Hi guys, If you have written a book(s) and are selling it on Amazon.com, I would like to know what you think of the process? My sister has self-published a book and is a little overwhelmed about how to sell the book on Amazon. Any help will be very appreciated!
I have a couple of books that I self-published and now sell on Amazon. I would advise that the most important thing to do is to set up an author page through Amazon's Author Central platform. Also, I noticed that Goodreads and Amazon have teamed up, so I set up an author page on Goodreads, too.
I don't think anyone actually "sells" anything on Amazon. The book has to be found in order for it to be purchased. Once I set my mind to that concept, I took a different approach about marketing my books. The description of the book must be enticing. Let readers know what they will accomplish by reading the book. When describing the book, use keywords that readers would use when they are searching for a book like the book you wrote.
If possible, make a Kindle version of the book. A lot of people prefer reading books through Kindle. When a book is converted to a Kindle version, both the regular version and the Kindle version of the book is offered for sale through Amazon. It is a good way to reach additional readers and boost sales.
First and foremost, my best advice is to set up a dynamic author page on both Amazon and Goodreads. Second, write a dynamic description of the book.
You can find lots of advice here:
Goodreads is great and I recently published a hub that features 10 other sites like Goodreads. These sites are great to establish a presence and engage like minded readers and authors. Selling books on Amazon as a self published or indie author is not a one size fits all subject. There are too many things to consider without knowing what genre, length, style factors, etc.
There are certain things you can do on Amazon to draw attention to a book, such as using keywords in the right place and making sure the book is categorized correctly and when that is done then the focus has to be made offsite.
Virtual book tours, guest blog posts and interviews on book blogs, getting as many reviews as possible, and writing more books. Authors that only have one book to offer are going to struggle.. especially if it is fiction. Non fiction authors have other avenues they can follow and sale funnels they can build. Fiction authors can do this too but they need at least 3 books in a series to build a good sales funnel.
Richard - I should know this, I guess, but I thought Goodreads was primarily a site for reviews?
Regarding selling on Amazon - to my amazement, some professional writers I know have said regular publishers are still the way to go. They continue to look for new and good talent. And, of course, they will publish the e-version of a book as well.
Goodreads is a site for all things related to books. Many indie authors use it as a platform to do giveaways as a marketing scheme to illicit book reviews. Goodreads is also a great site for book discovery because authors can tag their books and members can add them to their virtual shelves and when someone does a keyword term search they may discover a new author... that is the hope anyway for indie authors.
The way you publish your book is a matter of perspective. What do you want out of it? In my opinion, self publishing is the way to go. I read that 90 percent of traditionally published authors sell less than 1000 copies of their books and only earn about 20% of royalties, plus they still have to do the bulk of the marketing. Indie authors need to to 100% of their own marketing but they can enjoy up to 70% of the profits. You have total creative control and no deadlines to meet other than your own.
Plus, once you build up your author platform and can show that you have a dedicated fan base, it would be much easier to find a traditional publisher. Read up on Amanda Hocking and other self published success stories.
I've read the Amanda Hocking story - she's such a great success story - I love to see someone be successful when publishers have turned them down. She deserves her rewards - sweet young woman, and although her books might not be loved by everyone, they do have a loyal audience.
Good for her!
You can list yourself as an author on Goodreads.
I think that traditional publishers are still a good way to go, and will be my preference IF I ever get my novel finished. The trouble with ebooks is that the market is so saturated, and because so many authors publish without the benefit of an editor, there is far more dross in the ebook market than in a traditional book store.
I saw a survey recently which showed that ebooks haven't taken over the market as much as people predicted.
I did list myself as an author on Goodreads...so far, it has not helped. Getting a traditional publisher to take your book is very difficult, especially if you do not have a "name" or an agent.
Yes, I realise it's very difficult and i can imagine it would be even more difficult for a book like yours, which is a real life memoir rather than fiction. However as you've found, it's all very well to publish an ebook but that doesn't mean anyone will buy it - it's got exactly the same challenges as a Hub or a blog, getting found by Google etc.
There are several sites which are midway between a traditional publisher and an ebook publisher, and I will be targeting those.
There are several such publishers if you write romance or erotica. They are ebook or print-on-demand publishers BUT they are very selective about what they accept. The usually specialise in one topic so they build an audience of readers who will come back and browse their catalogue time and time again.
