All You Need to Know About Amazon Marketing for Self Published Authors
The path to become a self published author is one that has gained prominence in the last decade. Prior to this self published authors were seen as authors who were not good enough to score a deal with a big publisher. This stigma is still present but the surge of self published authors is proving this label to be wrong.
Self publishing has evolved into a whole industry on its own with Amazon spearheading the direction of this industry. It has been primarily due to Amazon Kindle that the self publishing industry grew into what it is today.
Self publishing is not just a good way to get your book out and be able to call yourself an author. No, it is much more than that. If you have been reading the recent articles that we have written on this blog about self publishing, you will know that people have switched their very satisfying careers to become full time authors, not only because it was their passion but also because self publishing allows them to earn enough to become financially independent and beat the 9 to 5 repetitive routine of life.
However self publishing is not just about getting your laptop, having a latte and writing away as birds chirp around your window and the red sun sinks along, into the hills of gold. No, self publishing is a full time job.
Going through the interviews of many successful self published authors, the one thing that we have been able to extract to help the readers of this blog out is that if you want to become a self published author, whether full time or part time, then you must understand that self publishing is 60% about writing the book and 40% about marketing it.
A lot of self published authors market their own books and this ends up consuming more time than they would like to dedicate to this task. Still, there are many authors who outsource this task to marketing agencies.
What we have seen is that new authors obviously do not have the budget to hire editors and marketing agencies for their promotion. So they are usually a one man or one woman army. Sometimes their parents or partners help them out with editing, illustrating and marketing and sometimes they do everything on their own. However as they grow as authors and their income stream increases, they end up hiring marketing agencies to properly market their books with dedicated campaigns.
So if you are a new author looking to self publish your own books, don`t worry. In the beginning you will have to do the heavy lifting but as your “career” progresses, you will not just be able to outsource but you will HAVE to outsource because you will realize that by focusing on your writing, you can create more quality content and thus earn more.
This realization will however come with time. This is why it is absolutely important to understand that self publishing is a complete career on its own and it should be treated as such.
Now let us talk about some of the marketing options available.
As a self published author, you start off with a disadvantage when it comes to marketing. Traditional publishers usually market and promote the authors by placing adverts, arranging meetups, interviews and book signings but they do this for a cost which is why authors end up getting lower royalty as compared to self published authors.
As a self published author, you have got two ways to go.
- Publish the book on your own: This means that you will sell it from your website and get to keep 100% of the revenue.
- Publish through Amazon KDP: This means that you will either get 35% or 70% royalty if you publish an ebook or 60% royalty if you publish a paperback.
- This also means that you can use the 6 different tools offered by Amazon to market your book.
We have discussed KDP Select in detail in one of our earlier articles, so make sure to check it out. When you are about to upload your book, you will be asked whether you want to list your book in the KDP Select program or not. Enrolling into the KDP Select program is free and comes with its own benefits such as
- Your book automatically gets included in the Kindle Unlimited program for readers.
- You get the opportunity to earn from the KDP Select global fund.
- You get the opportunity to earn a KDP Select all star bonus.
- Allows you to put your book on promotion, give out countdown deals and other offers.
- Kindle Select also allows you to cross pollinate the books, so that if you have got a portfolio of books. Once a Kindle Unlimited reader reads one, they will be more inclined to read other books by you.
Amazon allows you to create your own author page, where you can upload all the information you want about yourself and your books, including videos to communicate with your readers. This can be a good way to market your books and develop a following of your readers. Every author should create and keep their author central updated so that the readers know when to expect new books. This can have an impact on your sales.
You can also use Amazon advertising to promote your book through a paid marketing campaign. You will have to create a detail page for your book with all the relevant details that you want to include in the ad.
How much you want to spend on the campaign depends on the budget. You can spend as low as $10 and the upper limit can be as high as you can afford it to be. Needless to say that the more you invest, the more traction your book will get.
Once you submit your campaign to Amazon, it takes 72 hours to get approved, if all requirements have been met.
This is another way to promote your books. Through expanded distribution, Amazon can help you reach more readers by partnering with bookstores, distributors and academic institutions etc. The royalty rate for books in the expanded distribution program is 40% less VAT less printing charges less withholding.
You can also hold giveaways for your readers by giving them books as gifts. For more details click here.
Kindle allows their users to lend the books that they have purchased to their friends and family members. Amazon KDP allows the authors to purchase their own books and then lend them for free to their readers for a limited time period. Once a book has been lent, it cannot be lent again.
So these are the six marketing options that are available to authors through Amazon KDP. These options are more than enough to get traction for your book if you use them strategically. However these are not the only marketing options that authors use. There are also other ways to market and promote your book, which we shall discuss in the next article.
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