Amazon Free Marketing to Followers for New Releases

Did you know that you can get FREE easy direct marketing from Amazon which sends email blasts out to all your loyal fans? And it comes right from the Amazon servers?

Here’s how it works.

Amazon just emailed news of my latest book out to all of my followers.

Authors – this is why you want to release new books on a regular schedule. Each time you do, Amazon will alert all your followers both about the new book and remind them about your other books. It’s free, powerful marketing. Note that you MUST tie your book into your Author Central page for this to work. That’s how people follow you. Here’s mine to show how the Author Central page works.

If you don’t have an Author Central page yet, go to:

to set yours up. Ask with questions and I’m happy to help. If you post your AuthorCentral link in the comments, I’ll make sure to follow you and, if you want, offer some suggestions.

This email is another powerful reminder of why your cover MUST be powerful at a small size. Amazon shows people tiny thumbnails. Readers choose to click or not click based on that tiny thumbnail. If the tiny thumbnail is muddy or unclear, they won’t click. Make sure that tiny thumbnail pops! Look, for example, at the tiny ad they put at the top of the newsletter. Look at how small that promo book’s image is. Will it catch the eye even at that tiny size? If not, it’s time for some polishing of the cover!

Let’s also note that Amazon does not show ANY blurb or description with this promo. Amazon only shows the cover and title. So many times in Amazon’s system all a reader sees is the cover and title. The cover and title MUST clearly convey what a book is about and also grab its target audience. If your target audience is fantasy then the cover must scream fantasy and appeal to fantasy readers so much that they say “That looks cool! I want to learn more about that book!” Don’t rely on your blurb to do that. If someone never clicks on a cover, they’ll never see your blurb.

Ask with questions!

Do Not Allow Friends / Family to Review your Book on Amazon

I’ve said this many times in the past and I’ll keep issuing the warning. If you’re an author on Amazon, do NOT allow your friends or family members to post reviews of your book. This is explicitly against Amazon’s rules and FTC regulations. Amazon has the technology. They will find that relationship. They could easily shut down YOUR ENTIRE AMAZON ACCOUNT and eliminate your sales permanently.

Amazon is a massive near-monopoly on the book selling industry. The last thing any author wants to do is to risk in any way their access to that market.

I am an author with over 350 books in the Amazon system. I also have a fairly extensive family and friend network. I do ask those family and friends not to review my books. Apparently someone might have done it recently, though, because I got this fairly harsh warning email from Amazon.

* * *

We have determined that your account is related to accounts that have written Amazon customer reviews for products that you have a financial interest in. This may include products that you or your competitors sell.

Why did I receive this message?
Family members, close friends, or employees of a seller on Amazon may not write reviews for the seller’s items or negative reviews for items sold by that seller’s competitors. Sellers are not allowed to manipulate ratings, feedback, or customer reviews.

Violations of our policies may also violate state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act. Amazon strives to maintain customer trust and provide the best possible shopping experience. As a result, we will investigate when we learn that sellers, vendors, or others have attempted to manipulate reviews. This includes offers of compensation in exchange for reviews.

If this continues, it may result in account deactivation.

* * *

This is a strongly worded message and it carries a fairly dire threat. Yes, of course Amazon is not the only book seller on the market. One could still sell with iTunes, Barnes & Noble, SmashWords, and other avenues. But if one lost the entirety of the Amazon marketplace – from ebooks to paperback books, from Audio books to Kindle Unlimited’s lending library – that is simply massive. For me the loss of Amazon would be catastrophic. It’s where 99% of my sales take place.

I have written Amazon to try to get more details about exactly what I need to watch for. Do they want me to police all my reviews on a daily basis, watch to see if anybody looks like an account I might know the owner of, and write them to ask them to take that review down? What if a cousin is using a pseudonym on their account?

The short answer, though, is that every author needs to take this VERY SERIOUSLY. Never, ever ask family or friends to write reviews of your books. I’ve said this before and I’m doubling down. It is just not worth it. Get your reviews through legitimate means – work with bloggers, do book promotions in marketing newsletters, and build your fan base. That is the ONLY safe method of building a review count which is healthy and Amazon-approved.

Twitter for Authors

If you’re an author, you need to be on Twitter. Facebook is great for reaching existing fans; Twitter is amazing at reaching future fans. Post your Twitter link below so we can all follow you. If you don’t have a page yet, make one and then post it!

