by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Publishing a book is one of the most exciting things an author can experience. After months and possibly years of investing the time to create their manuscript, it is understandable that one might be a bit anxious to see that first proof copy and hold a tangible book in their hands. Then even more of a thrill is to see the book up on Amazon and available at BarnesandNoble.com. That seems to make it feel so official. Most authors want to know, how does this all happen?Today I want to talk specifically about what an author can expect with their book distribution and Amazon listing process here at Infinity Publishing. Let’s get started.
It is important to clarify what the publication date actually means and how an author should plan around this for their marketing and promotion. First, the publication date is the date the book is officially available for purchase via Infinity’s online storefront at www.buybooksontheweb.com toll free at 877-BUY-BOOK. The author should plan their marketing and promotion 60 days out from the date the book is published via www.buybooksontheweb.com. It can take up to 30 days for the book to show up in all distribution channels, so you want to provide enough time. This is part of the publication process, so plan your marketing accordingly.
Infinity publishes new titles every Friday.
Once a week, you’ll see new titles being published by Infinity Publishing by going to our website www.buybooksontheweb.com/NewTitles. All new books are first published via our online storefront. The book is immediately available for purchase. The first order can take 1-2 weeks to ship out, from the date the order is placed, even though a proof copy has been previously ordered. After the first order it can take 5-7 business days for a book order to ship from the date the order is placed.
Once a book has been published via Infinity’s online bookstore at www.buybooksontheweb.com, on the following Wednesday, the metadata for all new titles is electronically submitted to all distributors. This means all information on every new title (i.e. book title, author name, book synopsis, author bio, page count, ISBN, book format, interior file and cover art) is sent out to all distribution partners, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Once that information has been submitted it is up to the distributors to download the data we have provided.
Distributors download newly submitted titles on their own schedule. Here is a quick look at what you can expect of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Amazon will show the book’s initial listing within a few days, so if the metadata is submitted on a Wednesday, an author can anticipate the book to show up early the following week. What the author will see is the book title, author name, book synopsis, author bio and book specs (i.e. page count, format, publisher name, etc.)
NOTE: The book cover will not be up at this point and the book will show as “out of stock”. This is due to Amazon’s internal process and there is no way to rush this. Authors should plan for this.
Cover image. The cover image should show up within about a week of the book being listed on Amazon.
Out of Stock Message. The “out of stock” message should be removed by Amazon within 2-3 weeks from the initial display of the book on their site. Again, this is part of Amazon’s own internal process.
Barnes and Noble.
BarnesandNoble.com takes about 2-3 weeks before the book will show up in their online storefront.
Barnes and Noble retail stores. The book will show up in the retail outlets database within 2-3 weeks. At that juncture it allows the bookstores to see the book is available. They will not automatically order copies of a book simply because it is in their database. It is up to the author to approach their local retailers to promote their books and see if there is interest in having them carry the book locally.
NOTE: Bookstores require that all books have a return policy and Infinity Publishing provides this for all of our titles. It can take 30-60 days before this will show up in retailers systems. The book data will show up well in advance of the return policy, again this is due to how retailers update their internal systems. Authors should plan for this in advance of approaching bookstores directly.
Planning for the official book launch.
Authors should be planning ahead for their first book signing and book launch and look at events 60 days from the point in which their books are available on www.buybooksontheweb.com. Authors should be using this time to gather book reviews and work on their online platform, working on their blog and building excitement about the book via social media and lining up media interviews to create a buzz about the upcoming book. Traditional publishers spend at least six months pre-promoting their titles, so this is not unusual.
We also recommend that authors order at least 100-150 copies for their first order. Authors don’t realize how many books they will actually need, once they start promoting it and talking with family and friends.
Preparing for your book launch is so very important and understanding how and when your book will be available is part of the planning process.
Best of luck to all of our newly published authors!
Image courtesy of Cécile Graat.
Amazon Author Central is experiencing issues site-wide with personal author pages. Information is not displaying properly and is reverting back to older versions of the author's page. I spoke with an Amazon representative this morning who told me that Amazon is working on this.
If an author has recently made any updates to their personal profile or book pages, the information is in Amazon's system it is just not showing up on their page and may be showing up blank or showing older information. Amazon is working on this and expects to have the situation resolved in the next 24-48 hours.
