Today I’m excited to share a guest post written by the fabulous Christine Dore! Christine is an editor at a Boston-based publishing house, and she focuses her list on creative nonfiction. We’re lucky to have her on the blog today, sharing some insider tricks that can help your book shoot up the Amazon rankings.
Amazon Tips for Authors – Or: How to Tame the Amazon Beast
In the timeline that is book publishing—and book selling—the ecommerce beast known as Amazon (some view this creature as fuzzy and loveable, others not so much) is a completely new phenomenon. Both Amazon itself and book providers are constantly learning and adjusting how we use this new retail giant to it’s fullest potential. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your title make its way up the Amazon algorithm and into your readers’ e-carts:
1. Preorders. Preorders. Preorders. If you haven’t heard this word yet from your editor, you will. Use any and all means of mass communication—social media, your blog or website, any regular writing gigs you may have—to push preorders of your book. The more people that preorder your book on Amazon, the higher the initial order Amazon will place for your book. This trend trickles down to other outlets as well, as they tend to follow suit to what Amazon is putting their money behind.
2. Encourage pageviews. The more people that look at your listing page, the higher it pops up on searches for your topic or genre. Even asking your family or blog readers to look up your book on Amazon every day for a week will affect its ranking. The Amazon system is run by a computer; it doesn’t know or care who’s looking at it–it just notices that people are and reacts accordingly.
3. Link it up. Another way to increase pageviews? Stick a “buy it now” button on the page(s) of your website. To play fair, also include links to your favorite indie store and B&N. You can find “Buy Now from Amazon” graphical buttons here.
4. Set up your author bio page. Not only is it fun to see your name in “lights,” having an author bio page makes you real to your online book buyers. It also gives you another springboard for pageviews to your listing(s).
5. Include the title of your book in your author bio page. The more pages that could pop up as search results, the higher your stats in the Amazon algorithm.
6. Encourage “yes” votes on reviews. Once reviews start rolling in, encourage your readers to vote “yes” to the “was this review helpful?” button under reviews they did, indeed, find helpful. The more votes a review gets, the higher it is placed on the page. This is also a good tip to push less helpful or negative reviews down on the page.
7. Ask happy readers to give 3+ starred reviews. The most common feature people use to narrow down Amazon results is to filter only books that receive 3-star reviews and higher; you don’t want to encourage dishonest or clearly-your-mom-type feedback, but good reviews from happy readers will make your title show up on more searches, which ties into the Top 100 lists.
8. Hit the Top 100 List. The more your book pops up in “3 star and up” searches, category searches, topic searches, author searches, etc., the more likely it is to hit the Top 100 list for your category. Historically, once a book hits the top 50 of that list for 2-3 days in a row, it stays there (at least for a solid few months).
Bonus: Cross-Promotion. All of the above tips tie into cross-promotion–if your book is showing up in “3 star and up” lists, the Top 100 for your category, and the top of the page for your search terms, the more likely Amazon is to stick it in the “frequently purchased together” section under another book’s page, or on their weekly/holiday/promotional roundup lists.
Of course, all of the above is shared in hopes of mutual benefit for authors everywhere, their publishers, and Amazon itself. This information was garnered through experience and know-how from those of us behind the scenes, and is subject to change at any time as the ecommerce book market becomes more established. As I see it, the more books out there doing well—the better for us all!
Christine Dore is an editor and writer, specializing in creative nonfiction. Off-duty, she loves everything DIY and is developing her own brand of handcrafted home goods that give back to the worldwide crafting community. Visit christinemdore.com to follow her creative pursuits!