Making the Most of Amazon When Selling Your Book

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Let’s face it, no matter how many Indies consider Amazon a monster, without selling on Amazon, Indie books have very little chance. Readers prefer to purchase on Amazon, as it is the most convenient and reliable way to shop these days. Many will visit local bookstores and browse, but most of them will buy their pick on Amazon in search of the best possible price. So why not make the most of it!

Amazon offers basically three ways to sell your book at its online store: 1) listing the book at Amazon and then shipping copies to Amazon, 2) having a seller’s account, or 3) selling your book for Kindle. I personally have created, The Kindle Account for my Innocent War Book and the Seller Account. The difference between having Amazon sell your book and creating a seller’s account to sell your book yourself at Amazon is basically whether or not you have enough copies to have Amazon sell and ship, or you prefer to keep a few copies at a time and sell and ship them yourself as they sell.  I chose the latter one as my book was Print on Demand and I could get a good deal on buying them directly from Lighting Source. Below is a quick view on each method.

Kindle Account – The Kindle account is created when you convert your pdf to Kindle format and list through Amazon. You can have a third party do the conversion for a fee and the upload or you can follow the directions on Amazon and do the conversion yourself through them. I chose the first one as I found doing it myself was tricky. So, to guarantee better results I had a third party do it for me and paid a one-time fee for it. Doing it this way instead of submitting the PDF to platforms like Smashwords, I kept all publishing rights and get paid for the book price minus Amazon fees instead of just royalties from a third party.

List Your Book for Amazon to Sell - You can do this by creating an “Amazon Advantage” To join, you need copies of your book, an ISBN, and a bar code (which you really need anyway for print books if you plan to sell on any store or online platform). Then visit www.amazon.com/advantage. Follow the steps but read the fine print. Amazon charges an annual whether any of your books sell or not, plus a commission. Amazon will notify you to send books and how many. Once Amazon receives your books and starts selling them, you don’t have to deal with mailing out individual orders.

Be an Independent Seller Through Amazon – Even as an independent seller your book needs to be listed in Amazon, which creates the Advantage Account as well. However, you can also sign up as Independent Book seller whether your book was listed by the publishing platform or by yourself as an Independent Author/Publisher. Once your book has a listing at Amazon, you can open a seller account with Amazon to sell your book independently. To do so you need click on: Sell on Amazon at the bottom of their Home page, and follow the instructions. If you sign up for an Individual Account you pay no monthly fee, so that would be the way to go until you reach sales over 40 items per month.  You can list as many copies available as you like, provided you have that many copies in stock. Customers can now buy the book directly from you rather than Amazon. You pay nothing to Amazon until the book sells.

Create an Author Central Account. -  This is a must no matter which way you go with Amazon. This account is what will allow you to connect and inform your audience about all of your activities and books. Yo can link it with your social accounts and blogs, you can upload book videos and any event video as well as interviews…etc. Basically, not using this sales tool is like boycotting your own work. So sign up and put in time to learn how to use it.

As an author, you need to determine which selling option at Amazon is most beneficial for you. In my opinion, listing yourself as an independent seller is the better choice and Amazon’s best kept secret, but as I said, without using the Author Central feature, you will be reducing chances to motivate readers to buy your book. For more information on how we help writers visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Authors Can Make a Difference in the Community While Promoting Their Books

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many authors do not realize that by publishing a book, they have reached a somewhat “celebrity” status which they can use not only to promote their books, but also to make a difference in their communities. So instead of volunteering in a soup kitchen or just donating money, which are admirable in their own rights, authors can find other creative ways to contribute to their communities while helping to promote their books. Below are some ways authors can give back:

1. Senior Citizen and Veteran Centers or Assisted Living Homes. Visiting senior citizens and veterans is an awesome way to give back to a part of the community that is often forgotten, and it is also a great promotional effort for authors, as seniors also are one of the biggest reading audiences. They also appreciate visitors and interacting with others, and they are likely to tell all their friends and family members, who include children, grandchildren, great-nieces and nephews, in-laws, and cousins, about a book they like. Authors can plan a speaking event or even volunteer to read to seniors at these facilities once a week or month. Seniors and veterans, will for sure read, show and tell and recommend books they buy to their visitors. Seniors and veterans also have great stories to tell—material for future books.

