—Guest Writer Dave Chesson—
I hope you benefitted from my prior tutorial on Amazon Marketing Services. Here, I'll reveal how to run a successful Amazon book promotion.
Knowing the forms of book marketing that are actually worth your time and attention can be one of the most difficult aspects of self-publishing. With time in short supply, it is essential that we spend it and our energy and money on only those forms of marketing which are proven to reap results for books similar to our own.
This is why one of the tactics I personally advocate is scheduling a promotional push to trigger the interest of Amazon. By carefully timing a campaign for your book you can spike your sales in a way which shoots you to the top of your chosen categories and subsequently catches the interest of Amazon to promote your book automatically.
Read on to discover:
- The principles behind an Amazon book promotion
- Whether to use Kindle Unlimited or not
- How to time your promotion for maximum impact
- Using the right mix of external promotion sites
- Considering external advertising
So, without further ado, let’s begin our efforts to master the world of promotional book campaigns on Amazon.
The Principles Of An Amazon Book Promotion
The basic principle behind promoting your book on Amazon is to provide a special offer for the customer. This takes the form of either a discount on your book’s usual price or a period where your book is available for free.
No matter what type of promotion you run on Amazon, or the genre of book you are working with, your objectives are similar. The aim of the promotion is to:
- Draw extra attention to your book for a limited period of time
- Offer an enticing reason to purchase your book
- Send the right mixture of Amazon and external traffic to your book’s sales page during the promotional period
As you will typically invest significant resources into your promotional campaign, it is natural to want to see a return on your investment in the form of profit generated by increased book sales. It is therefore essential to measure and compare your sales figures during and around the promotional period in relation to the book’s usual performance.
Depending on whether you intend to offer your book for free, or at a discounted sales price, slightly different approaches apply. We’ll consider each in turn.
One of the promotional options offered by Amazon is to provide your book free for a period of time.
This might seem like you are simply losing money but that isn’t the case. If you run a free promotion in the right way you stand the experience the following benefits:
- A higher ABSR which results in increased promotion following the promotional period
- Greater promotional push from Amazon’s own mechanisms
- The chance to attract happy and grateful reviewers during the free period
- People who get the first book in a series for free and then go on to purchase the later installments
You can either offer your book for free for several days in a row or break your free days up over a longer period of time. It often makes more sense to schedule at least several of your days in a row so you can devote enough resources to the campaign while it runs. Many self-publishers on Amazon have had success by offering their book for free in two blocks of several days each.
After your free promotional period ends, you should have a strategy in place for how you while subsequently price your book. If you are launching the book with a free promotional period, it’s common practice to price your book at 0.99 immediately after the promotional period to benefit from the increased interest, before eventually upping the price to the full retail amount when enough reviews have accumulated.
The other option is to offer a discount on the usual price of your book.
If you take this option it is a good way to benefit from the increased attention generated for your book by the promotional activity while still retaining a cut of the sales price.
If you are unsure of how much to discount your book by then check out other similar books within your genre or niche when they are on a sales discount. The amount they are reduced by will give you an idea of how to price your own offer.
Kindle Unlimited is one of the more controversial topics in the world of self-publishing. It tends to divide the opinions of authors. Some advocate for it while others feel it is an example of Amazon taking advantage of authors without offering enough in return.
We’ll now take a look at the pros and cons of using Kindle Unlimited so you can make an informed decision based on your own situation. There is no simple answer and it is a choice every author needs to weigh up and decide for themselves.
Simply put, Kindle Unlimited is a program run by Amazon where Kindle subscribers who pay a monthly fee can download ebooks on a subscription basis. It is similar to the music service Spotify, except for books. In exchange for pages read, authors get money. However, they are required to publish their book exclusively on Amazon.
Reasons To Use Kindle Unlimited
There are many reasons that authors choose to enroll their books in Kindle Unlimited. The fact that a high number of authors currently participate in the program is a testament to the fact that it offers value.
