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Saturday, August 22, 2015

CARE AND FEEDING OF AMAZON AUTHORS


I recently discovered the blog of technical writer Sherry Snider. It contains a wealth of information on any number of how to subjects near and dear to the heart of independent authors. With her permission, I have reprinted below her second article on The Care and Feeding of an Author on Amazon. This is a great step by step listing of how fans and readers can help an author via Amazon. These steps appear simple, but sometimes you have to spell it out for folks. As Sherry said to me in a IM exchange, “Funny thing is, when I originally published the post, some authors actually took umbrage at the idea of authors asking their readers to post reviews or to help in any way. Now, it's common practice to politely ask readers for support. My, things do change quickly.”

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF AN
AUTHOR ON AMAZON
SHERRY SNIDER

[My first blog post on the subject] seemed to help a lot of authors and friends of authors, so here’s the next installment, The Care and Feeding of an Author on Amazon. The infographic is literally, a checklist of things folks can do on Amazon to help an author. Detailed instructions and screenshots for each item are included in the post below.

Other online retailers have similar features, but Amazon is the reigning champ of online sales. Using these features helps the author and the specific book(s) gain visibility…which increases the likelihood of sales. Again, we want to keep authors fed, watered, and writing, right?

BUY


Duh. Of course, BUYING an author’s book or e-book helps directly. It not only puts money in the author’s pocket, it also boosts sales figures. The more a book sells, the more love it will get from the book store (Amazon).

SHARE I JUST BOUGHT...

Click to share I just bought on Amazon on social networks.

When you purchase a book or e-book on Amazon, you’ll get an option to share news of your purchase on social media. That DOES add clout to the share. People DO tend to notice if a friend actually pays for a book AND makes the effort to share.

You even get this option if you purchase an e-book during a free promotion. The post doesn’t share how much you spent…just that you got it. Sharing the I Just Bought info on your social network spreads your endorsement and support even further than just the purchase.

WRITE A REVIEW

This is HUGE! We all read reviews before we buy (usually), and reviews on books are especially important. We all read a bit differently depending on our personal experiences, so book reviews are relatively subjective. Heck, bad reviews influence our buying decisions just as much as good reviews. Either way, a large number of reviews is always helpful.

It doesn’t have to be a long analysis. I think the current minimum for an Amazon review is 20 words. 20 words. That’s like a substantial tweet. You can do that to support an author, right?

To write a review, open the book or e-book’s listing on Amazon. Near the top, you can use the existing reviews link as a shortcut, or you can scroll down to the reviews listed lower on the page. If it’s a new book, you might see a link to be the first to review this book.

Click the Write a Customer Review button or the Create Your Own Review button.

Writing a review only takes a few quick answers to questions on a form. If you’re not already logged in to your Amazon account, you’ll be prompted to do so before you submit a review.

You rate the book with 1-5 stars with 5 stars indicating you loved it. If you hover over each star, pop up text will describe how Amazon perceives the rating – loved it, hated it, etc.

You enter a title for your review – usually something positive or negative that summarizes how you feel about the book, like Great Beach Read, Really Helpful, or Waste of Time.

You type 20 words or more telling folks how you feel about the book, if you recommend it, to whom, and why.

Notice that’s under the default tab for a Written Review. There’s also a tab if you’d prefer to submit a video review of the book.

VIDEO REVIEWS

You actually don’t even have to WRITE a review for Amazon. You can submit a video review. Use your webcam or smartphone to record your thoughts on the book and upload it just like you’d submit a written review.

You can also post the same video review on YouTube. Make sure to use the book’s title, author name, and any keywords or terms associated with the book in the YouTube video’s title and description. YouTube is one of the most highly searched sites online. Your video review will get views.

Once you have your written or video review ready, click the Preview Your Review button to see what it’ll look like, then submit.

LIKE IT
Yeah, I know. Like is WAY overused on multiple social media sites, but Amazon uses it too – and it is a quick and easy way to show your author’s book a little Amazon love. Just click the Like button near the top of the book’s listing.

SEND THE LINK

One last thing you can do while you’re still on Amazon is to grab the URL (link) for the book.

Select that http://www… line at the top of your web browser and copy it (right-click and select copy or press CTRL+C). Then you can paste the URL link in an email, on a social media site, etc. Word of mouth is awesome, but it’s much more convenient if your friends can just click on the link rather than remember and search for a title.
 
Feel free to share with friends, too. A few clicks can go a long way toward keeping an author fed, watered, and writing.
 
To download the printable Amazon-specific infographic CLICK HERE
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sherry Snider, Technical Writer evolved over years of teaching English, reading, and speech, then, working in the IT field.  After documenting hundreds of technical processes and teaching others how to duplicate results, technical writing and training became the next logical career path. Sherry takes technical writing, multimedia, training, and consulting projects in a variety of industries. Though hardware (assembly, troubleshooting, repair, etc.) and software (user manuals, admin manuals, developers’ guides, etc.) are usually her favorite projects, pretty much any customer with cool toys and tech to master has a good chance of capturing her interest –especially if her specific experience and skills offer significant value to the project or customer/client.
 
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