If you have not yet taken advantage of this free Amazon service please read our article on Amazon Author Central. It's a wonderful free book marketing tool.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Amazon announced today a new feature for readers to follow their favorite authors, they call it “Amazon Author Rank” and it’s a list of the best-selling authors on Amazon.com. The list is supposed to make it easier for readers to discover which authors are the top sellers on Amazon and can search via a selection of major genres.
Amazon sent out emails to all authors earlier today and included in that email the individual Amazon Author’s Rank.
Rank is based on all sales of all books that are on Amazon.com and is similar to their Amazon Best Sellers list which is updated hourly. The top 100 authors in the top 100 genres will be listed on Amazon. Author’s can track their Amazon Author Rank status in their Amazon Author Central account. There is a special tab marked “Rank”.
Author Rank starts with sales activity starting from September 28, 2012.
This will be another resource for authors to use to track their sales history and success. It will be interesting to see how traditionally published authors stack-up against independently published authors.
Click here for more on Amazon Author Central.
Tell us what you think of this new feature below...
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Author’s it’s that time of year when you should be paying extra close attention to your marketing. The holidays are just around the corner and this is the time of year when people buy more books than ever. Have you done all that you can to position your book on Amazon to compete with other titles? Let’s do a quick recap on the top 5 free Amazon tools you can use to market your book. (Note: if you click on each of the 5 items listed below, you’ll be taken to a more in-depth article to learn more.)
Amazon Author Central. Amazon provides a FREE author page to each and every author who has an ISBN and listed on their site. It’s true! It’s a great marketing tool to help authors, better market their books. Get your account set-up as soon as your book is listed on their site, as it can take 5-7 days (or more) for your new page to go live.
Amazon Forums. Online discussions can be a driving force to exposing your book to a new audience. Amazon has such a variety of forum discussions, you’re sure to find one (or start one) that you can use to mention your book title. The people hanging out in Amazon’s forums are typically readers and authors. Be polite and don’t just push your book, join the discussions. Quick tool you can post instantly.
Amazon Keyword Tags. Make your book more discoverable by using Amazon’s tagging feature. It can deliver almost immediate results if you do it properly. Look at what tags (i.e. historical fiction, vegan cookbook, etc.) other books in your genre are using and then tweak yours to compete. Put yourself in a readers shoes, what words would they use to find a book of your genre on Amazon. Get your book into the running. The more keyword tags you have, the better. Quick tool can be done immediately.
Amazon’s Listmania! Another book discovery tool is Amazon’s Listmania! This gizmo will position your book amongst other books in your genre, simply by making a list and including your book in the mix. Be selective and true to the books you include on your list, it must make sense. It’s easy to assemble your list, spend your time doing the research on which books you want to include on your list.
Amazon Search Inside the Book Readers looking for a new book to read want to be a able to flip through the first few pages of a book to see what it’s all about. Be sure you utilize the search inside the book feature to give your potential readers a sneak peak of what is inside. This tool does take time to get approval from Amazon and you should have your personal Amazon page set-up as a first step. It can take several weeks before you get approval for you to upload your file and then you’ll have to go through the submission process. It will be worth the wait.
These are just a few free marketing tools that Amazon has to offer. Use them wisely. Best of luck to you!
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Amazon is more than the world’s largest online bookstore, it is a hub for readers and shoppers to connect with each other, share reviews,tag products and provide lists of their favorite books to one another. Scroll down to the bottom of any Amazon product page and you’ll find the most interactive, free features that Amazon offers. It is their forum. The great news is that as an author, you have a forum discussion feature on your individual book product page and also on your personal Amazon author page. It is another free tool that allows for an incredible online discussion board to ask and answer questions with your readers and potential fans. Check out the forum post discussions at the bottom of John Grisham's product page for The Litigators.
Why would an author want to start a forum post on Amazon?
Why not! If you are interested in feedback on your book, or are looking for information on your subject matter, Amazon’s forum is a great way to gather this information. Amazon users are very open to giving their two cents on virtually any subject. Creating a new discussion is as easy as typing a sentence, even if you hunt and peck on the keyboard. Just click on "Start a new discussion" and it will open up the box so you can enter in your topic and include a link to any product for sale on Amazon. Don't forget to select the box to "Receive a new email when posts are made." so that you are notified when people respond to your post.
What should an author post about on their own forum?
Amazon has displayed its Forum Guidelines and they are clear about what they do not want to see, so be sure to check out their policy. It’s pretty standard stuff, no vulgar language and that type of thing. I recommend that authors use the forum on their Amazon author page whenever possible.
