Amazon.com may very well be the single largest marketplace in the world, but you can’t simply put your book online and expect it to sell. It doesn’t work that way.
Amazon is a lot like Google in that regard. Sure, it will index your book for you, but without a push, it will never be seen by shoppers. So, what can you do?
I suggest you think like a publicist.
A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a company, a brand, or public figure – especially a celebrity – or for a work such as a book, film, or album.
So, your first publicity step is to tell do what a publicist is paid to do and tell people about your new book.
The Book Press Release
A press release is used to generate attention, news, and publicity. Press releases can be used to generate interest in any type of corporate, community, or organization news.
Although a new book certainly falls under the category of news, you won’t get your story picked up unless your press release is newsworthy.
A press release convinces journalists that your book is worth their time. They often use the press release itself to decide if the story is worth their time.
Your press release needs to be informative and catchy. Journalists won’t read the entire book. They may not even read the introduction.
A good press release does a journalist’s job for them. They can simply copy and paste the pertinent points and make some tweaks before moving on.
A press release is a powerful marketing tool for book authors. Without a publicist, it may be your only opportunity to get attention from media outlets. A good press release can help you get exposure and free press.
It does one more important thing. It associates your book title with your book page.
Unless you have experience writing press releases, it isn’t worth your time trying. I recommend using a press release service instead.
HOT TIP: Your book page URL may be long and ugly. Fortunately, Amazon offers many different ways to get to a book page and they all have a canonical link reference to the actual book page. Example:
- Actual book page: https://www.amazon.com/Why-Medicare-Advantage-Plans-Survive-ebook/dp/B09BWXVWDX/
- Product page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BWXVWDX
- Direct ASIN page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BWXVWDX
- Amazon Link Shortener: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B09BWXVWDX
You can also sign up for a free Bit.ly account and use their amzn.to link shortener to get a link like https://amzn.to/3l90aVq. My strong recommendation is to use a Bitly amzn.to shortened URL in a press release. This allows you to maintain control of inbound links (i.e., you can remove them in the future). Save the direct Amazon URLs for other opportunities.
Independent Book Reviews
There are plenty of ways to get independent book reviews. One way is to commission an independent book review from sites like Independent Book Review. Please note that websites like Independent Book Review are not in the business of creating fake reviews. They work with professional book reviewers that read your book and give their professional opinion. If you write a crappy book, you can expect a crappy review.
I worked with Joe at Independent Book Review. Within a few days, he found a reviewer familiar with my niche. A couple of weeks later I received her review (abbreviated):
A concise, easy-to-understand guide to Medicare and making the righthealthcare choices David W. Bynon is an experienced healthcare insurance professional and blogger who noticed a troubling trend: many Americans make their retirement health insurance plans based on poorly understood, inadequate, or misleading information. Referencing common questions to his blog, this book aims to rectify that situation.
Readers interested in learning about Medicare and other health insurance options for themselves or a family member will find this book useful. It provides much food for thought and teaches the basic concepts one needs to understand the deluge of mailed flyers, TV ads, and even phone calls Americans receive as they approach their sixty-fifth birthday.
The full review was a page and a half long and included this fantastic graphic for my social media:
Buyer Book Reviews
Independent reviews are great for your social media and extended content on your book pages, but what Amazon values the most are sales and real reviews from buyers. Unfortunately, that creates a bit of a chicken and egg scenario.
If you don’t have any sales, how can you get reviews? And if you don’t have any reviews, how do you get sales?
There are two ways to get around this issue. The first is to use Amazon’s advertising platform to promote your book. The second is to use Self Publishing Review’s customer verified reviews service.
At first blush, customer verified reviews look like some kind of scam or gimmick, but it’s not. Through their network of avid book readers and reviewers, Self Publishing Reviews get your book brought and reviewed. The reviewers have no obligation to give you a good review. My book got 3-, 4-, and 5-star reviews.
One of the coolest features of getting verified Amazon buyer reviews is that Google picks up on the reviews and adds your star rating (and gold stars) to your book page’s search results. It makes your listing a standout.
Once you have successfully promoted your book, it’s time to get to work doing some SEO.