Kindle Bootcamp Day 7: Promoting Your Book On And Off Amazon

Welcome to day 7 of Kindle Bootcamp. So far, we have gone over how to generate profitable ideas for your books, how to come up with killer titles, create gorgeous professional covers, write mouth watering descriptions, and find your pricing sweet spot.

Today we are going to talk about how to effectively promote your book on and off of Amazon. It’s time to take off our author and writer hats, and put on our marketer hats. (You may want to grab a cup of Jo and get comfy, this is long one :-) )

One of the setbacks of being self published is there is no one but you to promote your books. Ironically, one of the benefits of being self published is that no one but you will promote your books!

You have total control over how you present yourself to the world. You are not at all limited to any one particular form of marketing over another. You can do as little or as much as you like when it comes to self promotion.

With technology as advanced as it is today, all it takes is a little time and effort, and you could potentially be the next John Locke or Amanda Hocking.

If it were 1980, you probably would need the backing of a big publishing house behind you to get the recognition you need to make a decent income from your books.

However, it is 2012, and the internet is alive and kicking. In this age of social media and easy web building solutions, you’ve got all the tools you need to promote your book to the masses over and over again.

And because Amazon is so huge and does such a great job of promoting your book onsite, it is the perfect launchpad to get your success rolling.

On Amazon Promotion

Amazon is a giant. We all know that. There is massive amounts of traffic that flow in and out of Amazon every second. It ranks right up there with the big boys like Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

Amazon will forever go down in history as a game changing web presence, and one of the reasons why it so game changing is their internal marketing ecosystem.

When you buy something from Amazon, they use every bit of information they can obtain from your sale to market other products to you.

Amazon is constantly coming up with new ways to get your book in front of potential buyers over and over again. In fact, describing all the ways Amazon markets your book on their site for you is too large a topic to include here, but just know that choosing to publish on the KDP Platform is one of the smartest choices an Indie Author can make.

Even though you have Amazon’s huge marketing engine propelling your book forward for you, you still have to do your part in the promotion.

The following are ways you can help Amazon promote your book on their site:

  • Cover Branding: One great way to promote yourself on Amazon is through cover branding. If you have more than one book….and you should if you want to maximize your profits….consider having a common element among all your book covers.

For example, you could use the same background color for all your books, or use the same style of font for your author name on all your books. You could include a picture of yourself , or if you are writing a series, place the name of the series in the same spot on all your covers.

Consistency is key when it comes to cover branding. The more times a reader sees your “common element”, the higher likelihood he or she will stop to take a look, and hopefully make a purchase.

  • Use One Of Your Books As A Loss Leader: If you have a series, or even a group of related books, you can use one of them to attract customers at a lower price point with the intention of pushing them along to your other higher priced books. You can also run a free promo on the first book of your series in hopes of rounding up customers for the rest of the books in the series. I talk more about free promos below.
  • Enroll your book in KDP Select. KDP Select is a program that allows authors to sign up to have their books placed in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. This Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle can borrow once a month with no due dates.

You earn money from the KDP Select fund when people in Amazon’s Prime membership borrow your book. This can be very lucrative! It’s possible to earn even more money from this lending program than from your regular sales.

Some of the advantages of enrolling your books in KDP Select are:

    • You can easily reach a new audience by allowing people to borrow your books.
    • You can earn higher royalties than on just regular sales. As of September of 2012, the KDP Select fund had $600,000 in it it, and every time someone borrows your book, you get a share of that.
    • Be eligible to earn 70% royalties for sales to customers in India.
    • You can promote your book for free to users worldwide. This can be a very effective way to gain more readers. My sales usually go up immediately following a free promo.

KDP Select enrollment is a wonderful opportunity to promote your book within Amazon. The only disadvantage I see with this program is the fact that you cannot have your book for sale anywhere else except Amazon while it is enrolled in KDP Select.

That means no website sales, no uploading onto Barnes and Noble, iBook, or any other Indie Author platform. But considering Amazon has the lion’s share of the market at this moment, this may not be a huge deal.

 

  • Take Advantage Of Author Central: If you are at all serious about having a highly successful publishing business on Amazon, you need to take advantage of Author Central.