It's harder to find that type of publisher if you're writing in other fields.
Marisa - your point about the poor quality of many ebooks is the exact reason traditional publishers are still a force, and they're looking for new talent. The published authors who encouraged me to pursue that route pointed out that exact thing.
Thanks for clarifying that authors can get themselves listed on Goodreads - I knew that, but I had somehow thought one comment suggested you could buy books there.
I recently wrote an article that describes the process and what I went through to get my book published. Your sister can find it on my profile slider. Others have read it and have found it helpful. Good luck.
I have sold one of my books on Amazon since I began at the end of 2014. Search for Amazon kindle self publish and Amazon create space and the site will guide you step-by-step on how to go about it just like what happens here on Hubpages.
Make sure she writes good summary on the topic.
I'm just in the process of publishing for the first time on Amazon, and so far, I have no problems with feeling overwhelmed. I guess what you really need to do, is read everything, not skim over it, to make sure you understand everything. I have heard a lot of good feedback from others on self publishing on Kindle, and all of it was good.
I have authored several hubs that deal with this somewhat. I have over 50 books published through Createspace and all are listed on Amazon. Some do quite well, and others??? I also have them on Kindle and I am in the process of creating audio versions. If you need any more advice, just contact me.
That's amazing! How do you market your books? I only have one and am having trouble getting it discovered, even though I had a giveaway early on. You must write constantly to have created all of yours. I have thought about doing an audio version, but am not sure I want to commit because I understand you have to stay in Kindle Select to do that. Am I correct?
I just pump them everywhere I can. I also bought copies and sold them to bookstores here in Puerto Rico. Book signings and give-aways work too. As for the audio, here is a link for it: https://www.acx.com
Always look at all marketing avenues. Use a link to your book on Amazon as a signature on emails and forum posts. There are tons of ways. The book that I have as my best seller was geared toward military--Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory and Honor.
(get the hint, I just marketed my book.) LOL
Thanks, that's great info. I no longer have hard copies of my book as I published it originally more than 30 years ago. Not sure if I want Amazon to convert it for me or not as I'm not the best at marketing my work. In the old days I was written up in newspapers and magazines across the country and even did a radio talk show, sold 300 copies before I decided I wanted to become a cross country trucker instead lol! How are the audio sales going?
I am awaiting my first audio to get ok'd. I had to work with it a lot since my voice sounds like a frog--hence my nickname. I started with one of my better sellers: The Telemarketers Handbook.
I think you should go into Createspace and make yours a hard-copy again. The key is formatting it correctly. I also wrote a book on how to do that.
Good luck. Sales will come.
I didn't realize you would have to narrate your own book...geesh, Amazon wants you to do everything! I have no idea as to how to format for Createspace. I had all I could do to format for the ebook lol!
Once you learn how, it really is not all that difficult to format. http://www.amazon.com/Format-Write-Publ … mp;sr=1-51
As for the audio, you can put it out for hire. You may even want to propose it on Elance or somewhere like that. Read through the audio site. They have people willing to do it for you for a cut or a straight payment.
Amazon is a store. They sell whatever product a person wants to make. There is no obligation for them to help you make it, although for ebooks and print books they do provide some helpful tools.
Yes, I realize that now but did not at first. I thought with all the effort it takes to write a book from which they can also earn they would be able to help more with marketing than they do. It was disappointing.
unless you land a book deal with a fairly large publisher no one is going to help much with marketing your book. There are a lot of ways you can increase your marketing reach though, create an authors facebook page for yourself and pump it, submit your book to review sites (but not one's that charge a fee, never for a fee), get a table at farmers markets and sell your book directly, go to your local book stores and ask if they'll carry the book. Listing on Amazon is great, but (as you have discovered) can be a hassle as well, especially for small self published books.
TT2 - have you looked on eBay for your book (it sounds like you no longer have a copy of it)?
I've self-published three books on Amazon, and I wrote a Hub about how to market them:
http://laura335.hubpages.com/hub/Tips-f … ished-Book
As for publishing, I use CreateSpace. It took me weeks to play around with that site and figure out how to design and format my first book, but once I got the hang of it, I wrote it all down so that the other books went more smoothly. Over a year later, I'm still promoting my books. It's a slow, ongoing process, but if she loves to write, every sale will be worth it.
