Amazon is always changing things up. And that’s why it’s important to always be watching for what’s new. Especially if we’re in book marketing mode (and aren’t we always?), making the most of Amazon is a great way to spend your time. So fair warning, some of the things I’m mentioning here are good, some are less so. But regardless, they will all affect all of us who are in the throes of promoting our books. And as a side note, many of these do affect indie authors more so than traditionally published.
So by now you all probably know that Goodreads is owned by Amazon. This means that having a presence on there is even more important than it’s ever been. To that end, did you know that Goodreads is now emailing readers, once they’re done with a book? Yes, the email is a quick call to action inviting them to review, follow the author, or simply rate the book. Have a look at the screenshot below.
For indie authors, especially, this is golden. It’s a great way to remind readers to get in a touch, and a fantastic opportunity to build your fan base.
2. More Goodreads
I have seen this only once, but it’s worth mentioning so you can keep an eye out. I also don’t have a screenshot of this, because when I went back to it, it had disappeared. This tends to happen with Amazon is beta-testing things. But here is the scoop. Amazon is currently experimenting with adding books, similar to whatever ones you are searching for, right on your Amazon page as “Goodreads recommendations.” What does this mean for authors? It means that indie authors serious about their success should make sure their presence on Goodreads is solid.
We have some great Goodreads blog posts, to help you stay on top of this ever-changing social media platform for authors. Which books are showing up and how? I’m not sure. But I will be investigating this further and updating this in future blog posts. If any of you awesome book marketing gurus see this, let me know in the comments?
Here are some additional articles I recommend on Goodreads:
3. Kindle Countdown Deals
Amazon rolled these out a while back and I’ve never used them or recommended them because I didn’t find the Kindle Countdown Deals to be terribly useful. There wasn’t a special place on the page for them to highlight the countdown deals so it seemed like they all were kind of launched without any real promotion, but now all of that’s changed. And this could add some book marketing fuel to the fire. Because not only is it being promoted on the book page, but it’s then linked to a separate page, which helps promote all the Countdown Deals. Have a look!
This is what you’ll see halfway down the book page:
And this will take you to an entire page of Kindle Countdown Deals
Based on this it could be a fun piece to try out, since the Countdown page will pull in more readers. None of the books are highlighted specifically by the date that the countdown deal is ending. So, unlike the Goodreads giveaways which are organized by “newest” vs. “ending soon” this has no bearing on the Kindle Countdown Page, but what I did notice was that .99 deals are specifically highlighted so if you’re doing to start anywhere, to test this out, maybe start there.
Begin your book pricing at .99 and let it count up from there. This is where indie authors have more fuel for their book marketing, because they can go in and change pricing anytime they want. This is also why I always recommend that, regardless of the self-publishing company that you use, you always have access to your Kindle dashboard to make these quick changes.
Finally, if you do a Kindle Countdown deal, be sure to promote it to your social media as well as your newsletter!
4. The Amazon Ads System
I recently wrote about Amazon Marketing Services and their ads system dashboard and Amazon, as a general rule isn’t terribly friendly to erotic romance or any kind of erotic books. Many indie authors will use the Amazon ads system as a book marketing tool, and rightfully so. If done well, it’s a great opportunity to get more visibility for your book. But one thing that’s happening with the Amazon ads system is they are punting any books that have “erotic” as keywords, or racy covers. This is kind of a problem, especially in romance, because let’s face it, many romance novels have racy covers and it’s hard to know what they mean by “racy.”
An example of this are the two books below. The one on the left was rejected for the cover, but the one on the right was accepted. Though they are different covers, I don’t see a huge difference in the “racy” factor, do you? Have you experienced this at all? I’d love to know what your findings have been, if you’re run ads on the Amazon Marketing Services system and been turned down!
5. Amazon Author Central International
For a while I was teaching authors how to grab their Amazon International Author Central Pages. In doing so, you also create a “hub” on each of the international sites which could help you find new readers. And as we all know, Amazon Author Central is a great book marketing tool as well. Now it would seem that Amazon’s is gradually rolling this out across its international platforms. What this means is that whatever you do to update or enhance your US Author Central page, is automatically carried over to other pages! If you want to see what your author page looks like in other countries, below is a list of the countries that Amazon currently has Author Central pages on. Note: note all countries are represented.
6. KDP Pricing Changes
Changing pricing on your book is a great book marketing tool, not just for running promos but also to help enhance your Amazon algorithm. It used to be that if you needed to price your book at a very low price, let’s say for a one-day promotion, you needed to be sure that Amazon would allow that. And by this, I mean Amazon wants to cover its own delivery of your book. But if you have a lot of images in the book, Amazon will push you back if you want to market your book down to, let’s say, .99. The error message you’ll get is that your file is too big to support this small of a price point.
In the past the work-around for that was to have your book in KDP Select, then Amazon would let you mark it down to .99 even if, technically, the file was too large. Now that’s no longer true. I recently tried to mark my How to Sell Books by the Truckload book down to .99 for a one-day promo and Amazon said, no way. So if you have a book that’s heavy on images, or charts – and even if you don’t, sometimes font-heavy interiors can add “weight” to your book size. So be sure before you make any pricing changes!
7. 10 New Categories
I wrote about this extensively a few weeks ago (click to learn more here), but it bears repeating. You can have up to ten categories for your Kindle book. So why aren’t you using these? It’s a great tool for anyone looking to gain more book marketing traction on Amazon. Especially indie authors. And while they never announced this, several savvy book promoters have already been doing this to gain more visibility for their book! Why not you?
8. Odd Book Pricing
Here’s another fun book marketing tactic that I’m starting to see a lot of. And I don’t know that Amazon is necessarily favoring it one way or another, but it will help your algorithm on the site, and it certainly gets your reader’s attention. By odd pricing I mean not your standard $3.99 or $3.95 but really odd. Like $3.97 or $3.92. It actually stops your reader, because the number isn’t the “same” as they’re used to seeing. So try it with your book – regardless of your pricing. Whether you’ve priced your book at $3.99 or $9.99 play around with this odd book pricing and see what it does to your book sales. Specialty book pricing is not a new concept, but playing with your pricing is a great book marketing tool so give it a shot!
9. The Benefit of Marking an Amazon Review as Helpful
Well this isn’t new, per se, but I’m betting it’s something you aren’t even using. With all the talk of Amazon removing reviews, and the damage that this can do to your overall book marketing campaign, there may be a way to facilitate more reviewer engagement on your page and keep your reviews intact! Liking a review is as simple as clicking the “yes” button under “Was this review helpful to you?” Many Amazon top reviewers will ask you to do this, because it helps to give their review more merit. And one big change that Amazon has rolled out is a list of “top customer reviews,” which are populated by a mix of Verified Purchases and reviews that have been marked as “helpful.” Check out this screenshot:
Now Amazon divides up their review pages in “Top Positive Review” and “Top Critical Review.” So, in my opinion, it’s good for indie authors to give some love to the good reviews and help them to rank higher up on your Amazon page!
Amazon is always changing up their site, adding new things, while removing others. We will definitely keep an eye out for these and update you as new things appear or change. When it comes to book marketing, there’s no bigger site indie authors can pay attention to than Amazon. So stay tuned for further updates.
Additionally, we’ve created a video series that will help you master Amazon. If you’re ready to take advantage, click here to get started!
If you’ve seen new things on Amazon, feel free to tell me in comments! Or if you’ve used any of these tools I’ve described, I’d love to hear your thoughts!