2. School Career Day Events. There are opportunities for adult books authors to speak at schools and colleges. Even though they may not sell many books during these events, they can get some local media attention by announcing the event on the community calendar and get their books in front of the audience of parents through their newsletters. Offering to speak to high school students or college freshman at career day events, or participating in events like Young Authors, is a great way to give back to your community and provide the encouragement needed that you received or wish you had received as an aspiring young author. Authors of non-fiction books can also speak to future historians, doctors, businessmen, or other groups of students whose field of study is relevant to their books’ topics, giving back to their own career communities as well as inspiring young writers to keep at it.

3. Donating Books. Donating books may seem like a financial loss, but it is also an effective inexpensive way to get publicity while providing a benefit to a charitable organization of your choice or a community organization. Many libraries, for example, will take a photo of the author donating the book for their newsletters or even the community spotlight sections of local newspapers—great publicity in exchange for one donated book. Donating books as raffle prizes can also be effective. For example, if your book is donated for a church bazaar’s raffle, everyone who buys a raffle ticket may see it listed as one of the prizes. That could be hundreds of people who see your book title, and while only one person might win the donated book, several others might decide to purchase the book for themselves.

There are many ways for authors to give back to their communities. Even if their giving doesn’t result in more books being sold, it will contribute to their platform building. But the icing on the cake is that in an isolating career such as writing, authors will come away feeling good about themselves and knowing they’ve made a difference, the results of which can never be measured or underestimated.

GUEST POST - This is WAR! Tropes in Fantastical Conflicts

Skyler Boudreau Editorial Contributor

Skyler Boudreau
Editorial Contributor

The month of March was named after the Roman god Mars. Mars is a god of war and was the most important god to the Ancient Roman military. To the Ancient Romans, Mars and the military represented a way to secure peace between them and their neighbors.

I want to take a look at three of the tropes that appear in wars within fantasy novels. For the sake of clarity, and since a lot of these are called by various names, I used the names from TV Tropes, a website with a ton of information on the topic. If you want more information about any of the ones I mention, you can search them on that website. It can be fun to scroll through their lists and think of novels that match the different tropes described.

The Magic Versus Technology War

A lot of fantasy novels take place in a medieval setting, making the technology available to characters fairly primitive. Sometimes, however, there are stories where magic and more advanced technology exist at the same time. This is almost always a source of conflict. For example, Gaiman’s novel American Gods is centered around a war being fought by ancient gods like Odin and Anansi against new gods of modern technology.

The Forever War

This is a war that has been going on for so long that neither side remembers the initial reason for why they began fighting. It’s not so much the reason behind the conflict that matters, but more the fact that it is happening. Often, though not always, it is the role of the protagonist to reconcile the situation. Sometimes the Forever War is more of a backdrop to a bigger story. Whatever the reason for its inclusion, it is a conflict that has been going on for, well, ever.

Fantasy Conflict Counterpart

I find this trope particularly interesting. The Fantasy Conflict Counterpart creates a war that reflects a historical event, such as the way Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is an allegory for the Cold War. It creates a way for authors to discuss major conflict in situations where they might not be able to in a historical or modern context. Perhaps there is the fear of being blacklisted, as there was during the Cold War. Perhaps the author disagrees with the role their own country played in a war and is unable to say anything otherwise. There are easily hundreds if not thousands of examples of this trope in action.

What are some fantasy war tropes that you’re intrigued by?

About Skyler Boudreau

Skyler Boudreau is a book reviewer with Reader Views and Feathered Quill, a freelance writer, and a musician. She can be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Instagram @SkylerBoudreau. One day she hopes to work as an editor and best-selling author, but for now she is pursuing a career in freelance writing.

2018-2019 Awards Winners Announcement!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Finally, the winners of the 2018 copyright books for the Literary Awards have been selected. This was a challenging process for our judges! All participants should be proud of their books as we can tell you first hand the quality of all of the books we received has raised the standard of Indie publishing for sure. Well done!

Check out the Official Award Listing Here

For those of you who made the winner list, the arduous job of promoting your work has gotten a little easier through a winner seal, but it will still take some work on your part to get your book noticed. Here are some ideas on how to use your winner status to promote your title:

·         Once you receive your seal, get the publisher to add it to the cover of your book.

