Marketing your book on Amazon may seem like an endless chore, but without strong marketing, your book will be buried underneath an ever-growing avalanche of competing books.
This is especially true if you’ve self-published and don’t have marketing support from a publisher.
So it’s important that you don’t skimp on the marketing of your book—or worse yet, ignore it.
Book marketing should always be viewed as a continuation of the writing. Since it’s the marketing that brings your book to the attention of potential readers, in a sense, it’s the vehicle that keeps your story alive.
A powerful way to market your book is through Amazon. And although marketing your book on Amazon isn’t easy, there are many tools that can help increase your effectiveness. Here are nine of the best:
Time needed to read: 5 minutes.
Nine Essential Steps to Marketing Your Book on Amazon
- Develop your author platform
Long before listing your finished book on Amazon, you must begin developing what’s known as an author platform. The author platform is a combination of all the ways you can use to reach prospective readers and sell books, on Amazon and elsewhere.
Your platform includes your social media sites, website, email lists, blog, radio or TV shows that you appear on, etc.
A strong author platform is a marketing-multiplier. The bigger your platform, the more people you can tell about your book.
Among other things, you’ll be able to tell them it’s available on Amazon and give a link to your book page. And you can ask them to write those all-important customer reviews, the “social proof” that your book is indeed a gem.
- Get quotes
Other people—especially celebrities, experts on your book’s subject, and well-known authors—can do much to help you sell your book if they’re willing to give you quotes.
You should start asking for these quotes before your book is published. Not only are they extremely important additions to your marketing materials, they are also invaluable additions to your book cover, upfront pages, and book description page.
So contact everyone you can think of who might be of help, whether you know them or not.
Don’t be shy! You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. I’ve written to total strangers asking for quotes and reviews, and sometimes I’ve received them!
- Write a scintillating description of your book
Once you’re ready to begin marketing your book on the Amazon website, be aware that your best chance to sell your book is when a prospective reader lands on your book page and reads the first couple of words or sentences describing your book.
All the work you’ve done to get people to go to your page will be for naught if it doesn’t convince them to buy.
So start with an irresistible hook, a quote from a famous person about your book, a stunning fact that relates to your topic, or a provocative question.
Then, don’t launch into a lengthy, detailed presentation of your book. Instead, follow the hook with the briefest, most tantalizing sum-up of what your book is about. It’s also helpful to list a few well-known books that are similar to yours.
If you understand how to use HTML you can use bold or italics to draw the reader’s eye to key points. You’ll have to learn a little about HTML code for this, but don’t worry, it’s easy to master.
Just be sure your description is so compelling that the reader will simply have to click the purchase button!
Here’s the opening of the description for one of my books, a World War II memoir called If My Heart Had Wings:
The Soldier’s Girl meets Daughters of War in this gripping WWII historical novel of long-buried secrets, devastating loss, undying love, and a young widow’s heroic struggle to reclaim her identity when her pilot husband is KIA. Powerful, inspiring, and guaranteed to break your heart!
- Gather up editorial reviews
Editorial reviews are written by notable people, newspapers, and other media outlets.
It’s always great to get reviews from people or outlets related to your book’s topic. For example, on the Amazon page for If My Heart Had Wings, I feature a review from a VIP at the National World War II museum as well as a comment from Reedsy Discovery.
“Superb! A wonderful story of devotion and tough times…” – Nat’l WWII Museum
“Loved it! The Greatest Generation all have their secrets in this endlessly fascinating & compelling memoir.” – Reedsy Discovery
Reviews from prestigious media outlets are also impressive, as are reviews from dedicated book review sites—just Google “book review sites” and “book review services” to find links to these sites.
Be aware, however, that some review sites have long lead times, so you have to get your book in for review long before it’s published. In addition, some of them charge substantial fees.
- Pursue customer reviews
Customer reviews also appear on the Amazon description page, with comments that can run from a single word to multiple paragraphs, plus a book rating of one to five stars.
You can never overestimate the importance of reviews. Nothing spells “amateur” faster than a book with just a few reviews. And even if you have a zillion reviews, if you’re getting lots of 2s and 3s, your book is probably not going to sell well.
Anyone who has spent at least $50 on Amazon.com can review your book.
