Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Look at Amazon's World

Amazon can be a jungle for an author in the promo and marketing world. And by a jungle, I mean if you don't learn to swim in the river, the piranhas will get you.

I've seen authors try to get the word out about their books with no luck and I've seen authors take off due to the success of the Select and Prime programs. Today, I'm just going to give you an overview of the Amazon Prime, Select, KDP platforms and touch on using their message boards. Mind you, only you, the author, can decide what's the best way to proceed with your promo and marketing endeavors. If you think the Amazon tools are worth taking advantage of, follow up with your own research and determine on your own if they'll work for you.

This platform is geared for die-hard Amazon fans, readers, and viewers. The cost for Prime is $79.00 a year. Some of the benefits include:

Free 2 day shipping in the US

In the US, you can access free, unlimited movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video (This feature reminds of Amazon's version of Netflix) I have a Kindle Fire and Amazon offers a wide variety of video content.

There's a lending library where you, as a reader, can get a book on loan like checking it out of the library for free.

If you have Prime, then those books in the Select Program are free or sold at a discount for you.

KDP Select

KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. This is a service where authors self publish their books with Amazon. If you choose to use KDP Select, there are 2 things they require:

1. That the book is available through them EXCLUSIVELY
2. For a min. period of 90 days.

Where Prime and Select meet:

If you're an author in the select program, one of your promo tools is the free promo you can offer your book free for readers up to 5 days during a 90 day period. What does this do? Give your book exposure to the massive amount of readers on Amazon. As a reading member of Prime, you can have free access to the book. The thought is if readers like your writing, they'll download/buy more of your books and the boost you see from using this Select tool will carry over to your other titles.

I know several authors who have taken advantage of this option and have seen their Amazon rankings and sales rise.

Amazon Message boards

Amazon readers hang out on the Amazon message boards. They are a great way to find more books. I've noticed readers will recommend favorite books and recommendations can go viral. That said, as an author, just be mindful where you post. Lurk first and get the feel of the board. Post your promo in the MEET THE AUTHORS forum only. If you venture into other forums, participate in the discussions, but don't give any promo of your book. That's not cool on Amazon. Readers want to discuss books in those forums. It's so important to respect these rules. If you don't, you'll be called out, making your promo efforts harder instead of easier.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, concerns and feedback. Do you have a success story to share?


  1. Very interesting. I've started lurking on the forums - wow there are a lot of them. Thanks, for the great tips, Stephanie.

  2. Thanks for the tips Steph, I've been venturing more into Amazon this last few weeks and you've answered a few of the queries I had.

  3. It's a jungle out there in promo-land. I'm amazed by how the dynamic changes through time from one platform to the next. First it was myspace and yahoo groups. Now the trend seems to be the Amazon family and Facebook for marketing.

    And for authors who are busy writing books, the learning curve is steep from one thing to the next. Or, I should say, it's that way for me. I often feel like I have a machete and I'm trying to hack my way through the rain forest.

    Thanks for the Amazon tips, Steph. They are all useful.

    Death, Island Style coming in March

  4. Linda and Sue, glad I was able to help. I'd like to these type of articles because they're always a good stepping stone to researching more and it gives you a broad understanding of the trend.

    Maggie, I agree - the learning curve is steep because ultimately, a good marketing campaign leads to sales.


  5. Steph, I used the KDP select program. It did wonders for my books.

  6. Great info, Steph. I have yet to venture out on the Amazon forums. It's a little intimidating for a new author like myself. I will have to give it a try though.

  7. Wow Steph, that's some serious information. Thanks!!
    Abd Happy Valentine's Day, girl!

  8. Thanks for that info, Steph - I've never ventured into the Amazon forums and maybe I should have long ago!

  9. Ladies, thanks so much for popping in. I'm discovering that Amazon offers a wonderful opportunity to get your name out. Mona's had wonderful success with the program. I would only caution you to do your research, lurk and learn before you engage. And if you self publish, considering registering your copyright with the copyright office. Only you know your situtation but there is a ton of piraters out there.