Marketing Kindle Books: Resources for New e-Book Authors
Tips for Improving your Kindle book marketing
If you're a newly published author of Kindle e-books, here are tips and resources to help you market your books and boost your Amazon rankings.
You'll find book reviews, a growing list of sites for your KDP promotions, ideas on how to create a Squidoo page for your book, information about Amazon's Author Central, a reminder (and a place) to tweet your free promotions, and a whole lot more.
My name's Barbara Casey and I'm the author and self-publisher of three Kindle e-books (so far). I'm learning the ropes of marketing Kindle books because I'd love to earn my living as a writer... and that means selling loads of books at $.99 each.
I'm known at "The Tutorial Lady" because of the how-to lessons I've been posting on my blog and website for the past 10 years... so as I learn, I like to teach.
This tutorial represents my continuing research on how self-published authors can get higher rankings and more attention on Amazon.com. Not to mention more dollars in our pockets. One thing I discovered as I started looking for Kindle marketing resources was... there aren't many good ones. The Kindle e-reader hasn't been around all that long and the marketing information seems to be all over the place.
I'm new enough at this that I'm focusing solely on Kindle and Amazon to start with. There was enough of a learning curve just figuring out how to format my tutorials for Kindle, never mind for Nook and the other e-readers out there.
Writing is an art, and for many of us, it's also a business. This is the business part. I sure hope you find some useful tips here!
Don't forget to bookmark this page. I'll be adding to it frequently. Cheers!
I wish I had read Michael Alvear's book BEFORE I published my first 3 Kindle books - Get the basics of marketing your Kindle books here... and then some... with
Here's my review of Alvear's book. This book is a good place to start your Kindle marketing journey.
Michael Alvear's Kindle book "Make a Killing on Kindle" approaches e-book marketing a little differently than the other articles and books I've read and so I found myself taking lots of notes on the points I wanted to remember... and try for myself.
Unlike everyone else, Alvear does NOT tell you to make a splash on social networks to promote your first book. Instead, he focuses on 3 things: (1) Attracting loads of people to your book's page at Amazon.com, (2) Getting your visitors' attention once they've landed on your book's page at Amazon.com and (3) Converting your visitors to buyers of your e-book.
One tip I found particularly eye-opening was to "mirror the pace and tone of your book" when writing your descriptive blurb for your book's sales page. He also tells you in quite a lot of detail how to optimize your book title, description and keyword phrases for the Amazon search engines - the idea being to end up on page 1 of Amazon's search results for your keywords. Oh, yes... and you'll learn a method for ethically mentioning your books on your competitors' Amazon pages.
I have other books on my "to-read" list, but this one would have really helped me get more sales more quickly had it been published 3-4 months ago when my e-books went online. Glad I found it before I publish my next book.
Here's where I started instead
J. A. Konrath has lots to teach us about e-book publishing
When I Googled e-book marketing early in 2012, as my new books were just hitting the Kindle shelves, one name kept coming up over and over: Joe Konrath.
J. A. Konrath has been published via both traditional and self-published channels and he is now opting for the method that gives him more personal control over his product, his marketing... and his income. And that's self publishing.
The link above takes you to a 1000+ page Kindle book he compiled from years of blog posts. I suggest you take a look at the chapter called "E-books" and then head over to Konrath's blog where you can subscribe to all his updates. It's worth it.
Click here to visit J. A. Konrath's blog on e-book publishing. The blog doesn't include categories, so just poke around until you find what you're looking for. There will be gems on every page. For example, click here to read the post about how he made $100,000 in 3 weeks at Amazon.
Don't forget to check out Kindle Unlimited
Members of KDP Select have the option of participating in the NEW Kindle Unlimited program.
Readers pay a monthly fee; KDP Select authors receive part of the KDP Select Global Fund, rather than a royalty on a direct sale. Amazon is promoting Kindle Unlimited heavily right now, so it might make sense to give it a try.
A series of books I can honestly recommend - Good info - no hype - my kind of book
I just discovered Steve Scott's books on marketing your Kindle books and found his approach very refreshing, after all the drivel I've been reading on how to "beat the Amazon system." I've already downloaded 5 of his ebooks, but will review just one here.
Scott's book is more than worth its 99 cent price for his discussion on book pricing... and how to best use the KDP Select free promotional days. Is $.99 the New Free? The Truth About Launching and Pricing Your Kindle Books
I made a bunch of notes while reading this book. I like Steve Scott's approach a lot. He respects (the integrity of) the writers he's speaking to, for one thing. And he offers useful info.
One thing I didn't know before was that only 10% of a book gets included in the "Look Inside the Book" feature. So if you have short e-books like mine, you only get to see 3-4 pages. In that case, it's worth putting your "front matter" at the back of the book so your potential readers can at least see your Table of Contents.
