Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Publicity Steps (Part 4)

Imagine that the largest bookstore chain has promised to carry your book. Now, imagine that the owner tells you that you can make changes in the way your book is displayed? What if you could convince the management to
  • show the front rather than the spine
  • place it in a special display rather than competing with other books on a long rack
  • bring up near the front of the store rather than leaving it on the back row.
Would you be interested?

Well, the world's largest bookstore, Amazon.com, gives authors many tools to influence their "position" in their store. Taking advantage of these tools can make the difference between your book being hidden in a corner and getting first class positioning.

We've already talked about such basics as putting up your book image and adding tags. Here are some more tools to put your book out front:

1) Start your Amazon Blog. You do this through Amazon Connect. You can either use the free blog they offer, or connect your blog to Amazon through an rss feed. Your blog entries will show up on your Amazon book page.

2) Tags for Amazon Search. Put in search suggestions (staff will have to approve them) to show Amazon that your book should come up when certain terms/phrases are searched. (Don't put in over 10 yourself. If you want more terms, enlist the help of others.)

3) Listmania. Recommend top books in your field, including your own book. You do recommend it, right?

4) Consider participating in the Amazon Upgrade program, by which customers who purchase your book on Amazon can choose to pay a bit more and access the book digitally (online). They can't download it, but they can search each page.

5) Participate in Amazon forums. (You should find some displayed at the bottom of your book page.)

Here's a general page on Amazon to help authors get started on maximizing their exposure on Amazon.

Follow Amazon's Rules

You don't want to be a pest, or get in trouble with Amazon. So follow their helpful rules for involvement in their communities. I think it's fine to put your name at the end of a comment on a forum and under it put, "Author of...." But beyond that, answer people's questions rather than advertise your product. Don't be obnoxious. Don't cut down your competition, use profanity, put in live links, etc.