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Amazon and Twitter Make It Easier to Buy Books via #AmazonCart

June 24, 2014

By Scott Lorenz, Westwind Communications

Scott Lorenz Headshot

A new way to use the power of Amazon and Twitter together was announced recently, and it should help authors sell more books. It's called #AmazonCart and it combines the best elements of Twitter with the shopping and buying power of Amazon.

Here’s how it works: Whenever anyone sees a tweet containing a product on Amazon and wants to purchase that product, they simply reply and type the hashtag #AmazonCart. The product is automatically and seamlessly added to their Amazon shopping cart.

Amazon then responds on Twitter and by email with a message confirming that the item is in the user’s shopping cart. In order to use this tool, which is available only to Twitter users in the United States and the United Kingdom (it’s called #AmazonBasket” in the UK), the user must connect their Twitter account to their Amazon account.

I fully expect that #AmazonCart will be readily accepted and used by impulse buyers, who will appreciate the ability to purchase without navigating to Amazon.com, entering a user name and password, searching for the item, and adding the item to their cart. Now they can simply respond with the hashtag and continue reading and sending tweets. This makes it even easier to buy books and other goods while online, as expressed by the program’s slogan: “Add It Now. Buy It Later.”

Twitter isn’t getting any revenue for adding this feature but is adding the tool as a forerunner of its expected venture into ecommerce in the near future. And the tool does help keep users on Twitter longer. And of course, #AmazonCart is expected to increase revenue for Amazon.

What does this mean for authors? As you promote your book on Twitter, you’ll now want to make sure to add the Amazon URL to all tweets. That’ll make it much easier for people who see the tweet to go ahead and buy. It’s really at the perfect intersection of inspiration and decision—so start doing it today! Start experimenting now with #AmazonCart and become familiar with it as a sales tool, because in the near future Amazon will very likely also make similar deals with Facebook and Google+.

But what about the statistic that upwards of 70 percent of items placed in shopping carts on retail sites don’t make it to checkout? This may be true in some cases, but it’s still important to get your book off the shelf and into the cart. As they say in hockey, you can’t score unless you shoot!

For anyone wanting to use #AmazonCart to sell content, attention must be given to the product description on Amazon’s site. It should contain all the information the consumer needs to push the order button. Beyond the sale, on-page content in Twitter also can result in product reviews or book reviews.

Mediabistro has already tracked the use of #AmazonCart and found that several authors have already begun tweeting Amazon links to encourage their followers to use the new feature.

Goodreads has also taken note of #AmazonCart and suggests that it can be very helpful for self-published authors. “Self-published authors can now use the social media network to sell books directly to their fan base,” stresses Michael Kozlowski, editor-in-chief of Good e-Reader. “Often books are for sale via the Kindle Store or physical titles using Amazon Createspace, or even the audiobook edition via Audible. Authors can now tweet product links out to their followers or pay famous people to endorse the link to their book. This is a brand new marketing vertical that all authors should be embracing.”

The Bottom Line: #AmazonCart will help authors sell books. Start including your Amazon URL in your tweets. Do it today! Watch this video for more information.

 

www.Amazon.com/AmazonCartAbout Book Publicist Scott Lorenz


Book publicist Scott Lorenz is president of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their fifteenth book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA officers, Navy SEALS, homemakers, fitness gurus, doctors, lawyers, and adventurers. His clients have been featured on Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, CNN, ABC News, Nightline, Time, PBS, The Howard Stern Show, and in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and Woman's World, to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communicationsbook marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist.


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Publishing FAQs (Part 5)

June 17, 2014

As part of the Business Development and Consulting teams, I’m the go-to gal for anyone who calls into the office with questions about publishing. I’ve been asked almost every question about publishing that you can imagine, from the mundane to the truly bizarre. I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions, which I am sharing in this series. Today’s question is as follows:


What can I do to give my book the best shot possible when I submit it to a publisher?


Plain and simple: Follow the instructions for submitting a manuscript as laid out by each publisher.

 

Publishers have procedures for submitting for a good reason: to manage their workflow. Publishers receive hundreds of books each month to consider and you are more likely to have your book receive the consideration it deserves if you respect their process.

 

If the publisher requires your piece to be agented, secure an agent. If the publisher requires a special form filled out, fill out that form. If the publisher asks you to only submit printed copies mailed to a particular address in a blue envelope with a big heart doodled on the front in red ink, print a copy of your manuscript and mail it to that address in an blue envelope with a big red heart doodled on the front. You’ll be showing that you’ve done your research and put yourself in their good graces immediately.

 

Following their instructions will also save you time, as well. Publishers who receive an incomplete submission will just ask you to complete it according to their instructions. Save yourself the time and energy of a follow-up call or email and ensure that you’re not risking your submission being put aside because the publisher doesn’t have enough information.

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How to Use Your Messaging to Become an Expert in Your Field

June 10, 2014

Clutter. It annoys us out of the corners of our eyes, irks us at some subconscious level, and overwhelms us in volume. Twitter, radio, television, blogs…it’s easy to get lost in the compost pile of the media. So as the CEO of a publishing company, the $64,000 question I often hear experts and authors ask is, “How do we cut through this clutter to be seen and heard?”