He makes sound suggestions on how to use your Author Central page to best advantage and outlines how and why he prices his books the way he does.
I've quickly become a fan of Steve Scott's sensible advice. And his books are reasonably priced so you can check him out without a huge cash investment.
I wish I were a fiction writer so I could try John Locke's method. It actually sounds like fun. I like the idea of creating characters that people care about ... so much so that you can't wait to find out what happens to them - book after book after book.
A lot of writers will find the methodology - and Locke's approach to writing books - formulaic... and it is. That's his entire point. He doesn't leave any part of the sales process to chance - including the likeability of his heroes and heroines.
Here's my review of John Locke's "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!" - Bottom line: You'll learn a lot about building customer loyalty and repeat sales
John Locke makes it very clear from the outset: he's not the best writer in the world, but he may very well be the top marketer of e-books. He has developed a marketing system which actually dictates the way he writes and the audience he seeks. And, to judge by his results... it works. He also rips shreds out of the typical book marketing methods espoused by many book marketing authors. This could save you time and money if you get nothing else out of Locke's book.
Locke is first and foremost a businessman. His "hobby" is writing novels. He tackles his hobby, however, as if it were a business enterprise. This point is hammered home over and over in this, his first how-to book about how he sells lots of books. And I should mention that you will learn a lot about marketing e-books if you pay attention to his methods.
The essential point John Locke makes is that a writer should know - and understand - his or her audience before putting the first words onto a page. This has always been true for non-fiction books, but Locke insists that, if you want to sell lots of books in your fiction genre - you must know what your audience wants... and give it to them... over and over. If you create a character that captures the hearts of your readers, you want to continue giving them what they expect and enjoy. Locke talks about depth rather than breadth of a series following. It's much easier selling to people who already like your work than to keep finding new readers for each book you write.
One thing I liked about Locke's book was his generosity in sharing his ideas. If you read his book and can translate his methods to your own circumstances, there really isn't any reason you couldn't duplicate his results. Of course, you need an engaging hero or heroine to be the linchpin around which your marketing efforts revolve. You need to take time to research the types of people who "get" what your character is all about. And you need to continue to feed them what they want... if you want them to buy every book in your series - and, according to Locke - you must write a series... and pretty doggone quickly at that.
Locke does advocate creating blogs for your books - but his approach is unlike anybody else's I've read. And he does advocate the use of Twitter to reach your audience... but again, with his own twist... and a very targeted plan.
Don't forget to set up your Amazon author page
Kindle writers need a good-looking author page
Once you have published your first book on Amazon, you'll be encouraged to set up your author page. This is more about you than about your books, so make it personal, yet professional-looking. Your books will automatically link to your page, but you can also add the RSS feeds for your blogs and include your Twitter feed as well.
You'll want to upload a decent photo of yourself (that's me staring you in the face here). Plus, there's a mini-forum where you can start a discussion about... well... anything.
Your author page links directly to your books' sales pages, so any chance you get, make sure to include your author page link in email signatures, on your websites, blogs and Squidoo lenses and even in your press releases. Just make sure your Author Central page looks good and tells your story in an engaging way.
I've seen Author Central pages of well-known writers that looked abandoned... as if the writers did not know that this resource existed. Well, it does... and now you know, too. (I didn't at first, which is why I'm mentioning it.)
Create your Amazon Author Page here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/
More Resources for Writers - Helpful tools for the writing (and self-publishing) life
- Printable To-Do List for Kindle Free Days
Here's a downloadable to-do list template to keep track of your Kindle Select book promotions. It's available as a PDF document or an Excel spreadsheet.
- The Book Marketing Network
A free membership network for book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers. Make sure to join the forum started by John Kremer called "Authors Working Together to Sell More Books."
Goodreads has an Author Program that is completely free and is designed to help authors reach their target audience: passionate readers. Promote your books, find reviewers, see whose books are hot... and more.
- Writers of Non-Fiction Group on Facebook
If you're a non-fiction writer, I recommend highly that you request to join this Facebook group formed by author and marketing consultant Denise Michaels. A great group for tips, motivation and a chance to share your work.
- DailyFreeBooks : Get the latest free ebooks for Kindle every day at Daily Free Books
This site offers freebies daily... but it's on this resource list because of its Kindle Users' Forum. There's an "Authors' Chat" where you can learn more from the writers' side of Kindling.
- Radio Publicity
Did you know that American radio stations need more than 10,000 guests every day? Alex Carroll is an expert on how to get radio publicity for your books - without paying for radio advertising. Get his free list of 20 radio outlets.
- Kindle Books & Money on BlogTalk Radio
Kindle obsessed readers will love this show. Join Heidi White for recs on the next best seller, author interviews and more. Authors get tips on making more money.