Author Central is an area where you can highlight and promote yourself, your pen name, or your brand.  Next time you are on Amazon browsing for a book, click on one of the author names. If that author has set up an account with Author Central, you will land on their Author Page.

On this page, you can do the following to promote yourself:

    • Add your image and biography.
    • Import your blog’s RSS feed
    • Upload video
    • Add your twitter feed.

Take full advantage of this area. This is how you establish authority in your given niche. This is where you sell yourself.
Your biography also shows up on your book’s listing pages, so be sure to optimize it with compelling copy about your credentials, experience, or any other reasons why people should listen to what you have to say through your books.

Author Central is also the area that will link all your books together in one convenient spot, so if you have written more than one book, it is crucial that you have an AC account. Otherwise, if people like your writing, and want to read more of your work, they may not be able to locate it all.

You can also use Author Central for your pen name. At the time of this writing, Amazon allows you to have 3 different author names under 1 Author Central account.

**Quick Tip** If you are using a pen name, you obviously won’t have a human face to place on your profile page. One thing I do is get a signature logo of my pen name and insert it into my profile pics.

  • Series selling. Creating a series of books in you genre is arguably one of the most important steps you can take to create true ongoing success and wealth with Kindle. Yes, you can make money with just one book, but in order to be highly successful with that book, you have to hit the nail right on the head when it comes to getting it just right.

The real key to maximizing your profits is to create a series and sell more of the same thing to same people. Choose a genre and stick to it. If you enter a genre that people are consistently looking for more and more information about (if you are writing non fictions) or more of the same kind of story line (if you write fiction), you will be well on your way to creating multiple residual income streams for yourself.

When you find a topic that people will buy an endless supply of information on, stick to it, and inside each of your series books, link to the other books. It reduces the need for promotion and will increase your sales. This is very smart marketing.

Also, when you sell a series,  you can bundle the books together to sell the collection at a higher price point.

  • Create Listmanias. Listmanias are simply lists you can create on Amazon that include related products you find interesting and helpful. The purpose of a Listmania is to help other customers find products that meet their needs on Amazon.

For example, say you started a successful home based sewing business, and you want to compile a list of books that you found helpful in one spot so others who are trying to accomplish this same thing can utilize.

You would create a Listmania and include all the books (or any product) you used (or didn’t use but know would help out) onto a Listmania. When someone does a search for a a book, and that book is on someone’s Listmania, your Listmania could show up on the left hand side of the search page.

The key to using Listmanias to promote your books is to place your books at the very top of your lists, and include more popular books than yours below it. Listmanias show up for a variety of reasons, but one of the main reasons are because books that show up in the search results are on the lists.

The more popular a book is, the more it will be searched for. The more it is searched for, the more chances that a Listmania including that book will show up on the search results page. This is why having popular books on your Listmania means more exposure for it.

Another promotional benefit of creating Listmanias are they rank really well in Google. You can gain exposure on Google by including high search volume keywords in the title and description of your lists.

Even though we are primarily working to flow with Amazon’s marketing ecosystem, don’t underestimate the power of Google traffic. Take the tags you chose for your book, input them into the Google Keyword Tool, and if they generate a lot of searches on Google also, use them for the Listmania for that book.

Check out a real Listmania  to get an idea of what you’ll be creating. Notice how the creator of this list has written a few paragraphs before the list actually starts. This is the area where you will use your keywords.

  • Write A “So You’d Like To” Guide. Another great internal promotional tool Amazon hands you is the So You’d Like To Guide. These also rank extremely well in Google.

Amazon created the ability for users to write the So You’d Like To Guide to help customers find topic specific information they may need to make better informed purchases on their products. Amazon wants you to recommend their products in your guide, so go ahead and recommend your books!

For example, let’s take the dog training niche again. You’ve written a book called Dog Training For Dummies . You create a guide called So You’d Like To Potty Train Your Great Dane detailing a particular dog training method you talk about in your book. At the end of the guide, you write “For more information, check out ‘Dog Training For Dummies'”.

Be sure to use the keywords you discovered through your tag research throughout your guide. Check out this sample guide to get your wheels turning.

Off Amazon

Now that you’ve done everything you can to promote yourself on Amazon, it’s time to shift your marketing into high gear by creating an offline brand for yourself.

