Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Using Amazon to Optimize Book Sales: Guest Post with Michelle Fayard


This interview is reproduced from “The Life and Literary Pursuits” with permission from the author, Michelle Fayard as well as blogger Alexia Chamberlynn. You can find Michelle's blog at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/ and Alexia's at http://alexiachamberlynn.blogspot.com



Hello, writer friends! As promised, Michelle Fayard and I have collaborated on something fun for you! It stemmed from week one of Deana Barnhart's blogfest, the subject of which was to ask your burning questions about writing. For my blogfest post, I asked readers to share the most successful marketing tips they'd implemented or seen other writers implement. Michelle's comment was so detailed and mentioned several things I'd never even heard of! I asked her for more details, and after a string of discussions, we decided to share with all of our writer friends!

I strongly encourage you to check out and follow Michelle's blog. She is a wonderfully supportive blog friend full of great insights (as you'll see below)! Michelle and I have recreated the course of our conversation in a question and answer format. Enjoy!

Alexia: What is “tagging” on Amazon, and what should authors try to get their readers to do to increase the success of this tool?

Michelle: Tags are keywords readers are likely to use when searching for a book, similar to the label feature of Blogger. Once you set up tags for your book, ask others to tag it with that same keywords, because the more people that do so, the higher up your book will show in a search.

Alexia: How many reviews should an author attempt to get on Amazon as soon as their book is available? What is the benefit of this? What other popular sites allow readers to post book reviews?

Michelle: I recommend authors get at least 10 reviews, each about 75 to 300 words long. According to Berrett-Koehler Publishers, customer reviews are the single most effective tool for selling books on Amazon, as they help potential customers decide if the title is a fit for them. If you ask your contacts to post a review on Amazon, ask if they’d mind posting the same review on Barnes and Noble and Goodreads as well, for example.

Alexia: What is Author Central? What about an Amazon Connect blog?

Michelle: Author Central is a place where you can upload your photo, bio—even videos. Another great thing about Author Central is you can start posting content to your author page as soon as your book is listed on Amazon, which usually is several months before it ships.

Amazon Connect is the former name of a feature that allows authors to tie in a blog to their book listings, either writing them directly from Amazon Connect, the recommended way, or using an RSS feed to pull content in from an existing blog. The great thing is you don’t need to post as often on your Amazon blog as you would a “regular” one; about once a quarter, let your readers know about your book’s highlights and milestones. Some things to get out there include press mentions, reviews and any book appearances you’ll be making. You also can direct readers to your Web site. Some other cool things you can do include enrolling your title in Search Inside the Book and linking to Amazon’s Author Pages from your own Web site. As of May 26, Amazon Connect became part of Author Central.

Having an Amazon blog has another advantage for when your subsequent books come, as you can use it to announce your next novel to your current readers and increase pre-orders, since the blog shows up on all your books’ pages.

Alexia: How does an author coordinate a “bestseller campaign?”

Michelle: What’s great about a pre-order campaign—which is where you do advance promotion to build up customer orders for your book before it’s available on Amazon—is the orders will ship at the same time, increasing your sales rank for that day. It also helps get word of mouth and customer reviews happening sooner. Another advantage about driving traffic to Amazon’s site is the more sales Amazon has on a book, the more its search engines will recommend that title to others and the more it will pop up as a book bought by others.

Similarly, you can do a bestseller campaign, so your Amazon sales rank will be in the top 100 bestselling books for that day. If anything, it inspires you to let a lot of people know about your book in a concentrated time frame. What other authors have done is offer a free gift customers can receive if they buy your book from Amazon on a particular day. The gift can be something readers can download from your Web site or blog. You also can do this as part of your pre-order campaign.
 

Thank you Michelle and Alexia for allowing me to re-post your terrific article. There's a lot of wonderful information in it that I'm thrilled to pass along to my followers...Jeanne

10 comments:

  1. Jeanne, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Michelle is fabulous, isn't she?

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  2. Hi all! These tips are not only helpful for tangible (for lack of a better word) books selling on Amazon but also for Kindle Direct Publishing novels. There's actually a forum available for Kindle authors to tag others' books of those who've posted. It's a whole system that's beneficial to everyone.

    Participating in forums in general is also beneficial. There are forums in place to allow you to post information about your latest works and make sales pitches. It helps greatly to get your work out there like that.

    Loved this interview, by the way. It was really helpful and I've learned a lot to help increase my sales. Thanks!

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  3. Alexia, yes indeed, Michelle is one in a million and I'm so happy to have made her acquaintance as well as yours :)

    Hi Marlena, as always thanks for stopping by for a read and commenting. I had to repost this when I read it. It's chaulk full of amazing info. So happy you enjoyed it :)

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  4. Jeanne, it's an honor to be back on your blog; both you and Alexia are on Bird's-eye View's Top 25 list of blogs to watch. :)

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  5. @Marlena, I'm so glad you shared the information about the Kindle authors' forum, as I hadn't heard about this. Has this worked well for your Kitty Malone books?

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  6. @Michelle, I made a few sales with the author introduction forums, but reviews work much better. It's just a good way for a newbie author to get his or her name out there and garner some beginning interest for the work.

    The tagging forums move much quicker and don't require you to explain your work. You just leave a link to your novel/product and then tag everyone you can who posted ahead of you. It's pretty much an honor system.

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  7. @Marlena, thank you very much! My marketing plan is now one bullet longer. :)

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  8. This is extremely helpful. I'm trying to wade through the mammoth maze that makes up Amazon. Thanks for sharing! I'm off to follow Michelle right now!

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  9. Jeez, I haven't done a lot on Amazon except paste a book review now and then and I recently added an author page. Seems like there's so much you can do there to try and increase sales. Wish I'd get on that. Thanks for the information, ladies.

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  10. Thanks Elle and Joy for stopping by for a read and to comment. Michelle is marvelous - thanks again Michelle and Alexia for allowing me to post this.

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