Some key tips:

* Always include an image of some sort. Images are key on all social networking platforms. Even if it’s an image of your book with a mug of coffee, or your book with a cat, or just your book, use that image space.

* Always use 2-3 *popular* hashtags. Using a rarely-used hashtag is wasting your space. Don’t try to create hashtags. Use hashtags that have proven popularity. Rotate through new ones to draw in new eyeballs.

* Put #IARTG at the end of your account description, follow @IARTG, and occasionally use that hashtag. Occasionally retweet other authors who use that hashtag. That then encourages all those 66,000+ IARTG members to like and share your posts. Remember, Twitter is a community. You need to like and share other authors’ posts to have them do the same for you.

* Like and share posts relating to your topic area. Again, if all you do is post about yourself and never interact with anyone else, it’s unlikely people will interact with you. The more you behave like a community member, the more likely other members in the community will like, share, and support your posts.

Ask with any questions! Good luck!

Build your Followers

I know an author who is striving to get a publisher. Today she was publicly whining that the publisher wanted to know her follower count – and that it was stupid because THE PUBLISHER was supposed to do all the work of selling her book for her. She’d done her part, writing it, the end.

I have a feeling that publicly venting like that is not the way to build a relationship with a publishing house. The publishing house has thousands of other manuscripts coming in weekly which are just as good. Undoubtedly a number of those come with authors who are eager to do their part of the marketing task.

If an author presents herself as unwilling to help at all, she automatically has created large barriers in the relationship. Given the thousands upon thousands of other authors eagerly competing for that same contract, why would any author deliberately downgrade their chances?

Tip: Don’t whine in public about how you’re unwilling to help support your book’s sales. If your follower count is low, work on building it up. If your marketing skills need help, take steps to build them. Your source manuscript may be great – but so are thousands of other manuscripts flooding the publisher.

Many of those authors will bring solid marketing systems and fan bases with them. If you want to compete against those, then compete.

Audiobooks and ACX

There are all sorts of reasons people use audiobooks. Many people have trouble reading, either because of age-related eyesight problems, genetic issues, or other challenges. There are people who have long commutes who like to use that time productively. There are people who listen while they jog or walk. If you neglect the audiobook segment of your potential fan base, that’s a massive number of readers you are abandoning.

And best of all, it’s wholly FREE to make an audiobook. So there’s no excuse not to have one.

Go to Log in with your Amazon account username and password. You’ll need to do a bit of basic setup in there and “claim” your book(s).

Now put those books out for narrators to apply to. You’ll want to supply a sample script for each. Most of the time you just take the first few pages of your book for them to read. If you’d rather use another section that involves more “voices” so you know how they’ll handle that, use another section. It’s up to you.

Now you sit back and let the narration samples roll in.

Listen to them. See what you like and dislike about them. Update your book description so that you help tune the narrators in to what you want.

Soon you’ll get a narrator who is absolutely perfect for your storyline. Then you make the offer. I suggest you go with the 50/50 revenue split with them. This applies to the AUDIOBOOK ONLY – not to any other book formats. It gives the narrator incentive to help you promote and publicize this book. Yes, you only get half the proceeds – but if you get far more sales, you also get more money overall.

The alternative is to pay them up to $200 for finished audio hour and keep the full proceeds. Me, I’d rather the narrator benefit from higher sales if they are helping drive those sales. After all, their efforts also promote my kindle and paperback versions as well.

The narrator will then start posting their readings chapter by chapter. You can make whatever suggestions and comments you want. They’ll re-record them. When you are all done, you approve the book, and it goes live! It goes live as “another version” of your existing book, tied to that same Amazon entry.

Ask with any questions. I just had narrators finish book 3 in my Wyoming series and book 2 in my Diner series. In both cases I absolutely adored the readings. You can click on either book cover to see what these series are about:

Let me know if you’d like to see either series in ebook format. If you want to try the audio format to see how it works, I have free coupon codes. Just let me know which you’d like to try and I’ll send the code along.

Ask with any questions! If you have books on Amazon, you absolutely should be doing this. If you aren’t, you’re losing out on a ton of “easy” “free” sales.

Diner Days are Here Again

I’m so so thrilled! My audio narrator for my Asperger’s mystery series set in Worcester lunchcar diners just finished book 2. That book is Diner Days are Here Again. I had tears in my eyes laughing while listening to her reading! She did an awesome job. It should be live soon.

Book 1, Diner Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, is free in Kindle format. Let me know if you’d like a coupon to hear book 1 for free in audio!

I’d love one more review to reach 30 ratings!