·         Post your seal everywhere! This includes your Amazon page, author page, blog, media kit, and any other social media profile or author’s bio.

·         Be proud and blast it off! Announce it everywhere through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn…etc.

·         Announce it to the media through the distribution of a press release.

·         If you have advertisements out there, make sure you include your seal on them.

·         Get features everywhere you can to announce the win.

·         Schedule giveaways to celebrate.

·         Publish articles on steps to produce a winning book.

For those of you who did not place in this year’s event, this is not the end of the road for your title or your writing careers! There are many things you should do.

·         Read the review for hints on why yours was not selected.

·         Find on your review a positive quote that you can use to add on your back cover as a Reader Views endorsement. This quote can also be used on your bio and Amazon page and announced through social media networks.

·         If your review mentioned any specific problem with the production of the book, invest in some consulting help to correct by revising it, or avoid flaws on your next book.

·         Do not get discouraged! You have done something most only dream of. Keep at it!

For more information about the Literary Awards or how we can help with any of the above-mentioned ways to promote your title, visit www.readerviews.com or email us at admin@readerviews.com.

 

2018-2019 Literary Awards - AND THE FINALISTS ARE...

Whoa - It has been a fierce competition due to the great quality of most of the books entered! As usual we can only select a few finalists, and this year it’s proving to be a very difficult task! So we wish all the finalists good luck, knowing that in our hearts and minds you all are winners. For those participants that didn’t make the finals, know that most of you didn’t make it by a VERY SMALL margin. So be proud of your book and your accomplishment and do not be discouraged! Keep marketing your book by submitting to other awards programs and be sure to keep reading our newsletter for ongoing tips on how to get your book out there.

Here is the list:

2018-2019 Finalists - (listed alphabetically by category does not indicate placement)

Finalists, as you wait for the winners announcement, there are few things you can do to get ready and make the most of your status!

·         Those of you that have printed copies, check out the link included in your finalist notice (it will come to you via email) to order stickers for your books covers. This year we are ahead of the game, LOL, and have the stickers in stock, so we are ready!

·         Once the final placements are announced, we will be producing award certificates, to be emailed along with a digital copy of the sticker seal. This is the time to begin to contact your publishers to find out what you need to do to add the seal to your digital book covers.

·         Plan your strategy for spreading the news about your accomplishment! Announcements to the media can be made through press releases and their launch can be coordinated with a social media campaign. Check out our PR Writing, PR Distribution, and Social Media Blitz services!

·         Literary Awards give credibility to your title! Make the most of your expert status and give book interviews, publish articles, and share your knowledge with upcoming new authors. Giving back is the best way to promote your work!

Being an award winner is what all authors shoot for, but for those who did not make the finalists list know this; Be proud of being a participant as you did something the majority of people do not. You not only wrote and published a book; you also endured the critical examination of three lines of judges! Use quotes of your review and share the knowledge you acquired during the process to make the most of the experience and keep writing! For more on how we can help authors please visit us at www.readerviews.com.

And stay-tuned for the announcement of our category winners, special sponsored award recipients and regional/global winners on Monday, March 11th.

2018-2019 Literary Awards Finalists Announcement Coming Soon!

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Phew, the last few weeks at Reader Views have been busy to say the least!  We received the last batch of scores from the first-line judges and are busy tallying those results to determine the entries moving into the second round of the competition. 

This is a good time for participants to be planning their marketing strategy as there are many things to consider. It is a given that winning an honorable status will provide a strong promotional tool. But a tool is only good if put to use! As independent authors, having a plan is imperative, and all participants should be thinking, even before the announcement, about what comes next. What will you do to promote your award-winning book?

For more information on how we can help, check out our Services for Authors.

Best of luck to all participants. Finalists will be announced in the next couple of weeks. From everyone here at Reader Views, it’s an honor and a pleasure to be a part of your journey!

