An author’s guide to online reader communities: Amazon

By Rob W. Hart

This is the fifth, and final, entry in a series of articles exploring the ins-and-outs of social marketing websites designed for the reading community.

Amazon is the heavyweight of the online bookselling world. Before establishing yourself with any other book site, your book should be available on the Kindle store. You can start that process through the Kindle Publishing Programs website, and then you can move on to Author Central to create your page.

Setting up an Author Central page is easy long as you already have an Amazon account. While it can take 3 to 5 days for the page to show up on the website, you can start adding content as soon as you sign up.

Amazon offers you the ability to add a comprehensive amount of information to your site, including your bibliography, book cover images, editorial reviews, photos, events, videos and feeds from Twitter and your blog.

If you hold the copyright and marketing/promotion rights to you book, you can add the ‘search inside the book’ feature. This will let people find your book through a more diverse set of keywords, as well as let people sample passages from inside the book and help push you to other readers in the form of recommendations.

Through Author Central, you also have access to sales staff to help you with problems, and the ability to track your sales. The site is very friendly to self-published authors and provides a great deal of helpful information and support services.

 

Interacting with readers

  • Amazon has a large discussion community where you can engage readers who share similar interests. You can search the section through a tag cloud to help you find people who may be interested in your work.
  • Your author page lets you include information your readers may be interested in, such as good reviews and events.
  • Videos, blog posts and book extras allow you flexibility on offering unique, personalized information.

Special features

  • Amazon.com provides a comprehensive series of ‘how-to’ guides in the Author Central section, walking you through each process step-by-step.
  • The ‘search inside the book’ feature will increase your visibility and draw people to your work.
  • The site links with Shelfari.com under the ‘book extras’ section to allow prospective readers and fans access to more information.
  • There is a ‘like’ button on author pages.

Keeping your page up-to-date

  • When you get a good review, add a blurb or excerpt to your editorial reviews.
  • Encourage you friends and readers to post reviews.
  • Update your personal and publishing information as it changes.
  • Add your events to your page, and consider adding the occasional video, such as a book trailer or interview.

 

About this post’s author:

Rob W. Hart is a writer with a background in PR and journalism. He just completed his first novel, Apophenia, and maintains a blog about books and writing at blogduggery. You can also find him on Twitter.


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