How Self-Publishers Can Maximize their Amazon Sales
Most Christian self or Indy publishers are selling their books on Amazon.com. They use the Amazon.com Advantage program which lets them sell on consignment for an annual membership fee. Amazon.com pays you every 30 days for books sold.
There is one major disadvantage in the Advantage program, and that is the people who buy your book are Amazon customers, and not your customers. One of the best ways to build up a self-publishing business is to have the contact data, particularly the e-mail addresses of people who buy your book, so that you can up sell them or offer new products in the future. The Advantage program eliminates that possibility.
How to Optimize Sales
That issue aside, you can benefit from optimizing your Amazon.com book listings. Here are five things that will help increase your sales.
• Ask satisfied customers to write and post a review on Amazon.com. There is no question about it — good reviews sell books. Get as many good reviews as you can. Christian authors may sometimes suffer the indignities of bad reviews that are totally unwarranted. If you get reviews from people who look not read the book, or who express bigotry in any way, you should contact Amazon.com because they will remove inappropriate reviews. Notice I did not say they would remove bad reviews — only those that are derogatory and other ways.
• Make sure that you provide a sensational description of your book and a detailed table of contents. Be sure to include the publisher’s quotes that Amazon.com allows you to include.
• Pay attention to the ranking of your book. Consumers may not care about it but you can be sure that bookstores, libraries, wholesalers and distributors have their eye on it. The lower the number, the better. Generally, if you’re doing any kind of book promotion, such as radio interviews, you will see your book rise in the ratings almost immediately.
• Take advantage of the “Favorites” section. Add your book to the list along with some other books you may like. Don’t be afraid to use the rating system either — rate your own book and ask others to give you a five star rating too.
• Participate in the Amazon.com “Look Inside” program. Many self-published authors are afraid of giving away their material in this way, but it is really no different than allowing someone to pick up your book and proves it in a bookstore. The “Look Inside” program will help you sell more books.
Consider Amazon Marketplace
Besides the Amazon Advantage program you can also utilize Amazon Marketplace. You can use it to sell books exclusively to reduce Amazon.com’s 55% cut, or you can use it just to sell slightly defective copies that might have come back to you as returns. Normally, you sell them for a couple dollars less than retial in the Marketplace, and you may even autograph them to make them more desirable. The Amazon.com Marketplace is the one area where you will be able to collect customer names and contact information since you handle shipping.
The other Amazon.com program that you want to register for is the Is Amazon Associates. You get a commission for every book sold. Some authors do not want to deal with shipping books and so they put an Amazon associate link to their book on their own website and Amazon.com handles the entire transaction. Using this method means they only end up paying Amazon.com a 50% commission, rather than 55%, and every little bit helps.
Amazon.com has other programs that you can learn about here.
Dealing with Amazon.com can be frustrating. They do not have a telephone hotline you can call when you have problems and the canned e-mails they send you in reply can be frustrating, but Amazon.com is the big dog on the block. You need to use all the techniques you can find to maximize the sales available through them.