Amazon.com is a great way to introduce a book to the buying public and get national, and even international distribution and recognition. On the Amazon site, millions of books can be ordered and shipped directly and each book has its own descriptive page. It is to the author’s advantage to make sure and take complete advantage of all Amazon.com offers to help you promote the author’s book. One big advantage of Amazon.com is that book returns are zero or minimal, and they are known to pay publishers on time.
Create an Amazon Account
In order to do just about anything else on Amazon, your author will need to create a user account. Go to http://www.Amazon.com (in the US) and at the top of the page, click on “New Customer? Start here.” The next screen asks for an email address and asks you to create a password. Once you do that you will logged in and can use all the other services on Amazon. To access the many aspects of the account you create for the author and material you add, log in to Amazon and click on “Your Account” on the top right. Scroll down find what you need, much of which will be under the category “Personalization” and can be accessed by clicking on “Your Public Profile.”
Amazon for Publishers (including self published authors)
Amazon International Sites
Amazon sells and ships books to countries around the world. Currently, Amazon has unique sites for the US (Amazon.com), Canada (Amazon.ca), the United Kingdom (Amazon.uk), France (Amazon. fr), Germany (Amazon.de), Japan (Amazon.jp) and China (Amazon.cn).
Amazon International sites are a great way to get the book sold around the world, particularly since you do not have to handle the problems of shipping and customs by allowing Amazon to supply the books. Books that are available in English will be available on the US, Canada and UK sites with the basic product information and Inside the Book information, but if you want to add content, including a blog, you will have to do this specifically for each individual site. Customer reviews do not transfer, as well, so you will need to encourage readers in each country to add reviews.
If the book is published by a major publisher, the publisher will list the book automatically.
If the book is already self published, check with the printer to see if the book will automatically be listed on Amazon.com, which is a common part of a self publishing services package.
Good options for self publishing that automatically include Amazon listing are Ingram Spark and and of course, Amazon-owned CreateSpace.com.
If a book is already self published and the author needs to list the book himself or herself, the author’s only option is to become a member of Amazon Advantage.
Amazon Advantage offers eCommerce services to small publishers. To read about Amazon Advantage or apply, go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-product-page.html?topic=200329780&ld=AZAdvanMakeM.
If the author/publisher wishes to participate, there is a $29.95US annual fee, and the advantage of participation may be that it is listed as “ships in 24 hours.” You can also see sales figures online. CDs, DVDs and other products can be sold through Amazon Advantage, but not ebooks. Another selling point is that books can be listed there before they are released and Amazon.com will take pre-orders.
The author sets the retail price for the book, but Amazon sets the price it charges its customers. With Amazon Advantage, Amazon.com pays a 45 percent commission (books are sold to Amazon at a 55 percent discount) on the list price (the price the author sets) on each book it sells. Be aware that the publisher pays the shipping to get books to Amazon.com, unless you print with IngramSpark (no shipping to Amazon) or CreateSpace (Amazon’s own self publishing company).
But if the book is printed by IngramSpark, it is important to note that creating an Amazon Advantage Account essentially overrides the information you have set up with IngramSpark (especially the wholesale discount). If the book is printed with IngramSpark you do not currently need to use Amazon Advantage to get all the benefits of Amazon Advantage, which you will get through IngramSpark).
Adding Content for Self Publishers
After getting the book listed, you can go back and increase the content on the book’s page. Go to:http://www.amazon.com/publishers and click on “Add Descriptive Content.” Fill out the basic information on the book content form, and then you can add the following additional information about the book:
• description (300 words)
• publisher’s comments
• author comments
• author bio
• table of contents
• inside flap or back cover copy
• reviews (20 word maximum and you must list the source)
• and an excerpt or the first chapter
Search Inside is intended to mimic the experience of a bookstore and allow potential buyers to look at the front and back cover, table of contents, index and other portions of a book. Go to http://www.amazon.com/publishers and click on “Search Inside.” Or go direct to http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=13685751
Submissions are made of the cover and other information via PDF and there are specific uploading and file naming requirements to be aware of.
One way to get increased sales and visibility is for the author to ask friends and readers to review the book on Amazon.com. It is a good idea any time a book is sent on a complimentary basis, to ask the reader to post a review, if he or she liked the book.
There are also “regular” reviewers on Amazon.com. Some people review books regularly and have a regular following among book buyers. To find regular reviewers who might take a look at the author’s book, go to: http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers
This feature is intended to improve distribution of ebooks by allowing buyers of a printed book to get a copy of the book digitally for an extra fee. Go to http://www.amazon.com/publishers and click on “Amazon Upgrade”.
In order to make a book available on Kindle, you must send it to Amazon in an acceptable electronic format by creating an account and uploading information on Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. Your book designer should be able to help you with the correct electronic format.
If you wish to upload the book for the author, go to http://www.Amazon.com/publishers and click on “Publish Your Content on Kindle”. That link will take you to a guide to uploading the book. You can upload the book in PDF or Word format, although HTML is recommended by Amazon. Once you upload the book content, Amazon converts it for you to their Digital Text Platform to work on Kindle.
There are often problems in conversion, so you will want to look at it carefully before approving the book for use on Kindle. If you want assistance in creating a Kindle-ready book when you already have a printed book or the book is already typeset, you can get that help at http://www.PublishGreen.com. They will convert the book to Kindle format for $299US and other ebook formats as well.
The author/publisher sets the retail price, although Amazon may discount the price as it does for books. The author/publisher will be paid 35% of the retail price whenever a book is sold through Kindle.
Author Central – Where Authors Add Content
Amazon does a lot to help authors stay connected to readers and sell books. The main interface for authors to add information is called Author Central.
One of the first things an author can do here is create an author profile with an author bio and photo.
The other main think that can be done at Author Central is to create a blog that will appear on the book pages of the author’s books. An author can create a different blog for each book. This is a great way for an author to stay in touch with readers and it is free for authors. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/blog to add a blog.
You will see on that page that an author can also use his or her blog that resides elsewhere and have it appear on the book page as well. In order to do this, click on “Add an RSS Feed”. Clicking that will take you to page where you can add the RSS feed of the blog.
Once you have added the blog, you must click “preview” on the right. The preview will show you what your blog will look like so you can verify you have entered the right RSS feed. If it is correct, click “add” on the right. You can enter up to five RSS feeds, which means you can select any of up to five blogs to go on the page with any of your books, should you have several.
Any user of Amazon can create a list to suggest books on a particular subject to other people. An author can create a list of best books on a topic and include his or her own book. Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/createpipeline to start a new list.
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