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Amazon Book Marketing: 11 Tips for Self-Published Authors on Amazon

Publishing, Marketing, & Writing Tips

When you hear the word “marketing” do you immediately think of fake advertising claims about a product’s magic powers that you just know are being overhyped? Toothpaste that can make your teeth three shades whiter overnight? (Yeah right!)

Amazon Book Marketing: 11 Tips for Self-Published Authors on Amazon
Table of contents

Let’s talk Amazon book marketing.

When you hear the word “marketing” do you immediately think of fake advertising claims about a product’s magic powers that you just know are being overhyped? Toothpaste that can make your teeth three shades whiter overnight? (Yeah right!)

Or maybe you think of Don Draper in the hit TV series Mad Men and all of his advertising bag of tricks. The suit, the tie, the ever-present Scotch in hand.

Or maybe you think marketing is some kind of mysterious business superpower that only an elite group of professionals can handle.

Maybe you simply have no idea what marketing really is. No shame in that…

We’re going to strip away all the mystery around marketing and show you how you can create an effective marketing plan for your self-published book. Because if you master book marketing, your sales and royalties can only go in one direction—UP!

A solid marketing plan includes anything from paid advertising to leveraging social media, building your email list or working with influencers and podcasters to spread the word.

While we have a ton of other articles that show you how to self-publish on Amazon’s KDP—including a free webinar to help you get started—we’re going to focus on how to master marketing.

Here are 11 tips for self-published authors to market their eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

1. Develop a Mindset of Ownership

Self-publishing is a double-edged sword. There are pros and cons to releasing your book as an independent author.

One of the potential downsides is that you won’t have the same access to marketing resources as you would with a traditional publishing deal. You’re on your own.

Big-name publishers have deep marketing pockets, with giant publicity teams to help spread the word about your book. They help authors promote their books through a ton of different channels you might not have even thought of using. Think social media campaigns, billboards, magazine ads, book reviews, author tours, podcasts, and more.

That said, many big publishing companies don’t actually put that much marketing money behind first-time authors. It’s too risky for them to spend a lot on a no-name author who may or may not sell many books. Yes, they might give you a book deal with an advance, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to spend $500,000 to market your book.

This is one of the harsh realities many people don’t realize about traditional publishers. Again, it’s all about risk and “managing their portfolio.” They will often focus more attention on big-name authors that they know will make them money. Because (no surprise here) it really is all about the money. So even if you have a shiny new publishing deal, you might be shocked to find out you still have to do a lot of the marketing on your own.

This is just one more reason to self-publish. And you’ll also have much more control over your overall marketing plan.

So, tip #1 is to develop a mindset of ownership. Take charge of your book’s marketing! Treat it like you would a new puppy or a baby. Take care of it. Give it the best you can afford. Give it your all and take it seriously. If you do, you’ll be rewarded in book sales and royalties. Cash in the bank!

Get As Many Good Reviews As Possible

2. Get As Many Good Reviews As Possible

Another marketing tip is to get as many 5-star reviews on Amazon as possible. Good reviews are one of the top keys to success on KDP.

Students of our course have reported that even just getting a few reviews bumped their eBook up to the first page in their niche market. And some students who have really doubled down on KDP have released five full-length books each with 100 5-star reviews. These folks are now making up to $10,000 a month in passive income book royalties!

This shows the power of Amazon reviews. Reviews are one of the first things people look for when they’re shopping for anything on Amazon. And book shopping is no different. People need to see some kind of social proof that the book is worth paying money for, even if you’re only charging $4.99. People don’t want to risk spending money on something that hasn’t already been vetted by others. No one wants to be the first one to try something, the guinea pig.

When potential readers check out your book on Amazon, you want them to see a bunch of good reviews instead of a blank page. If it looks like your book isn’t popular, or not read or liked by that many people, others will assume it’s not worth their time. Even if you know you created a masterpiece, having Amazon reviews will take away the risk readers might feel in buying a book from a self-published author.

Remember, new readers have never heard of you. So you need to wow them by letting them see how much others like your book.

So how do you get reviews? There are lots of ways. Ask early readers to leave you a good review if they found your book helpful or interesting. Maybe even give away some free copies to friends and family in return for a good review.

Collect as many 4- to 5-star Amazon reviews as you can. It will be a big part of your marketing plan and your book’s success. You can also read our guide on how to get Amazon book reviews to get more strategies.

3. Use Your Network of Friends and Family

The next marketing tip for self-published authors is to use your network of family and friends. It might feel awkward at first to ask them to read your eBook, or even just to tell them about it, but try to overcome the shyness. Be confident!

You worked hard to write and publish this eBook. You should be proud of it. Use your network of friends, family members and maybe even coworkers to start spreading the news that your eBook is live and available for download.

Pick the Right Genre and Target Audience

4. Pick the Right Genre and Target Audience

When it comes to self-publishing, it pays to pick a popular genre and niche market. The more specific you are, the more success you’ll have. This is because you won’t be competing against top authors in an overcrowded market.

For example, if you write a cookbook with a generic title like, “The 100 Top Recipes,” you’re going to be competing against pretty much everyone who has written a cookbook. However, if you title your book, “The Top 5 Ways to Grill Jumbo Shrimp this Summer,” you’ll be competing in a much smaller arena.

