I began promoting authors and their books back in 2001 and then it was all about splashy book launches, press releases and getting local coverage. Indie authors had it tough in those days trying to break into the establishment and get the attention of national press, but could do very well locally.
It is very different today in many respects, but certainly you can still make a big splash in your own local area, especially if our books are relevant to the history of the area. Press releases and going door to door to established businesses such as bookshops, cafes, art galleries and holding book signings can certainly launch a book and possibly get the attention of a wider audience and the national press.
Six years ago I began promoting my own books (particularly Ebooks as I tend to still go local for my print books) and a handful of authors here on Smorgasbord, which over the next two years developed to become The Cafe and Bookstore. This celebrated three years of book promotions earlier in the year and there are between 150 and 175 active authors with new releases and reviews at any given time.
Taking my experience of the ups and downs of book marketing over the last 18 years I feel that if I can give a helping hand to other authors, it might help them navigate the marketing process a little more effectively. Especially when we have a global marketplace at our fingertips.
I am delighted that I am in a position to showcase authors here on my blog and on social media. And for me it is important to provide this FREE as I know how tough it was back when I started, and even more so now, to get noticed.
However, I have over the years found some stumbling blocks that are common to many authors.
It would be lovely to think that we write a book and readers will then flock through the doors on the online bookstore and grab a copy. Unfortunately today you are in competition with the many thousands of other books that are published that week, particular in a popular genre on a worldwide basis.
So everything you do online has to have one clear goal, and that is to encourage readers to buy your book. But all the promotions in the world with wonderful blurb and reviews are not effective unless they address one very important question.
Where do you want potential readers to end up?
Somewhere they can buy the book immediately.
For most of us, whichever publishing path we have taken, Amazon is our primary bookseller. Some of you will publish through Amazon’s own Kindle and Print publishing services, others like myself are independent and do our own formatting and design before signing up for a seller account.
But, you do need to meet the technology and worldwide opportunities at least halfway and one of the most effective tools at your disposal, even with one book, but certainly with multiple releases, is the Amazon Author Page.
There are a number of book promotional sites available, mine included, who will promote your book, but we need to put a buy link for your book so that readers can head over and purchase. That link is usually Amazon as it is the largest online bookstore in the world. More importantly it is where those who live online, such as other authors and bloggers have set up accounts to buy their books.
That being the case, I always put the Amazon author page in the bookstore so that when the potential buyer heads over they can see the authors bio, photograph and more importantly, not just one book, but all of them. They can then choose which book to select, but you never know, they might just pick up another one or two at the same time.
The majority of authors that are promoted here have an Amazon author’s page, but you will be amazed how many do not who ask me to promote their books.
This is one of the most important book marketing tools that you can use as the link should be on all your correspondence, from the signature on your emails to your profiles on all the social media sites you are using. Certainly on your business cards and also at the back of your books, along with the covers of the other books you have written.
From the perspective of a book promoter, it makes it very difficult when an author has five or six books and no author page.. I have to spend considerable time tracking them down and I then do not have one central link to put them under.
This loses you sales.
Amazon is your bookstore, your bookshelf and your author page needs maintenance from time to time.
- When was the last time you checked your bio. I see many that are at least a year and a couple of books out of date.
- Would a new profile photo give your author page a new look too?
- Have you added your blog link so that your posts will show up on the page encouraging readers to visit you there.
- Are all your books, including your latest listed on your author page?
- Is all the information correct about your books?
- Ensure that when your books are uploaded all formats are available on the book selling page. Otherwise you will lose sales from readers looking for either print or Ebooks and not finding it on the same page.
Even if you only have one book, it is a good idea to set up your Author Page and you can do so on both the UK and the US sites as when they list your books on one they might not carry over your bio or other information, including the photograph. Often if you do not manually update your author page on the other country’s site, you will find there is not bio or the photograph is missing so you do need to keep an eye on both.
Even if you have not been the person who uploaded the book, as the author you can sign up for the Author Central or as many of you are a KDP author you can use that identity to log in.
I have taken some screen grabs to illustrate the process. If you feel that uncertain about creating your own author page or need assistance then I suggest you enlist the help of a member of your family who is tech savvy and that you are happy to share your Amazon password with, to do the online side for you.. Just make sure you have prepared your author bio in advance and have a photograph ready.. pass that around friends and see what they think too.
As you can see there is a question in the bottom left hand corner.. Are you an author? Click on Learn More at Author Central.
This will take you to the log on or sign in screen and click the relevant option to you. If you are signing up for the first time you will need your email address and a new password. Or you can use an existing Amazon identity. Sorry it is not very clear..
Once you have clicked on the options it will then take you to a menu page.
If this is your first visit you will be using the updating your author page option which includes adding your biography (as an author it is a good idea to double check for spelling and grammar!) Not too long but enough to engage with the reader and connect with them. Don’t forget this is your part of your marketing pitch.
Upload a photograph which is another way to connect with potential readers. I do suggest that you use one that is taken by someone else rather than a selfie and they always come out a little better. Also think about how you would like to be perceived by the readers of your books.. dressing appropriately (or not) depending on your genre and personality. Choose a high resolution photograph to begin with, then adjust for size before uploading and you will be given an option to crop.
Now is the time to list your books and you can do this by title, author and ISBN, and when they come up with the cover you can click on ‘This is my book‘
You will get a message saying that your book will be added within a few days but I have found that they are usually up within a few hours.
If you already have an Amazon Author page do remember that books are not added automatically or may fail to appear even with KDP.. so it is worth checking and going through this process.
You will be offered the opportunity to save data as you go and once you have finished you will have created an important element of book marketing.
Since I have been laying it on thick about including your Amazon Author Page link here are mine.
I use the US Author Page Link on all my social media, signature on all my emails and on by business cards. – The reason being… I have 3/4 more US followers than UK/Irish ones and if a UK reader goes into the account they will find more reviews usually and they are linked back to the UK on the Kindle versions anyway.
N.B. As of 2021 there are more options and a slightly different interface that enables you to translate your bio in to other languages.
Which brings me to your email signature. How many emails are you sending out each year to friends, family, fellow bloggers, authors, tradespeople, etc…. several hundred I would think.. don’t miss out a marketing opportunity and also include your main blog and social media.. you are in business as an author and you should make the most of every opportunity.
Sally Cronin Latest book: Tales from the Irish Garden Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2 Blog : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1 Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58 MeWe: mewe.com/i/sallycronin
I hope that this has been useful.. any questions put them in the comments and you will find it is very straight forward, take one step at a time and practice you bio a few times before you post it.
If you would like I am happy to take a look at your Amazon author page and offer some suggestions as to how you might create a more effective selling message. You can leave the link to your Amazon author page in the comments or you can email me on email@example.com
Next time.. why it is a good idea to have a Goodreads author account…..