Penny C. Sansevieri, founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, is a bestselling author and book marketer. She has written books that include Red Hot Internet Publicity, From Book to Bestseller, and No More Rejections: Get Published Today! But her newest book tells authors how to sell lots of books on the world’s leading book retailer, Amazon, and offers good resources and insights in the process.
How To Sell Books By The Truckload On Amazon is a long but catchy title, and most importantly it includes keywords like “sell,” “book,” and “Amazon.” Her book talks a lot about keywords, freebies, and incentivizing book reviewers.
She identifies a number of very useful and relevant resources, including:
Finding Amazon Reviewers
Huge List of Book Blogs
Keyword Search Tools
She targets valuable ground when she writes about book reviewers. First off, she recommends offering real swag – “that’s classy and not junk,” such as a tote bag.
When it comes to gifting ebooks on Amazon, she suggests lowering the book price to 99c and then give the book to select people who didn’t ask for a copy. This is different than book giveaways that are free to you and the recipient – and requrie someone to voluntarily download it.
She’s a big fan of Goodreads and offers these tips to get reviews or do giveaways:
· Post excerpts of your book on your page.
· Create a blog post that says your book is available for review, and provide a link to your blog on your page.
· Use groups to get reviewed on Goodreads.
· Make sure when you sign up for Goodreads to get a Goodreads widget for your site, which helps get additional followers.
· Schedule a Goodreads giveaway. Let readers know if you plan on providing signed copies.
· End your giveaway on a non-popular date, like the middle of the week – and not on a holiday.
“Another way to boost exposure is to run an ad to help push your giveaway,” says the author. “Ads are simple on GoodReads. They operate on a pay-per-click system, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.” You can get started at www.goodreads.com/advertisers.
She offers a great list of nearly three dozen sites to list your book-giveaway, including: www.freedigitalreads.com, www.totallyfreestuff.com, and www.peoplereads.com.
Sansevieri has been helping authors for many years and though this book only reflects a fraction of what she knows, it’s a great place to start for launching your book sales. I’m sure she’s talking her own advice as she strategizes to give her book a sales boost.
When it comes to your freebie, she advises: “Ideally, you should wait until the book has been up on the site for a while before you offer a freebie. I’ve found that waiting ninety days is best. You want to give it a chance to grow on its own. The book will flip from the paid category to the free one and then back to paid once the giveaway is over. Although it ends up back where it started, it will grow because of the residual momentum you’ll get from the giveaway.”
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
1. Penny, what do authors need to know if they want to generate more book sales on Amazon? Well the most important it to know that keywords and categories are really crucial for exposure. Think of Amazon as Google. People say all the time: I want more visibility for my website in Google, how can I do that? And SEO experts will tell them well, keywords, keywords, keywords. The same is true for Amazon. Their search function works much the same as Google. Also, don't think keywords as a singular but rather as a phrase. people generally don't search on just a single keyword but on a string. So, for example: thriller and serial killer OR romance and firefighter might be how a consumer searches for a particular book. They generally won't go to Amazon and just type in "thriller" because the search results will be all over the place.
2. How important is it to give books away in order to increase your book sales? I think it's very important, especially if you want to pull in new readers. Readers like to sample and free is a great way to do that. But you can't give a book away with no means for follow up and expect the magic to happen. Make sure that there is something in the back of your book that encourages folks to reach out to you. A letter inviting them to write you and review the book. Nothing too salesy, but a nice, direct letter to the readers. Studies have shown that readers often aren't inclined to review a book, not because they don't want to but because they don't really know how much their opinion matters. Make sure they know. So how does this increase book sales? Well for one, people like what other people like and getting book reviews is always a challenge for authors so 1) it helps to get more reviews and 2) again readers can get a sense of your writing style and, if they like you, they'll go back and buy the rest of your books. Sampling 100% works.
3. If a few thousand books are being published daily in America -- not to mention the 15 million already in existence -- what will it really take for authors to separate themselves from others? I think Super Fans. Really you have to network with your readers because while blog and bloggers are great, these folks are really inundated with requests for review so build your fans. Free is a way to do that. Per the point above if you can get readers from Amazon to you (by giving them your email) you can start building relationships with them. An example of this is a book we worked with that I cite in my book. So we gave away 61,000 copies over 2 days and that got the author 200+ letters from readers, she wrote each of them back and by the time the next book came out it did screaming well in pre-order. Between the pre-order time (which was three weeks) and the on sale date she sold a few thousand just to her fans (and fans telling fans) with no promotion. Super Fans are really important. There's a book I love called The Curve by Nicholas Lovell and he cites that it only takes 1,000 Super Fans to hit the New York Times Bestseller list.
4. What tips do have for us regarding the selection and use if keywords? Well first off you want to know what readers are searching on in Amazon. So with your single keyword in mind (let's say it's social media or business) go over to Kindle in Amazon and start typing in your keyword. You'll immediately see a drop down of keyword suggestions and that’s where you start. These Amazon suggestions are going to be popular among consumers/readers to take your cue from whatever pops up in that dropdown because, just like Google, it's telling you what's popular and being searched on.
5. What do you enjoy about working with writers? I love helping authors gain exposure for their books, I love brainstorming with authors about what we can do to promote them or what they might do on their own. Marketing these days is much more about strategy than it ever has been and I love brainstorming strategy because I believe that's where the marketing juice is.
6. What is rewarding and challenging about book marketing? I love discovering new things. Much like how I sort of stumbled on this Amazon algorithm stuff, I got curious one day and said "I want to know how this works." So I love creating new pathways for authors or coming up with new ways to market. In fact we will often revise our programs 4 times a year because things chance quickly. I love that. The challenging part is keeping up with it because it is changing all the time - *ALL* the time. So it's a full time job just keeping up with all the changes.
7. What do you see for the future of book publishing? I think that you're going to see a lot of changes in traditional publishing. I think that publishers are going to have to consider a different model of publishing - perhaps one where an author pays into their marketing because, candidly, it costs a lot for a publisher to put a full marketing campaign behind a book and often they are dealing with authors who don't have time or aren't sure how to market so I think that the current model is going to have to change. I know that a few publishers have tried this and it's hard to change the old model but I feel it does have to change. I also think that you're going to see a lot more in the way of collaborative marketing - so authors that are all working together to help market each other's books OR writing books together - like a bundle series or something.
8. Is it ironic that the title of your book talks about selling books by the truckload when, in fact, a lot of your strategies relate to selling digital books online? Yes, it is - but that's one of the secrets of keywords because when I was trying to decide how to title the book, I did my research on Amazon first so, hence the title.
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2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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