Are you using Amazon Author Central? If not, why? It’s an excellent author-friendly tool that can be used to promote your book and your platform that only takes minutes to setup. If you have more than one book, it’s a central location where an Amazon shopper can find your entire bibliography in one place. How’s that for an easy way to cross-promote your work?
Amazon Author Central allows authors to create a custom profile that customers then use to learn about the author and make purchases. The content you can place on your Author Central page includes:
- A bio—Tell readers a little bit about yourself so they'll connect with you as a person.
- Photos—Include your author photo and any other images your readers may like to see, perhaps your workspace or things that inspired your writing.
- Video—Want to get that trailer up on Amazon? Uploading it here only takes a few minutes!
- Events—Want to drive traffic to your speaking engagements and readings? Advert them here.
- Blog feed—Linking your blog to your Author Central page is just another way to grow your list of blog followers and give readers more of what they want: a connection to you as an author!
- Twitter feed—Extend your social media outreach even further by displaying your tweets on your author page.
Recently, Author Central began providing weekly sales data from Nielsen BookScan (a service that tracks sales of print books in stores across the country) for free to authors who sell their books on Amazon. You can view your sales data in a variety of ways. Amazon gives you a basic total from BookScan and shows how many units more or less you sold compared with the previous week. They also visually display your most recent four to eight weeks of sales data on a map of the United States. Alongside that display you will find a list of geographic areas from New York to Los Angeles and the number of books you sold in each.
Access to BookScan data can help you determine whether your publicity efforts are paying off, and tells you what markets you have the most demand in so you can amp up your promotion accordingly.
Finally, for those who like to keep tabs on their Amazon sales rank, the sales data tab displays a line graph of your book’s sales rank history on Amazon and tells you what your current rank is. As with all sales rankings on Amazon, the data is updated hourly.
You can also use Author Central to modify the description of your book listing on Amazon or write a message directly to your readers.
We encourage all of our authors to create an Amazon Author Central page. Even William Shakespeare has an Author Central page. It has to be cool.
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On a recent trip to the Mohegan Sun casino, it occurred to me that many similarities exist in one’s approach to gambling and book publicity. I’ve working in this field for over two decades, and I’m constantly drawing mental parallels between promoting books and the other areas of my life. But this gambling connection proved particularly fruitful, so I put together a few truths that are just as applicable to your campaign as they are in the casino.
1. Don’t bet what you can’t afford to lose. Lesson: Invest your time and resources to support your book, but don’t mortgage your house or quit your day job to do so.
2. Never put all of your chips on one bet. Lesson: Don’t pin your hopes and dreams on one particular media outlet. Go after big, medium, and small wins. They all add up.
3. Diversify your efforts and play more than one type of game. Lesson: Don’t focus all of your efforts solely on blogging or TV interviews. Instead, approach a number of media, both local and national—radio, print, radio, and online.
4. Be aware that the odds are not stacked in your favor. Despite that, the only way to win it is to be in it. Lesson: You need to catch a lucky break, and it can only happen when you get off the sidelines and play the game.
5. Look before you leap. Watch the betting strategies of others before you play. Lesson: Observe the campaigns that result in the big successes, learn, and then live it.
6. Don’t bet on something you don’t understand or feel comfortable with. Lesson: Only market and promote in a way you feel secure in; otherwise, hire a professional or avoid it.
7. Enjoy the win. Celebrate! Lesson: When you do experience success in your PR and marketing efforts, celebrate it and value the moment.
8. Play the hot hand. Lesson: It may be luck or skill or being in the right place at the right time, but whatever it is, keep doing what works until it doesn’t.
9. Take a risk—the reward can be huge. Some bet on the long shot knowing that if they win, they’ll get a huge payoff. Lesson: Take a chance on the long shots publicity opportunities—the big-name holy grails of book promotion—and enjoy the reward if it comes through.
10. Know when to walk away. In gambling, the more time spent betting, the more likely you’ll lose. In marketing and PR, the opposite is true—you need to keep at it to have a chance at success. Lesson: In either scenario, assess where you’re at regularly and know when it’s time to call it quits.
In case you were wondering: I won fifty bucks at the Mohegan Sun’s roulette wheel—after being down $250. I got to walk away feeling like a winner.