Self-publishing via Amazon KDP is a great low-cost way to place your book in the world’s biggest bookshop, but the story does not end there if you want sales to grow.
Here are three ways to promote your book.
But before we start, you need to make sure that you have optimised your KDP listing. Add lots of keywords – not just one per line. Review your book description and make sure that you have no spelling mistakes, well laid out paragraphs and use bold and italics to emphasise key phrases. You should also create an author page – customers like to see that you are human. So, once you have got the fundamentals right, what next?
1 – Advertise your book. I often read how advertising does not work and it costs more that the sales that you achieve. This can be true, and measuring the success of any advertising has always been difficult. Many online adverts, including Amazon adverts, allow you to see the direct success of the campaign in terms of units sold. However, this should not be considered as the only metric. You should look at total sales. This may sound a little strange at first – but here’s the theory. Every sale you make pushed your book up the rankings, making it more visible to customers. The more visible it is, the more sales you are likely to make. I would therefore suggest that your Amazon advert sales can result in both measurable direct sales and secondary sales because of higher rankings. There are other benefits too. The more books you sell the more likely you are to get additional reviews – which in turn can lead to more sales. Last, customers may find your sponsored book and keep and remember it leading a sale in the future.
The best way to measure success is to look at the change in total sales rather than just those directly attributable to the sponsorship of your product/book.
This does not alleviate the need to be smart when deploying amazon campaigns or any channel such as AdWords and Facebook. Perhaps another post for the future.
2 – Create and maintain an author website to promote and support your book or books. It is always a good idea to make sure that you create an Amazon author page and there is a similar feature on Lulu called ‘Promote’. But both are quite static and limited. Many authors also create a FaceBook Page to help people find them and their books. But I feel that an author website is also a good investment. Here are a few tips on how to make an author website sucessful.
- The first may sound a little strange – do not sell copies of your books from your website. For ebooks selling copies outside of Amazon means you cannot enroll in KDP Select. (With KDP Select, you have access to a variety of programs and tools that can help you promote your book to a wider audience.). For paperback and ebooks, you are better to drive sales through Amazon – more sales mean a higher ranking and you are also free from the hassle of managing payments, holding stock, shipping, and returns, etc. Let Amazon or Lulu or other online bookshops handle all this for you.
- Add links to your books on Amazon and other bookshops – what’s more, take advantage of the many affiliate programs to generate more income. If you sell your book through an Amazon affiliate link, you will receive two payments – the book royalty and the affiliate payment. There are also affiliate links for other book stores such as The Book Depository and Waterstones. Give your customers a choice of where to buy your books from. Both The Book Depository and Waterstones affiliate programs are available through AWIN. There are lots of methods with websites such as WordPress to easily set up free plugins that will manage the links.
- Keep your author website up to date. If you would like to know about low costs services to build, host and maintain an author website, then contact me at EnergyBook. Nobody likes a website that looks and feels out of date e.g. copyright date. Or one that shows a software bug or broken links. You should also add content about new books being written, customer feedback & reviews, FAQs, how to contact the author, etc. You may also like to build a list of customers for new books and information via a subscription system.
You are also more likely to succeed in promoting your book, see 3 below. and can be a focal point for online adverts using AdWords and Facebook. Moreover, an author website gives you an online personality.
3 – Tell people about your book and how they can benefit from it. Find websites and organisations that have a connection with the books that you write. For example, if your book has a link to a geographical area, then contact websites that promote that area. Often people are keen to promote books that support the aims of their website and organisation. You could write a few paragraphs and add some images so that they can easily create some content on their website. As for links, you have two options. First, let them know about how they could receive some income by joining the Amazon affiliate scheme – if they are not already members. Second, provide a link back to your author website. Put yourself into the mindset of the website owner and how they may like to attract customers and craft something that they would want. You could even offer them a small fee of a couple of pounds, or perhaps contribute to a local charity. Likewise, if the book has a historical theme, look for websites and organisations that have a similar interest. Do a little research on each target – owners, social media accounts, etc. Do not just spam them with marketing speak. These new links can be quite a valuable source of customers and the links can last several years. If you would like help finding and contacting organisatons then please Contact Me.
Think widely about who may like to read your book and search for local papers, magazines, clubs, etc. But I would not advise taking out expensive adverts in a publication…. they can be very costly and unlikely to give a return. If you do, then create a unique URL so that you have a way of measuring the traffic you generate – this is easy to do with a WordPress website for example. Use something that someone can remember – author.com/book If you are adding information to printed matter, you can also generate a free QR code so that mobile users can hit your website in seconds – no typing.
So there are just three ideas to help you promote your book. I hope that they prove helpful – please let me know how you get on.