Be aware, however, that Amazon only accepts one review per Amazon account, so multiple members of the same household will not be able to submit reviews—and if they do, all reviews from that account will be nullified, forever. Also, the reviews of those who buy your book on Amazon (“verified buyers”) will show up higher on the list and be more likely to be read than those who get your book elsewhere.
Naturally, the big question is how do you find people to read and review your book?
This is when a pre-made author platform comes in handy. You can reach a lot of people who already like you and ask them to read and review your book.
To reach new people, you can spread the word through your website and social media, via podcasts and videos, and when making media appearances. You may also want to put a request in the book itself, perhaps at the end of the About the Author section.
Whatever you do to get reviews, remember that you can never offer money or any inducement other than a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. If you do give people free copies of your book and ask them to submit reviews, make it clear that you are not demanding that the reviews be positive.
This is important, for if the Amazon bots think you’re trying to “buy” reviews, you may lose your right to market your book on Amazon.
- Sign up for KDP Select
KDP Select is Amazon’s way of giving you the incentive to sell your e-book exclusively through their Kindle Store. Your book will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL), from which you’ll earn money based on how many of your book’s pages KU or KOLL customers read.
Another advantage is you’ll be allowed to run a Kindle Countdown Deal every three months for up to seven days. During that time, you can reduce the price of your e-book to as little as $.99; however, it must be at least $1 less than your regular price.
Because readers are more likely to buy your book at a discounted price, the Kindle Countdown Deal is a great way to get more exposure for your book. As it drives up the number of sales and your position on the sales list, your book will become much more visible to all readers.
- Use book promotion sites
During your Kindle Countdown periods, you’ll need to run paid ads on special book sites that feature your book via daily emails listing that day’s discount deals.
Hundreds and maybe even thousands of prospective readers will see your book ad on the day it sells at a discount and many will click on it, which takes them directly to your Amazon book page.
Book promotion sites like these include BookBub, Book Gorilla, e-reader IQ, Robin Reads, and others.
They can be expensive and you’ll need to experiment to find out which ones work best for your book, but as promotion tools, they can be well worth the time and money.
- Develop your Amazon author page
If you go to a book description page and click on the author’s name—right beneath the book title—you’ll be taken to the Author Page.
Here, you’ll find a nice picture of the author, a paragraph or two describing and promoting the author, and pictures of the author’s books.
At least you should find these things.
Unfortunately, many writers have a poorly-developed Author Page, or none at all.
And that’s a shame, because it’s a missed opportunity to give your website address, set up links to your website blog, list blog posts under the “Author Updates” section, and otherwise promote yourself and your book(s).
So fill out your Author Page, paying close attention to the marketing possibilities.
Remember, this page becomes part of your author platform, so spend the thinking time required to get it right!
- Advertise your book on Amazon
One of the most effective ways of advertising your book is to run sponsored ads on Amazon Marketing Systems (AMS). You create an ad that shows the cover of your book alongside the snappiest, most attention-grabbing description of your book you can think of using 150 characters or less.
You then come up with keywords targeted to your prospective readers that are based on your book’s genre, the authors that write in that genre, and books similar to yours.
For example, if you’ve written a horror book, you will want to include keywords like horror, terror, murder, fright, and nightmare, as well as horror authors such as Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Mary Shelley (among many others). Then you’ll list all of the books you can find (and their authors) that are much like your book. Amazon will take all of this information and display your ad on the relevant book description pages.
There is a lot more to advertising with AMS than illustrated in this short description, but fortunately, there is a lot of help on the internet. You might start with Reedsy’s free course on Amazon Ads for Authors: https://bit.ly/2mxzrHi.
Marketing your book on Amazon can be difficult—but it’s doable!
By developing your author platform, relentlessly pursuing quotes and reviews, writing dazzling Amazon book description and Author pages, taking advantage of KDP Select, and purchasing ads on book promotion sites, you’ll be far ahead of most of the pack…and well on your way to getting your fabulous book into the hands of your target audience.
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP WRITING YOUR BOOK…
Before you can market your book on Amazon, or anywhere else, you’ve got to write it!
And we can make it easy for you by writing, editing, and/or helping with the self-publishing of your passion project.
We’re Nadine Taylor and Barry Fox, professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.
We’re ready to help you realize your dream of writing and publishing a book.
Let’s get started! Call us at 818-917-5362 or use the contact form below to send us a message.
Although based in Los Angeles, California, we often travel to work with our clients.