With thousands of books being published every day in the USA alone, and approx one billion books on Amazon, it’s a wonder any self-publishing authors sell a handful of books, never mind covering costs and making a profit.
Penny Sansevieri’s helpful book, ‘How to sell a truckload of books on Amazon’ covers the basics that every author should know.
She is a best-selling author with 14 books to her name and is an acknowledged book marketing and media relations expert, with particular expertise regarding Amazon. Penny is the CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts and is an adjunct professor teaching self-publishing for NYU.
So, will Penny’s book work for you?
Regardless of the age of your book, if your subject matter is still relevant, you can boost it on Amazon using these techniques. I’ve seen it happen with books that are five years old. So if you’re reading this wondering if you can make this work for your book, I can assure you it can.
And in fact, she does offer a money back guarantee if you follow her advice and see no results.
But let me make you a promise as a person who’s been marketing for many, many years. The things you’ll learn in this book work. I guarantee they do. If the methods in this book don’t get you more reviews, more exposure, and more sales, return it to me, personally, for a full refund.
What should authors be doing?
- Short sells better than long.
- More than one book.
- Write novellas.
- Split books and bundle them.
- Bundle collaboration with other authors.
- Audio. Multiple format.
And then the slightly more complicated words appear:
Metadata, keywords, niche categories, and themes.
You can have seven keywords, but they don’t have to be one word, you can use strings.
Penny tells you how to match your Kindle categories for your ebook with your print book (assuming you have one), and how to ensure your keywords and themes link.
And, what you do need to do is keep going back to this data. Slump in sales? Change your words, check Amazon hasn’t moved the categories of your book.
Be aware that categories can change and often do, without notice. Sometimes Amazon even deletes categories. It won’t delete your book from the system, but it will delete it from that category and put it somewhere else.
She also covers pricing, although I thought this was a little thin, the pros and cons of setting up pre-orders, Kindle Select, the author central feature on Amazon, choosing the right name for a domain page, and the best use of freebies.
There are a lot of useful web links/resources and I’d still be here now if I checked them all out.
The second part of the book covers reviews, why authors need them, how to get them, and where to look for them. There is also a fair amount of space devoted to info about Goodreads, and using their giveaways and adverts.
I thought the review section was pretty standard, but with my journalism/PR background, that’s probably not surprising. Eg, split media pitching into national, regional and trade—most people usually forget trade—and read book bloggers’ guidelines and genre preferences. Well yes, bright idea there.
Sample letters showing how to pitch for a review are included, which I thought were somewhat OTT, cultural differences there, I guess:
I have recently released the one marketing book every author and business owner must have in their arsenal,
Personally I find that cringeworthy.
Plus, Penny recommends the begging-for-a-review technique at the end of a book. Not just ‘please leave a review’ which appears in most self-pub books, but writing a flipping letter to the reader.
Some useful info, best used as a factual resource and to plan a methodical approach around Amazon and Goodreads.
You could probably find much of the info on the Internet for free but for three dollars it’s easier to have it in one book.
Graphics are a bit iffy in the ebook version, but glancing at other reviews, it seems they aren’t much better in the print version.
I’m not a fan of stylised covers like this. I’d have preferred a photo or graphic design of lots and lots of books rather than a truck.
I had to read it a few times for the info to sink in. I think there was some unnecessary padding, and the editing could have been tighter. Few errors, but there was some repetitive writing. I really don’t need to read a definition of galley proofs and advance reading copies (ARCs) twice in a few pages.
If you don’t understand the terms mentioned in this review, then you should probably buy this book. If you are prepared to put in the time and effort to increase your sales.
Thanks to iRead Book Tours.