How to promote your book on Amazon

May 8, 2014 Desiree Zicko


Amazon is frequently the first place book-buying customers turn to for information on all sorts of new books, from the latest bestselling fiction and non-fiction to professional and scholarly texts. As an author, or simply as an informed consumer, you may have wondered about pricing and discoverability on Amazon. Here are the top 3 questions we hear from our authors:

  1. How does Amazon set the price for my book? Pricing for books is controlled by Amazon and is based on a number of factors including inventory levels, competition, bestseller status, and promotions. You may notice variation on the price from time to time; this is not unusual.
  2. How does Amazon decide on sales rankings? The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.
  3. How does the Amazon search engine work? For general keyword queries, Amazon searches for the words in the title, author, and subject fields. This makes it extremely important to have accurate data on the site. The search engine also pulls in products with appropriate keywords which you provided with copy for your book.


Meta-data is the building block of your book’s unique Amazon page, designed to provide customers with the most relevant information. At Wiley, the publishing team works behind the scenes to make sure your book’s critical meta-data is correct and ready to feed out to Amazon,six months ahead of publication. Your book’s meta-data consists of many pieces of information (including the cover, copy, endorsements, bibliographic information, and the files for the “Look Inside the Book” function).


Once your book’s product page is set up, there’s still a key role for the author to play. Through a few simple steps you can help increase your book’s discoverability and sales on Amazon:


1. Populate your keyword search. Improve the effectiveness of online search results and your book’s ranking on Amazon (and other online retailers) by suggesting keywords or search terms that apply to your book’s title or topic. We can add up to 100 words (with a limit of 2,000 characters) for each book.


2. Encourage customer reviews. Customer reviews can be very influential to potential consumers. If you know people who have read your book (including colleagues, clients, and friends) consider asking them to write a review. Remember, it doesn't matter where the book was purchased, if it was a gift, or if the reviewer just borrowed it for a weekend. If someone feels moved to write a review, and they are a registered Amazon customer, they are welcome to do so. Writing and posting a review is quick and easy, and often has a considerable impact on sales.


For best results, reviewers should follow Amazon’s General Review Creation Guidelines. Note, Amazon reviews can only be made by customers with an active Amazon account within their specific country. Amazon best practice and review guidelines are generally consistent for each region. For more information, visit your local Amazon website (US, CA, UK, DE, CN).


Bear in mind, once a review is posted to Amazon it is there indefinitely. There is no expiration date on customer reviews. Amazon reserves the right to restrict or remove any and all uses or Content that they determine in their sole discretion to be harmful to their systems, network, reputation, or goodwill, to other Amazon customers, or to any third party, as outlined in Amazon’s non-exhaustive list of prohibited conduct and content.[1]


3. Create an Author Page. Help your readers get to know you and your books better by setting up your own page on Amazon’s Author Central. Your Author Page can be customized to display your biography, photos, as well as videos and links to social media. Check out these examples: William Irwin, Galit Shmueli, and Vaclav Smil.


√ To start your own page, set up your Author Central account if you haven’t already done so. In Author Central, click the Profile tab. You’ll see sections for adding or changing your biography, photos, videos, speaking or other events, and blog feeds. Click the add or edit link next to a section. Instructions appear, along with space to add information.


Note, if you don’t add information to a section, that section does not appear on the Author Page. Sections are always available in Author Central so you can add or change the information later. It can take up to 5 days for an Author Page to appear on Amazon.[2]


4 . Know how reviews are ranked. Reviews are spotlighted, or moved to the top of the list of reviews, based on how well the review was written and how helpful it was deemed by Amazon customers. Spotlight Reviews are calculated on a daily basis for most items in Amazon’s catalog with customer reviews.[3]


Review rankings are calculated through usage of Amazon’s ‘Was this review helpful to you?’ Yes/No prompt. Amazon customers can also comment on other reader reviews using the “Comment” link next to “Was this review helpful to you?”


Review rankings are the simplest way to get a good review of your book moved to the top of the list and a bad review moved to the bottom.


5. Link to your product. Remember to add the link to your book’s Amazon product page to your email signature, blog, and/or website.




About the Author

Desiree Zicko

Senior Marketing Manager, Wiley // Desiree is a marketing manager for Wiley's Marketing and Digital Product Management team within the Global Research division. She works within the Books Channel Marketing group on the Americas region.

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