Start by ensuring that your message is relevant and differentiated. What specific areas of your expertise do people consistently draw on? How is your approach or philosophy different from that of your closest competitors? Once you’ve refined your unique positioning, boil the value proposition down into a succinct elevator pitch. I’ve seen retail buyers, literary agents, publicists, and the media make decisions on a pitch after about two sentences. If you can’t explain the “brand of you” in ten seconds, your message isn’t strong enough.

Now that you have your positioning solidified, start building your platform. Platform refers to your ability to reach and resonate with people. Just like a physical platform, it serves to elevate. In this sense, it’s elevating you and your message over the clutter.

Building your platform requires content, and here’s the big tip I’d offer to build strong platform messaging: Don’t lose your content! You need every bit of it to redistribute and heighten your platform. Keep a record of your newsletter tips, blog posts, radio and TV interviews, lecture recordings, etcetera. Create your own system to tag your content by subject area to come up with a messaging matrix for easy syndication.

Once you have your content arsenal ready to go, there are a number of ways to get the most use out of it. A few best practices:

1. Write a book. Writing a book makes you instantly credible. There are publishing options available to meet every author’s goals, but do your homework to make sure you’re not publishing under a model that could hurt your reputation.

2. Syndicate. Take pieces of content from your book, newsletters, blogs, etc and get them out there. Offer to post regular content for relevant newsletters and websites. Get your video clips on YouTube and your slide decks on SlideShare. Post your most helpful content as responses to questions on sites like Quora. All of it helps to build your visibility and authority.

3. Speak. Research speaking engagements inside and outside of your industry where your message might resonate. If you’re new to speaking, start by offering to moderate panels at local conferences. You’ll soon graduate to breakout sessions, and if you’re good, you’ll eventually land lucrative keynote addresses that generate tons of word of mouth. I’ve seen high-profile speaking gigs like TED talks open many doors for additional speaking and media coverage.

4. Brag. If you’ve been featured in national print, your website should mention it (“As featured in…”). Same goes for awards, TV and radio interviews and high-profile speaking engagements. Also be sure to share that news with your client base and incorporate it into your sales collateral.

Establishing your authority as an expert may seem like a daunting task, but bear in mind that the explosion of media channels means more talking heads are needed to fill programming and content needs. Strategize on the front end to be sure you’re filling an unmet or under-met need. Then, put a team in place to help you execute the bullet points above. In a perfect world, you’ll be too busy juggling demands for your expertise to deal with those things. Finally, maintain your platform. Strive to stay ahead of the curve and remain the enduring thought leader in your space. It’s hard work, but the benefits are priceless.

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Happy Pub Day!

June 3, 2014

All of us at Greenleaf Book Group send congratulations and best wishes to our authors who have books launching in June.

 

Where the Rivers Run North by Sam Morton

 

The Mobile Mind Shift by Julie Ask

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Publishing FAQs (Part 4)

May 27, 2014

As part of the Business Development and Consulting teams, I’m the go-to gal for anyone who calls into the office with questions about publishing. I’ve been asked almost every question about publishing that you can imagine, from the mundane to the truly bizarre. I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions, which I am sharing in this series. Today’s question is as follows:


What are publishers really looking for?


The first thing publishers will look at when reviewing your manuscript is the core content.

 

For fiction, some questions publishers might ask are: Is the story compelling or imaginative? Are characters flawed in a way that is relatable? Does the story have a clear purpose or moral lesson (in the case of children’s fiction)? Can the author communicate emotion clearly?

 

For non-fiction, publishers may ask: Is the content of this book unique, presented from a different angle or explained in a new way? Is the information it’s delivering important to the audience? Is the content timely?

 

Publishers will also consider other, perhaps less obvious factors before they accept a manuscript. For example:

- What is the potential market for this book? Is the audience evergreen, or is the book written to match the current trends of the market?

- Does the author have the appropriate qualifications to be talking about this subject? This is very important for non-fiction books. Think about it this way: would you rather buy a book about resolving issues in a relationship from a licensed marriage counselor or someone whose profession is entirely unrelated to the topic, like an accountant?

- What is the author doing to bring attention to the book or to their brand? Marketing and/or publicity campaigns are always great to see. It shows you are committed to the book, willing to put your time and energy behind it to make it successful, and that it is more than just the outcome of a hobby. Remember: once you put your book into the market, your book is no longer just a hobby or form of expression. It is a business.

 

Publishers are also interested in seeing if you have an existing platform: an audience that is already aware of your brand and would be interested in your book. For example, a vegan food blogger with 5,000 active and engaged followers wants to write a cookbook. These followers are the blogger’s established platform, and it is likely that many of them will want to buy a copy of the cookbook. The blogger has also established credentials in the space, having updated his food blog regularly with meaningful content and become a resource for people who are seeking new vegan recipes.

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