them a little email of appreciation. All of these steps work into the bigger picture for your promotional efforts.
While I've been talking about Amazon in this post, I encourage you to continually look for new promotional avenues. Raleigh Pinskey has some terrific new resources on her blog. Raleigh is the author of 101 Ways To Promote Yourself (another book I recommend). I wrote about her work earlier this year in this link.
The key point that I'm making in this entry is not to wait on someone else to promote your book. You should be charge to promote your own book.