Don’t get overwhelmed by what seems like an enormous amount of work. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and either will your author empire be.

Do a little at a time, but keep your main focus on writing books. Set aside some time each day or each week to work on the offline bit.

The following is what I do….in this order. If doing this in a different order is more effective for you, by all means, do so.

  • Get A Domain Name: The first thing I do is grab a domain name. Since, at the time of this writing, all my books are written under pen names, I register the pen name. If it’s not available, I will stick a word before or after like janesmithauthor.com or booksbyjanesmith.com.

You are going to link this domain name to your author blog.

Like I said above, don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of having to create a blog. You really only need a couple of posts on your blog before turning it loose for the world to see.

Your blog is going to serve as a way to build authority in your genre, further develop your brand, and build an email list of readers who want to be notified of future releases.

Continuity of your brand is extremely important. Use the same image on your blog that you used on your Author Central profile.

To build your email list, place an opt in form at the top of your right sidebar. This placement has always worked best for me. I use Aweber for all my email marketing needs. Aweber is a well known company, and is known for getting emails past spam blockers and keeping them out of spam filters. An email list is of no use if all your emails are landing in people’s spam boxes.

I use Hostgator to host my blog. If you are going the self-hosted route, I can personally vouch for Hostgator’s reliable hosting service. Their customer service is the best of the best in my opinion. If you decide to sign up, you can get your first month for a penny (if you choose the Hatchling or the Baby plan) or $9.94 off if you choose the Business plan. Simple use the coupon code “kindlebootcamp” to get this discount.

  • Facebook: Create a Facebook Page in your author name. Be sure to use the same image on your Facebook page as you did on Author Central and on your blog. Remember….continuity and consistency is key to effectively branding yourself.

You will use your page to connect with your readers. Place a link to your Facebook page on your Author Central page and your blog.

Your following won’t happen overnight, but fans will slowly begin trickling in. And once they do, you can remind them of your upcoming new releases as well as engage in conversation with them.

Once again, don’t be overwhelmed……you won’t be hanging out on Facebook all day. It only takes 5 minutes to come up with something witty and creative to make a post once a day. Once a day is all you need in the beginning.

 

  • Register A YouTube Channel: Register a YouTube channel in your author name. You will use this to create videos promoting your books. At first, you can simply get on camera and talk about your books, but as time goes on, and your books get more popular, you may want to look into creating book trailers(Be prepared to laugh if you watch this!)


Once again, in the spirit of keeping your brand alive, use the same image you used on Author Central, your blog, and your Facebook page on your YouTube profile pic.

  • Twitter: Last, but not least, create a Twitter account in your author name using the same image as your profile pic. You will also use Twitter to connect with readers, much like your Facebook page.

Like I suggested with Facebook, don’t spend too much time on Twitter. One or two posts a day should be enough to get the ball rolling.  Place your Twitter link on your Author Central page and your blog.

  • Build Relationships: Before I wrap this lesson up, I want to briefly talk about how important it is to build relationships with your readers. The whole point of creating an Author Central account, a blog, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and a Twitter account is so you can connect with your readers.

When I wrote my first book, I left my contact information at the end.  I didn’t actually think anyone would use it! But, I got emails asking me questions about the content in my book. I responded quickly and began building relationships from the start.

Your readers want to know that you are truly a credible source and that you’re the real deal. Responding to their emails in a timely fashion is absolutely crucial to build their trust.

Instead of looking at this part of your marketing efforts as work, think of it this way…….even though you are helping your readers out by providing them with information and a timely response to their questions, they are actually helping you out just as much.

You can take their questions and improve your content. By knowing what real people who are interested in your topic really yearn to know, you can better cater to them in your books to come.

Be sure to encourage anyone that emails you with questions to get on your mailing list. Regularly keep in contact with them also, not just when you are launching a new book.

Contact them to ask them questions about what kinds of topics they would like to read about in your niche. Harnessing the power of actual people will do more for your rate of return than probably any of the above methods I addressed.

Treat them like your friends, and you will be rewarded accordingly. They will be so impressed by the fact that a big shot author has actually taken the time to address their concerns, that they will tell their friends and family about you and your books. And this is how your book goes viral and the real fun begins!

If you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to ask. Just email me at april@indieauthorcentral.com

Good luck to you!