Announce Your Freebies on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter
Where else do you work and play?
Make sure to announce your free downloads on all of the social networks where you have a presence.
Also, don't forget your blogs, websites and online writing platforms. People like free stuff and this is one way to let people who (kind of) know you to get a sample of your work. If they like it, they'll be more likely to actually BUY your next e-book... and the next.
Don't Miss Out on KDP's Kindle FREE Promotion Days
Your book could be promoted on thousands of websites that offer free Kindle books.
If you join Amazon's KDP Select, you have the option of offering your books free for 5 days in every 90-day period. There's a lot of work involved, but it's usually worth it. Most people see a boost in sales because your page rankings improve, depending on how many free downloads your books receive.
What's really cool is... a lot of websites (including my blog) display these Amazon search boxes, so your book could be showing up in places you don't even know about. Also, there are many sites that promote Kindle freebie days.
See below for some of the resources I use to promote my free days... and some of the opportunities I'm missing because I've got more background work to do - like get reviews for my e-books.
Make sure to plan ahead if you use these sites. They want 1-2 weeks lead time, because of the volume of books that are submitted to them. And most of the sites only showcase a handful of free books a day.
Here are popular sites that can publicize your book's free days
- Buck Books Daily Deals
Part of the Archangel Ink group, Buck Books' daily emails feature lots of books and courses for authors. Because they've become so popular, submissions are closed for now. May be worth publishing through them to get your promos to their email list.
- Free and Bargain Kindle Books | Pixel of Ink
I'd love to see my books displayed in their shout-outs. No luck so far. They also have a Facebook page that sends out freebie mentions. Look for the author submission page.
- Ereader News Today | Free And Bargain Books For Your Kindle
I don't qualify for submission here yet, but they seem to be quite an active place. You need reviews and high rankings to get mentioned on your free days, however.
- World Literary Cafe | Bridging the gap between readers and authors
WLC has many options for showcasing your work, depending on the richness of your marketing budget. Membership is free.
- Digital Book Today - Helping Readers Find Authors In A Digital World
To submit your titles here for their freebie days, you need a 4-star rating and at least 18 reviews. A number of free and paid promotions, if you qualify.
- FreeBooksHub.com - Download Free Kindle books and Prime Kindle Books
$8.00 donation for the priority listing queue. I don't have experience with them.
- eBook Hunter - WE Hunt For Books So YOU Don't Have To!
Here's another site that will showcase your free book for a fee. $15 for 2 days of promotion.
- Kindle Books Money Online Radio | BlogTalkRadio
Kindle obsessed readers will love this show. Join Heidi White for recs on the next best seller, author interviews and more. Authors get tips on making more money.
- BookFreebies - Free eBooks, Free Kindle Books and Free Nook Books
This site shares free e-books while at the same time helps new authors get their word out. No charge for their service, or you can purchase paid promotions.
- Free Kindle Book Listing for Authors | Indie Book of the Day
Submit your book a week or more ahead to be listed on their "Free on Kindle" listings. They will share your free promo info on their website, Facebook page, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Book Promotion & eBook Promotion, Book Marketing - Promote Your Book
With lots of Twitter followers and Facebook fans, at $15.00 per submission, this service looks promising for promoting free Kindle days.
- List of Sites To Promote Your Free Amazon Kindle Books | TCK Publishing
Tom Corson-Knowles' publishing company's site is packed full of excellent resources and tips for Kindle publishers, including an extensive list of sites where you can promote your free Kindle days.
- Author Marketing Club - Free Book Marketing Resources & Tools For Authors
Over 30 book promotion sites are listed on one page with direct access to the author submission forms. Saves a ton of time.
Making Your Kindle e-Book Look Good Enough to Buy - Good cover design and proper formatting are essential
I'll add to the list when I learn of new resources that are referred by authors I know.
- Extended Imagery
Whether you're putting together a "real" book or an e-book, you need a cover that catches people's attention. And for Kindle books, your cover must display well in a thumbnail size.
- Ebook formatting, conversion and design | 52 Novels
52 Novels can format your e-book for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iPad, plus other e-book marketing sites, including Kobo, Smashwords, CreateSpace and Lightning Source.
- Try Fiverr.com if you're on a tight budget
I found a designer at Fiverr.com for my Tutorial Lady Guides. My first attempt was a DIY design... and it looked like it. When you use Fiverr, make sure you tell your designer how you'd like your cover to look.
- eBook Publishing | Self Publishing | Publish Your Own Book | BookBaby
BookBaby will take your Word document and format it (for a fee) for Kindle and other e-publishing formats. They offer cover design and editing as well.
© 2012 Barbara Casey