Drilling down on a more specific target audience will make your marketing a lot easier, too. You’ll be able to really focus on the types of people you’re trying to reach instead of the general masses.

And make sure you choose the right categories and keywords when you publish your book. This will help your book appear in readers’ search results.

So tip #4 is to spend time thinking about the genre of your book and who your target audience is. Do some market research on the niche areas you’re interested in. Targeting a specific demographic will help a lot when it comes time to marketing your eBook.

5. Create an Author’s Page on Amazon

Amazon allows you to create an author page on Amazon Author Central. It’s worth taking the time to get this right. When potential readers come to your book’s page, they should see a professional looking picture of you with a solid biography that tells them about you and why you wrote your book.

Focus on your expertise, passion or unique perspective to help entice them to want to read your book. You should also create a strong book description to attract more customers and get a professional headshot. This isn’t the time for selfies!

6. Use Social Media

Use the power of social media to drive more traffic to your book’s Amazon page. Posting about your book on social media channels and launching campaigns will go a long way in marketing your self-published book. You can also work with social media influencers to spread the word.

Give your social media followers a taste of why you wrote your book, what inspires you as a writer or give them a behind-the-scenes look at how you developed your story and characters.

You can also collaborate with other authors and do cross-promotions on each other's blogs or newsletters. You can go on online forums to engage with potential readers who share your interest on the topics you’re writing about.

And don’t be afraid to advertise through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Google. Running ads online is an easy and relatively cheap way to reach an even wider audience of people who are interested in your genre or book topic.

7. Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) is having a big impact on the publishing world. Writers are saving time by leaning into this cutting-edge technology. In fact, you could even write a book using AI.

With AI-generated analytics, you can target your audience and tailor campaigns to specific reader preferences, resulting in higher sales and greater reach. You can also use AI to analyze data on book sales, reader preferences and market trends. AI is helping publishers identify potential bestsellers and better tailor their marketing efforts to reach the right groups of people with the right content.

AI allows people to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. You could also use AI to predict future market trends, enabling you to stay ahead of the curve and make more strategic decisions.

You can even use AI tools to manage your social media game. AI can automate the mundane parts of social media management and save you time. You won’t have to hire an expensive social media team to manage your brand and marketing. These cutting-edge tools can look at your content and pick the elements that will perform the best, including which format to use (videos, images or text). They can even recommend the best time of day to post. AI can also reverse engineer the social media companies’ algorithms to get your posts seen by more eyeballs.

8. Use Amazon’s Marketing Tools

Did you know that Amazon gives independent authors a big toolbox of marketing resources to choose from? Yep! It’s almost like having your own marketing firm to promote your book—but it’s free!

Self-published authors have options like Amazon Kindle Advertising and book giveaways to take some of this burden off their shoulders.

By enrolling in Amazon’s Kindle Select program, you’ll have access to special promotions that help people find your work. One of these is called Kindle Countdown Days. For seven days, Amazon will boost your royalty rates up to 70% for eBooks that are $.99 or $1.99. Amazon also does Free Book Amazon book promotions, where they will offer your Kindle eBook for free for up to five days to hook new readers.

You can read our guide on building a Kindle book marketing strategy.

9. Start a Newsletter

A lot of authors start a weekly or monthly email newsletter to build up their audience. Email newsletters are a great way to grow your fanbase and spread the word about your book. It allows you to stay in touch with readers about new chapters, new projects, your next book or a sneak peek at your writing process.

You can also hold giveaways, promotions or contests to your email audience to keep them engaged.

10. Test! Test! Test!

Successful marketing in the self-publishing world isn’t something you can put on auto-pilot. You need to constantly check in with how things are performing.

Use Amazon’s analytics tools to track the success of your book. How well is it doing? What sales goals do you have for the month? Are you hitting those goals? What might be holding you back? What areas of your marketing plan might be a little weak or need improvement?

With Amazon’s real-time data and performance metrics, you can make informed, data-driven decisions that will propel your publishing business forward. You can use Amazon’s tools to analyze sales trends, customer behavior and competitors' activities, ultimately refining your strategies.

As you figure out what works, you’ll see a rise in book sales and will be able to use those learnings and insights to write an even better book next time.

11. Hire a Marketer

Finally, we should also mention that you can always hire someone for Amazon marketing services to help. You can find freelance marketers on websites like Fiverr or Upwork to take care of some of this for you. You might also have a friend who does marketing work and they could pitch in at a discounted price.

Besides having a professional marketer on your side, you’ll have the added benefit of getting more time back to focus on your next book. There’s nothing wrong with delegating marketing tasks so you can focus on writing or strategy.

You’ve Got This!

Don’t be intimidated by the term “marketing.” Just because you don’t have a Master’s degree in this area, doesn’t mean you’re not equipped to master marketing and increase your eBook sales. Marketing is simply telling people about your book.

The world needs your voice! Your expertise. Your book. And the way to tell them is through marketing.

We just covered 11 tips to market your book. But we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. Get creative! And don’t be shy. It will be hard to make money if you’re afraid to put yourself out there. This is why the first tip was about developing a mindset of ownership. Don’t be afraid to talk about your amazing work and your publishing journey.

So, keep investing in your marketing. Do promotions. Hype your book as much as possible. The more you market, the more you’ll sell.

You can build an effective marketing strategy that will make your book stand out on Amazon and get the attention it deserves.

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