BAIPA board member John Byrne Barry collected some information to share from the July meeting
There was a lot of great information shared at the July BAIPA meeting, “All Things Amazon,” more than we can possibly include in this blog post, but here are some takeaways, not necessarily in order of priority. (Thanks to Laurie King for sharing her notes.)
Presenters included BAIPA board members Ruth Schwartz, Judy Baker, David Kudler, and Becky Parker Geist.
- Amazon is the world’s largest marketplace — 250 million+ customers.
- Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is how you publish and sell your e-Book. It need not be exclusive. Authors can publish on KDP as well as other vendors. Kindle Select is exclusive — then you can’t publish elsewhere — though there are benefits that come from that exclusivity. For example, Kindle Select allows for promotions, like special pricing and promotions. Even if your e-Book is available through other channels, you can expect that two-thirds to three-quarters to of your sales will be through Amazon.
- CreateSpace is Amazon’s print-on-demand arm. The best way to publish your book on CreateSpace and distribute through Amazon is to use your own ISBN. (Either buy from CreateSpace or Bowker.) That way, you can also publish through Ingram Spark if you want to be able to distribute through bookstores.
(CreateSpace’s “Extended Distribution” technically makes it possible to sell through bookstores, but no bookstores will order through Amazon.)
CreateSpace offers unlimited free revisions. Find a mistake? You can fix it and then upload a new pdf at no charge.
- Amazon Author Central pages come up well in searches so you should flesh out those pages. Many authors do not. You can create a landing page and add blogs, events, twitter feed, videos, photos, and reviews.
- How do you get book reviews?
You want your book to be discovered. Here are some ways to get reviews:
- Being helpful to people before you need their help. Build relationships.
- You especially want to follow up and build relationships with people who are connected.
- Measure your results.
- Ask people for reviews.
- Put a request for reviews in the back of your book. “Please give me an honest review.”
- You can make a video review. Not too long, not too short.
- Contact top reviewers on Amazon. (Search for “top reviewers on Amazon.”)
- Follow up. Send reminders to those who have forgotten to write reviews.
Only about 1 percent of readers will write a review. That percentage is higher if they’re asked.
- GoodReads, now owned by Amazon, is fabulous. It has 50 millions members, all readers, and 1.5 billion books are added every year. It’s where book lovers hang out.
Groups are an important feature of GoodReads.
You can also request reviewers on GoodReads, as well as beta readers.
- Audible Creative Exchange (ACX), also owned by Amazon, allows authors to solicit auditions for a narrator/producer for your book. You hire by sharing royalties. The author and narrator share risk and reward. Forty percent of royalties goes to the author, which is split between the author and narrator. (Keep in mind that if you’re brand new, and asking for royalty share, you’re essentially asking the narrator to work for free.)
If you pay for a narrator, expect to pay $100-$400 per finished hour, depending on the narrator. If you do royalty share, you have to do exclusive.
No need for an ISBN with an audiobook.
Q: If your book has dozens of characters, do you need to have each of them speak differently?
A: Ideally, yes.
If you record it yourself, do it at home in a closet, and then hire someone like Becky to do post production.
- Amazon will price-match. Their search robots will look for other places where the book is for sale and match the lowest price. But you get paid based on the actual price, not the original listed price.
Have anything to add? Please do so in the comments.
— John Byrne Barry is a BAIPA board member and author of Bones in the Wash: Politics is Tough. Family is Tougher and Wasted: Murder in the Recycle Berkeley Yard.