I have one book that I am just ordering the first proof from CreateSpace, and the second I am in the editing process of, the third is just in planning stages. I once ran a publishing house with some friends we published four books before folding, self published through a local print company and had them listed on Amazon and a few other sites. If you publish through CreateSpace listing on Amazon is easy, if you publish other methods it can be a bit trickier.
The Kindle and Creativeness processes are pretty orderly if you just approach it one step at a time. The forums there are good for working out any problems.
It's not an either/or situation. I have one book with a large press, two with a medium trade press, several with epublishers and two self-published, one of those with a paperback version. Whatever will work best for that book.
I have also published an ebook on Kindle only recently. Its only 10 days old. However for the first five days i gave it for free and would be repeating the process again. I saw that many people bought the free version of the book. I am just experimenting right now and definitely experienced writers here would have their success stories to tell.
Good question with many good answers. I was ready to publish a book and went through one of the vanity self-publishing companies. They sent me 3 pages of questions as to what was to be expected of me. Surprise!! After I reviewed all 3 pages I said to myself, "Why bother hiring this company? By the time I do all that is expected of me I may as well sell my book." Folks, that is what it takes to sell your book. You have to know how to promote, advertise, and market your own book. You cannot depend on the publisher to do it for you. If you know for certain that you will be publishing your book; work backwards. Start preparing your mailing list of potential customers. Pre-advertise. Get your author page out there for the public and start a following. Develop a marketing plan that will be successful. This will take some research and experimenting. The question that remains is "Are you ready to sell?" When you start receiving orders get your book published. How do you cover yourself? Use the statement...Due to a heavy demand there will be a 6 week waiting list. Your book has been placed on the back order list. As you receive your books from the publisher mail them out to the paid customer as soon as possible. If you want your books to sell. You do the selling, do not depend on the publisher.
If you mean that you can do everything a vanity publisher can do, then yes I agree. Vanity publishers have always been a scam and a rip-off.
However traditional publishers - the ones who won't charge you a penny to publish your book - are still worth pursuing, because they are the only ones who can get your book into high street bookstores across the country. That's still important.
They're not worth pursuing unless you first have an agent. An agent will determine if your book is worth publishing and will not pick you up unless it is. If published by a traditional publisher, your books will not get into bookstores unless you also have a publicist. It is a huge mistake to think that a traditional publisher is going to carry the entire load for an unproven, unrepresented author. They're good for printing, shipping, storage, and buy-backs but the author is and always has been responsible for marketing.
Sure, it may get easier once you are established as a competent author but only because you will have hired a team to do the bulk of the work of writing reviews, setting up live and virtual book tours, advertising in print and online, social media exposure, and publicity interviews. A traditional publisher will not do all of that until you can prove your book can pull a profit, though it can open doors that are normally closed to self published authors.
Traditional vs Non-Traditional publishing depends on your own energy level and expectation of earnings.. The most successful authors are what we call hybrids because they do both but the order they have done them is not always the same. I know several self published authors that have been picked up by large publishing companies only after they have proven themselves... which opened the gates to foreign translations.
No matter what path you take to publish, you will take the bulk of the responsibility to market your book. If you're not up to the task then don't be surprised when your book only sells to a few friends and family members.
Believe it or not, there are still some publishing houses which accept direct submissions. And it's not impossible to get an agent, either. It's also a fact that although getting into bookstores with a traditional publisher isn't guaranteed, at least it's possible - whereas if you self-publish it's impossible.
I'm not saying traditional publishers are the only option but it's also wrong to say "ignore them" or "don't even bother trying".
Self published authors can and do get their books into bookstores... it is not impossible if you follow the guidelines of getting an ISBN and by filling out the Advance Book Information form (ABI) to get listed in Books In Print (the main directory through which booksellers order books).
I'm not saying that either, I'm saying that no matter which route you take, the author is going to carry the load of the work. IMHO if I'm going to carry the load of the work then I'm also going to get the larger percentage of the royalties.... that's not going to happen with a traditional publisher when they are responsible for printing, storing, shipping, and buy backs for books. As a self published author all of that would be on my shoulders but using a Print on Demand service would still come out better than what a large publisher would charge.
When you say they are less than what a large publisher would charge ... charge who?
