Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ten Ways to Up Your Ratings by Selling Books on Amazon


What? Carolyn talking book sales?

Many of you know that I rarely talk sales when I can talk more important things like cross promotion and branding. You may know that I believe if you network well, you won't have to sell anything, ever. Not in the traditional sense.

So, here is my disclaimer (before I even start with your Ten Tips!) Telling you how to get better ratings on Amazon is tantamount to telling you how to sell books.
That is my disclaimer. I'm going to tell you how to let Amazon help you sell more books anyway!

A promotional drop in the bucket can move Amazon ratings drastically! Especially if you keep dripping promotion into the pail. Use the perks that Amazon provides for you (see the list below), and you'll find your book selling. Especially if you don't give up. Just keep dribbling little bits of information into the tools Amazon offers you. Your Amazon sales campaign is about frequency and longevity. Here they are. Pick one (or more) and keep at it:

1. Use Listmanias on Amazon and, along with your own book, sprinkle in the titles of your author-friends. Let these authors know you did it. That's a way to make a new promotion friend. There is a chapter in The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't that tells you how to use this free promotional perk along with tips for making Listmanias more effective. It also includes information on other free tools on Amazon.

2. When you read a book by an author you know (or even one you don't) do yourself and them a favor by adding a review to Amazon. It takes but a minute and YOU and your book get exposed too, if you use a promotion-savvy signature. Simply type in a couple of dashes and then add "Reviewed by xxxxx and your book title." Don't link to your own sales page on Amazon, though. Amazon cops don't like that!

3. Tell other people about what you're doing, how your book relates to current events and more by posting on your Amazon plog. Another name for plog is AuthorConnect ™, and it's really a blog provided by Amazon. You do have a blog don't you? Spread the word about your fellow authors' books, too, and then ask them to pass on the word about your plog, complete with URL. This is viral marketing and it works.

4. Flesh out your book's page on Amazon by using Wiki (or Amapedia) to add information on your awards or other publishing you've done..

5. Add to the tags, too. Use keywords from you book. As an example, for This Is the Place, I use Big Love, Mormons, polygamy, Utah, western history, women's fiction, coming-of-age story, New York, Latter Day Saint, and a whole lot more.

6. Ask your friends and professional associates to review your book on Amazon. See that word "ask?" They will be happy to do it. They just need a nudge!

7. If you have a book suited to it, you add pictures to your book's page. Check out my "Promote or Perish" picture on The Frugal Book Promoter page. Here's the URL: http://www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo .

8. Don't avoid Amazon because you're mad at them. Getting caught up in the idea of trying to sell your book only on your own Web site is counterproductive. You may make more per book, but you'll make less over all and your entire promotion will suffer. Read that word "promotion" as "readership." Read it as "exposure." Read it as "credibility." You and your book need to be seen more than you need a couple of extra dollars profit on any given book.

9. Look into the So You'd Like Tos . . . on Amazon. They will allow you to rant or write essays to your hearts content and gather readers as you do it. They work similarly to Listmanias but they're lots more work.

10. Make friends. When someone adds a review to your page, invite them to be an Amazon Friend. Include a thank you in the message. Nose around a bit. You'll find all kinds of ways to let Amazon Friends know about your next book . . . and your next. And keep in mind that when someone is your friend, your book or picture may show up on their profile page. Their friends buy books, too!
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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