How to Get the Most from Internet Radio Broadcast Interviews

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Often the first idea that comes to mind when considering using interviews to promote our books is the airwaves via talk radio and real-time TV shows. The idea of reaching a large audience and becoming a celebrity by making an appearance for a few minutes is very appealing but It’s also not realistic. The Internet radio, however, offers a different type of exposure. The podcast or video interview stays online indefinitely available to anyone at any time. The audience of the show is the book’s target market, as readers search for a specific topic. These Internet shows often offer longer interviews (some up to 30-60 minutes) for the author to promote their book and website. Below are some ways authors can make the most out of Internet broadcasts:

·         Book different shows that talk about different topics covered in your book, sot that you can reach a wider audience in diverse areas. For example, for my book set up in Europe during WWII I could look for shows highlighting Historical, War, PSTD, Italy, Italian Migration, writing a book about your parents…etc.

·         Send different topic list and sample questions to all shows to make sure you have different interviews and don’t end up with several interviews that all sound the same.

·         Plan sale promotions and events around the interviews - announce the interviews on your website to get more traffic.

·         Make sure you mention your website and book title a few times throughout the interview. Be personable and cordial with host and have sound bites ready to mention that listeners can remember easily after the show is over that will prompt them to visit your site or Google your book.

·         Have an audio commercial of the book ready to offer it to the host and sponsor another show with it.

·         Make sure you link the show on your website, Amazon’s Author Central account, etc.

·         Announce your shows on all the online calendars you can reach as well as your social media sites.

Remember your online interviews will remain available indefinitely so keep mentioning them on your blog and newsletter with the link! For more information on how we help Authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Special Announcement: New Publicity Opportunity for Picture Book Authors!

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Hi All,

We wanted to share our exciting news!- Reader Views Kids and the Barefoot Librarian are collaborating on a new service for picture book authors with a unique opportunity to create a buzz about their books.

Taken from our press release:

Reader Views Kids teams up with the Barefoot Librarian, to create a new opportunity for picture book authors through the Librarian Picture Book Publicity Package.  Featuring an extensive array of publicity services, this new package not only provides picture book authors with an experienced book review from a librarian; it also maximizes exposure on their networks through special social media postings, advertising, and features uniting efforts to create a buzz for both targets: kids and libraries. Reader Views Kids and the Barefoot Librarian are scheduled to roll out this new service on February 4, 2019. The publicity package includes an expert assessment/review of the picture book, online publicity and news spotlights, social media exposure, advertising in an online magazine/book catalog, and an exclusive author interview.

 When interviewed about the new service, Susan Violante, co-Managing Editor of Reader Views said “Reader Views Kids was founded to offer reviews by kids for kids, as they are the real audience for children’s books. But in reality, librarians are also an important target, as they pick the books for their library audience. We decided that it was time to add librarian reviews to our Reader Views Kids menu, so we partnered up with the Barefoot Librarian, who is the perfect fit for our family.” Co-Managing Editor, Sheri Hoyte added, “It’s long overdue that we teamed up with a librarian to help our awesome children authors get their picture books in libraries, making them accessible to all kids. We are so excited to be working with Eve Panzer, the Barefoot Librarian – she brings a special talent to the table.”

Eve Panzer, the owner of the Barefoot Librarian, is thrilled about joining forces with Reader Views Kids. She said, “This is the perfect pairing! Susan and Sheri bring their vast experience of marketing and publicity, as well as a large community of followers to the partnership. I will bring my prospective as a children’s librarian and my networking channels in the library and educational worlds. Our author clients will truly get a unique and powerful package.”

The best features and areas of expertise from both companies were put together to develop an amazing publicity opportunity for independent picture book authors.

About Reader Views Kids:

Reader Views Kids launched at the end of 2007 as part of Reader Views to fill a need of having children’s books reviewed by kids instead of adults. Reader Views Kids consists of a group of kids ranging from 3-18 years of age. The mission of these bookworms is to read and give their honest opinion on age-appropriate books. Recommended guidelines are followed to make sure their reviews cover the book as a product, however, their voices and opinions are honest and genuine. The younger kids do the reviews with help of their parents, the older ones are seasoned readers in their own right and write their own reviews.

About the Barefoot Librarian:

Eve Panzer is the Barefoot Librarian, an experienced school librarian for kindergarten through eighth grade schools with passion for working with educators in their selection of the best of children’s literature. Holding a Masters of Library Science Degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Eve has been a professional in children’s literature since 1999, helping educators to select relevant books that are meaningful to their students.

More information can be found at www.readerviewskids.com and www.barefootlibrarian.com or by contacting Reader Views admin@readerviews.com.