Sunday, July 15, 2012

Make Amazon Do Your Marketing!


I have to blog about a gem of a book I reviewed recently: Aggie Villanueva’s Amazon Categories Create Bestsellers. Not only did the book open my eyes as to how Amazon works, their review policies, and their sometimes draconian behaviour patterns, it also educated me regarding the way Amazon is structured. Learn how Amazon ticks, and you’ll have greater control over how your book is presented to the mass of readers  out there who could be buying your book, if only you can get them to see it. This book teaches you how to put Amazon to good use.

Understanding Amazon
Any author who wants to see their book up there in Amazon’s shop front needs to understand Amazon. Aggie Villanueva demystifies the giant in the sky. Far from being just a books-and-more store, Amazon has built-in marketing strategies that arise naturally from their own unique construction. Blessed be the author who manages to work out this for himself.

Get this book and implement the simple steps outlined to achieve marketing/sales success. Don’t think the length of the book (78 pages) means you won’t get the information you need. It is packed with tips! I spent time reading it to make sure I understood the strategies outlined, and then I went onto my own book page on Amazon and implemented them. What a shock to see how much your publisher does NOT do for you!

Tight Targeting Gets Your Book Places
Villaneuva dismantles the nuts and bolts of Amazon, and suggests that simply by tapping into the seemingly insignificant areas such as categories, tags, reviews and discussion groups, an incredible marketing machine starts working for the book. Why spend money on a marketing plan when merely making sure your book is properly categorized will reap rich rewards.

Here's the secret weapon: Correct category listings can catapult a book into bestseller lists. Nearly every Top-100 list is drawn from categories. Get that right (you can do it yourself) and your book will fly. You can then get into other Top-100 lists.

My children's adventure novel The Secret of the Sacred Scarab has been placed in two categories:

  • Books; Children's Books; Action & Adventure
  • Books; Children's Books; Science Fiction & Fantasy; Fantasy & Magic
I thought hard about this and then decided there wasn't any other category I could think of that was applicable.

The Amazon Helpdesk (and they are helpful!) had this to say about having more ctaegories: "Some books have more than two browsing categories because the categories have been updated automatically through data feeds provided by the book's publishers."

Don't Ignore the Benefits
Many authors prefer to use other or their own sites as selling points because they earn more on each book sale. However, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of the world’s largest store and publicity machine. Amazon’s automated system is simple but multilayered.

Books correctly listed will then benefit from free and automatic publicity that reaches millions of readers every day. Using Amazon Central, an author can also monitor and track a book’s performance in these different categories.

Hidden Extras
This book is also a treasure trove when it comes to hidden extras. The pages are sprinkled with links to other marketing videos or supplementary material, all designed to help you get your book from Amazon to a slew of readers. The writing is clear, and understandable to even the most technologically challenged writer (like me!) Screen grabs also point you in the right direction.

But Wait, There’s More!
More? Is this possible? Absolutely. If you follow Villaneuva’s careful step-by-step suggestions, you’ll end up in your Author Central Dashboard (a vital tool!) on Amazon where … tada! … you’ll find that linking back to your Amazon book details are your Shelfari book details. If you have a Shelfari account and wondered why recently you were asked if you wanted to log in via your Amazon account, this is why.

Shelfari is sometimes regarded as the ‘poor cousin’ of the triumvirate, with swanky Librarything leading the pack, and good solid Goodreads (which gets lots of publicity) following a close second. Not so. Shelfari enables you to load a huge amount of book detail on your own books such as: characters, locations, descriptions, quotes, awards, synopses, similar books etc. If you fill your Shelfari book details to the hilt, you’ll find many of these extras appearing in your Book Extras on Amazon.

Take advantage of every possible marketing angle that you’ll find in this book and the extras that add on, perhaps giving you the advantage over your competitors. There are many thousands of books published annually worldwide. Make sure you have an edge!

Amazon Categories Create Bestsellers is an essential guide. Highly recommended.

For more marketing advice, visit Promotion a La Carte. From tours to simple tips 'n' tricks, there’s something there for every author!

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