The key advantages of being part of Kindle Unlimited include:
- The ability to offer your book for free during promotional periods
- You make money when readers read your book at no extra cost to them
- Amazon promotes your book in additional ways and places
The amount you make when a user of the Kindle Unlimited program reads your book depends on the number of pages read. Each month, Amazon allocate a total amount of money to the program which is then divided up by the total number of pages read.
Reasons To Avoid Kindle Unlimited
Despite the above benefits, many self-published authors choose to steer clear of Kindle Unlimited entirely.
The most common reasons for choosing to avoid Kindle Unlimited include:
- A desire to ‘go wide’ and have the freedom to publish in markets other than Kindle
- A lack of desire to participate in the promotional options offered by Kindle Unlimited
- A belief that the amount paid for pages read is not fair compensation for an author’s work
If you wish to offer your book in markets other than Kindle then it is essential you avoid Kindle Unlimited. Your decision as to whether this is worth it will depend on the amount you expect to sell in the other markets weighed up against the amount you could generate through Kindle Unlimited pages read revenue.
If you are unsure of the right way to go, spend some time listening to what other authors in your genre and niche are saying. Many others will have grappled with the same decision and will have useful advice to offer as a result.
Timing Your Book Promotion
Your book promotion should be carried out at a carefully chosen time. The main times you may wish to run a promotional period for your book include:
- At the time of your book’s launch
- To coincide with other marketing activities such as advertising
- To coincide with a topical event such as a holiday or other period of interest
Some of the things to consider when timing your book promotion are the choice of marketing activities you will engage in, the cost of each activity, and the lead time required to engage in the activity.
For example, you may wish to run a price discount campaign on one of your books at the same time you advertise on Facebook and run a push through book promotion sites. To do this, you would need to factor in the lead time to place and confirm your ads and ensure this coincided with the start date of your promotional period.
Choose Promotion Sites Carefully
You may wish to make book promotion sites a part of your promotional push. They can be a cost-effective way of generating interest in your book. If you decide to go with promotion sites, you should consider the following -
- Whether a site is free or paid
- Whether a site you are considering has a track record with your genre
- What you will be getting for your money (such as social push, an email blast etc)
- If your book meets the requirements of the promotion site (minimum reviews, number of pages etc)
Some of the more popular book promotion sites can have long waiting times, so be sure to take these into account when timing your campaign.
Advertise Your Promotional Period Externally
In addition to running your promotion on Amazon, and making use of specialist book promotion sites, you may wish to consider running external ads to your promotion.
One of the best places to run ads for your book is Facebook. This is due to the high level of targeting offered by the site, the high number of users, and the ability to benefit from increased traffic to your book and additional signups to your mailing site.
If you are considering running ads on Facebook, you need to ensure that:
- The cost per click is affordable. How many times will you need a sale to convert in order for the ad to pay off?
- You target the right people. It’s better to target specifically, such as fans of specific books, rather than more generally, such as a gender or age group.
- You set a time limit on your campaign. It’s easy to run up unwanted expenditure if you don’t limit your time carefully.
- Your ad image is eye-catching and your copy is snappy and has a clear call to action. Facebook users are bombarded with content so you need to ensure yours stands out
By running a carefully targeted Facebook ad campaign during your book’s promotional period you drive additional customers to your sales page who would not have otherwise discovered your promotion. This external traffic results in increased momentum on Amazon.
Amazon Book Promotion Tips Summary
You now know the philosophy behind promoting your book on Amazon, how to stack your marketing tactics for maximum impact, and how to drive additional traffic to your offer.
- Choose wisely between a free period and a price promotion
- Carefully weigh the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited before enrolling
- Understand whether a book promotion site has value for the money and is right for your work
- Know how to drive targeted external traffic to your book sales page during the promotional time period
How else do you like to run your book promotions for maximum impact? Which are your favorite book promotion sites? What experience have you had advertising your book on Facebook?
Look forward to chatting in the comments!
Dave Chesson teaches authors advanced book marketing tactics at Kindlepreneur.com. He likes sharing in-depth, actionable guides, such as his recent comparison of the best book writing software. His free time is spent in Tennessee with his wife and children.
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