(Thanks to Eddie Jones and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for sharing this article)
Amazon Flattens the World
Amazon flattens the world of book selling by giving every author the chance to sell big. When Amazon notices your book is selling, it automatically displays your book higher in its search results and higher in its category lists. More importantly, Amazon starts plugging your book into book recommendations on its Web site and in e-mails to customers.
Books that sell moderately well may eventually be assigned to multiple categories. Imagine your book shelved in a dozen different sections of a brick-and-mortar bookstore. The difference is, Amazon is the world’s largest bookstore and may send thousands of readers to your book. Here are five ways you can make Amazon’s worldwide reach work for you.
· Solicit Amazon reviews
· Keep your book’s detail page current (yes, an the author you can control this)
· Manage and promote your Amazon “Author Page”
· Pin your book from Amazon
· Your Kindle Profile Page
Now let’s look at how you can work Amazon to your advantage.
Increasingly, readers turn to online reviews written by peers to learn if a book is worth purchasing. Many “professional” reviews are simply rehashes of publisher-generated publicity. Most of the time, professional critics don’t tell readers the one thing they want to know—whether they’ll like the book.
Today, all it takes is a quick skim of customer reviews on Amazon to know if you’ll like a book, and what amateur reviewers lack in highbrow sensibilities, they make up in credibility and relevancy.
What percentage of buyers at brick-and-mortar bookstores made their choice by reading Amazon customer reviews? There’s no way to know, but chances are it’s a substantial and growing number, so seed your book’s success by garnering reviews on Amazon.
Reviews For YOU!
If buyers are making their decisions based on Amazon reviews you can bet bookstore buyers are, too. Amazon is ground zero for your online campaign. It provides free worldwide exposure. Simply having your book properly listed for sale on Amazon can create demand for it everywhere.
How can these reviews help you? Credibility. Amazon doesn’t say it explicitly, but the more reviews your book receives, the higher it will appear in the “relevant” search rankings. This is why you need to begin working to gain reviews for your book before its release. How? With book giveaways on Goodreads, blog tours, promotions and sending galley copies to friends. In return ask those individuals who say nice things about your book to post a review when your book releases. (Depending on the publisher’s arraignment with Amazon, sometimes they can post reviews before its release.)
When it comes to book sales, you have to be popular to become popular. (How’s that for circular logic?) Amazon reviews are a quick indicator of your book’s success. A low number of reviews or a low star rating and the reader may exit your page before scrolling down an inch.
Step One: Fire Up Your Tribe
Encourage anyone who tells you how much he or she enjoyed your book to write a review on Amazon.com. As your positive reviews grow, so may your sales.
It is YOUR job to drive reviewers (friends, family, fans, Tweeters, bloggers, etc) to your Amazon page and fill these reviews. Your book will need 10 to be taken seriously – 100 to be considered a serious book. The bar is high because customers are reluctant to post reviews. Readers know this so when they see a book with 50 reviews they know merits consideration.
Step Two: Combat Negative Reviews
Even a poor review can be good—if the reviewer shares pertinent facts about your book that other readers might find interesting. For example, a comment like: “Too preachy” might turn off some readers and attract inspirational readers. Multiple 1 star reviews can slow sales or kill your book’s momentum, so balance low star reviews by asking friends to post a review after negative reviews appear. Here’s how.
When friends congratulate you on your book ask for their help. Send them an email or contact via Facebook and say:
Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it. It’s not necessary to write a lengthy, formal review—a summary of the comments you sent me would be fine. Here’s a link to the review form for my book:
(Note: you will need to put your book’s actual ISBN in place of the letters ISBN, like this:
http://www.Amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/write-a-review.html?asin=1938499018 This link should take you to the review page for My Father’s Business: 30 Inspirational Stories for Discerning and Doing Gods Will) Try this yourself; change the ISBN in the URL above to your book’s number, then copy and paste into a web browser to make sure it takes readers to your book’s review page.
Save this canned text to be used anytime you see a negative review appear about your book. Then seek out those fans that praised your book but did not post a review. Maybe add that their comments are needed and appreciated.
The reality is a review on Amazon is gold. The next time your author friend has a birthday don’t send an eGreating Card – post a positive review of their book on Amazon. This will mean more to their career than you can imagine.
Step Three: Solicit Top Amazon Reviewers
· From Amazon’s list of Top Reviewers who regularly post reviews of books similar to yours. http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers (it is becoming more difficult to acquire reviews from top reviewers but the effort is worth it)
· Acquaintances and colleagues interested in your book’s topic
· Participants in Internet discussion boards and mailing lists relevant to your book
· Registered visitors of your Web site or readers of your blog
How to Approach Reviewers
Dear John Doe: I found your name from the list of Amazon Top Reviewers. My book, “Dead Man’s Hand” released last November from Zonderkidz. I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review middle school books. If you think you might be interested in reading my book and posting an honest review on Amazon, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy if you’ll reply with your postal mailing address. There is no obligation, of course. Best Regards, Eddie Jones
Another valuable source of potential reviewers is people who’ve posted Amazon reviews for previous books in your topic or genre.
“Dear Jane Doe: I found your name from the Amazon book review you posted of the 2011 book “A Zombie’s Guide to Zin.” I recently wrote a book that appeals to the same audience, “Mummies Little Helper.” If you think you might be interested in reading it and perhaps reviewing it on Amazon, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy if you’ll respond with your mailing address. There is no obligation, of course. Best Regards
A great way to launch your campaign is to find 100 to 300 readers in your book’s target audience and ask them to post an honest review on Amazon. This costs nothing more than mailing review copies of your book to reviewers. Once you send the book follow up with the recipient to see if they have finished or have thoughts on your book. Not everyone will respond. In fact most will not. But gaining positive reviews can boost your sales so be persistent.
Good luck and remember – Amazon reviews are GOLD!