You.... Self published authors can earn up to 70% of the royalties where traditionally published authors will realize less than 20% because the publisher will require the majority of royalties to cover losses. Your book may be a success with a traditional publisher but the publisher still needs to cover losses from other authors and that is how they do it.
IMHO there is nothing wrong on depending on a publisher to do these things. For example, I published my textbook with one of the largest and most respected textbook publishers in the world. This caused it to get picked up by libraries and lecturers without me ever needing to lift a finger.
You choose the publishing path that fits the work, your goals etc. That may well be going with a publisher.
If you wish to get widely carried in book stores Lightning Source is the only self-publishing service that has demonstrated the ability to reliably do this. The others generally depend on consignment and special order processes. There is a reason why most highly successful self-publishers emphasize ebooks.
As royalties are what the publisher pays the author, self-published authors surely earn 100% of royalties by definition?
FWIW I published both ways and I make more cash on hand from books placed with publishers -- the volume effect
The only way a self published author earns 100% of the royalties is by selling books from their own website because no online portal is going to list them without taking a cut, surely you know that?
And publishing textbooks is not a profitable venture for a self published author, its not even that profitable for a traditionally published author so if you're earning less with your self published books then you're not doing something right... the wrong format, wrong genre, wrong marketing strategy.
I think people are using words in this thread to mean different things and I'm wondering if it's worth clarifying what we're all talking about
There's traditional publishing meaning an established publishing house whose books you see in proper bookshops. They either agree a contract via an agent for you to publish your book or they commission you to write a book (latter is what happened to me - and happened because I write a successful blog with a high profile)
There's self-publishing via the traditional route BUT this is NOT traditional publishing.
This is where you act as the client and pay to publish your own book i.e. you contract with a traditional PRINTER to get your book published as tangible hardback and/or paperback and then you need to do all the marketing/distribution yourself
There's self-publishing via the newer self-publishing pay-to-print houses such as Blurb, Lulu and CreateSpace which means the book is uploaded online and is much easier than dealing with a traditional printer - but it's still essentially you paying to get your book published and you who has to do all the marketing - with some help from their associated distribution channels
There's self-publishing via various ebook sites - same principle as the last one - the only difference being the output is a digital ebook rather than a print publication. (BTW Good luck to all those writing digital ebooks and living in Europe following the recent changes in VAT from place of supply to place of consumption! Having to register for VAT in every country you sell to is my idea of a total nightmare!)
Then there's vanity publishing i.e. you do a deal with a publishing house who say they will make life easy for you and publish your book when actually their income stream comes from taking your fee not selling your book. Totally not worth it.
I very much agree that the different routes to publication (except the last one) are suitable for different types of products. You will do much better financially from self-publishing via a reputable route for very niche interests which the major publishers simply won't touch - so long as you are super organised and are prepared to do the marketing and distribution and ensure the book is very accessible.
However nobody should be under any illusion that "proper" authors whose books are published via the traditional publishing route don't have to do marketing! I have a friend who is a VERY successful author of young adult fiction (New York Times best seller list / prizewinning / published in 35+ languages etc) with a major publisher and she does constant book tours inbetween writing her books and has to be hugely well organised to meet all the deadlines and do all the marketing commitments at the same time as raising her family - and planning her next book!
Re ebooks - the sites for selling these are becoming absolutely saturated with all the people who previously aspired to become authors but used to pursue the vanity route. There is such a lot of rubbish on Amazon it's like a total quagmire in certain categories. If you read any sites on "how to do it" do make a point of checking out the Amazon ranking of their books - it tells you an awful lot about just how well they are at doing it themselves!
Also if you are an author and your book is on Amazon be very careful how you behave and read the Amazon Author terms and conditions several times! There are rules and you do need to observe them. Amazon had a major purge a while back of all the authors and things that people got up to in an effort to get their books sold. They are very wise about some of the things authors get up to. I was doing reviews for my blog at the time and routinely checked certain categories for new books re. the competition and suddenly noticed really massive changes in the way books were ranking and how well they were doing in terms of star ratings etc.
I'm still very much a believer in writing while remembering to market. The two things need to walk hand in hand at all times. I just find it a lot easier to do via a blog and that's how I got my book deal.
Yes self-publishing does tend to work well in a niche area. I am working on a non-fiction monograph now that I think will fill a niche. It will be my first book under the Psyche Skinner name.
by Dani Alicia 8 years ago
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