Here are my top 5 uses for posting on the Amazon forums:
Ask your readers for feedback on your book. Don’t ask, “did you like my book” I’m talking about getting creative. What did you think about the villain? Who was your favorite character? How did (list book title) help you? Be deliberate with your questions and ask meaningful questions that you really care about.
Position yourself as an expert. If you’re a chef and have written a cookbook, start discussions on the topic of cooking. What is your favorite substitute for butter when making desserts when you’re cutting calories?
Research content for your next book. If you’re working on your next title use the Amazon forum for real-time research. Ask the online users what they are looking for in your genre. What is your favorite historical fiction novel? What makes for a good romance novel? Which hobby makes for a better option for my hero…avid golfer or chess champion?
Reference current events. If there is a buzz in the media that you can tie to your book use that connection. If you have book on politics you could be having a field day between this being an election year and the politicians. Will you buy the book that covers the John Edwards trial once it comes out?
Have fun. Interesting posts are what gain attention. Did you see the episode of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" on the Food Network last night, what was Guy thinking?
What if you’re not comfortable creating your own forum posts?
Post on other discussions. If you’re not interested in starting your own string of discussions, post comments on other strings. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
What NOT to do in the Amazon forums.
Don’t blatantly ask people to buy your book. You can link to products that are for sale on Amazon, along with every post you make, so providing a link to your book is okay. Use the forums to gather and receive information. It really is for the exchange of ideas. If you can get a few mentions in there to promote awareness about your book, even better.
As Amazon puts it, “Ask questions. Share opinions. Gain insight.”
Have fun with your new Amazon marketing tool and use it wisely. What are you posting about on Amazon’s forums? Please share your thoughts below.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
If you’ve gone to Amazon to buy a book, you’re probably already aware that you can take a sneak peak, or “search inside the book” before you place an order. Have you noticed that sometimes there isn’t a preview available? If there isn’t a preview available, then Amazon has not be provided that information at the time the book was published. The Search Inside the Book preview must be submitted to Amazon by the publisher, or if the author is self-publishing this task falls into their lap before it will show up and be available for viewing.
How do you submit a file to Amazon for the Search Inside the Book feature?
Amazon provides very easy instructions on how to get your files to them, for both eBooks and printed books. Follow their step-by-step instructions provided on their site, here is the link:
Why would you want to use the Search Inside the Book feature?
This feature provides a potential reader a true look at what they will be getting before they order a copy of your book. Nothing is worse than having someone buy your book and then they post a negative review because the book was not what they expected. Personally, I don’t like to buy a book without taking a look at the table of contents.
Can you activate your Search Inside the Book Feature after your publication date?
Yes! If you’re just learning about this fabulous marketing tool and your book was published a while back, don’t worry. You can activate your Search Inside the Book Feature at any time.
How long will it take before the Inside the Book Feature will be active on Amazon?
Amazon is very good with their turnaround time, so you should see your book file preview up on your Amazon book page within a few weeks of delivering to Amazon your book file.
This is such a powerful marketing tool for every author, make the most of it! Check out our free eBook, "Authors Guide to Using Amazon" click below to download.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Over the weekend I was looking for a book on Amazon and I could not find what I was looking for. I was searching for a newly released title, so I expected that the Amazon Search may not pull it right up at the top of my inquiry however, I was more concerned for the long-term search results for this book as the author had not associated any keyword “tags” for his title. I don’t want to name names, but I will tell you this. The title I was looking for is one of the only books on the subject matter that covers an historic event that no one else has written about. Huge marketing opportunity for this book and the author did not include the name of the historic event in his marketing copy or in his Amazon keyword tags. It got me fired up.
Amazon Keyword Tagging.
Every book that is sold on Amazon can be “tagged” with specific key words that will improve the search-ability of that product. This does tie into setting up a Listmainia! list on Amazon. Both tools are keyword driven. Listmania! focuses on grouping books together by title…a list of favorites and yes, it is tied to key words. What I want to focus on today is getting your books properly tagged so that potential readers can find your title during their search for content.
Identify your keywords. What is your top 10 list of keywords that you want people to associate with your book. When they go to Google or Amazon and type in specific words, will they find your work. Keep it simple. You want to always have in your keywords list, the author name and book title. You can knock two of the keywords off your list of top 10. Now think logically about what you would search for, to find your book. Think somewhere between general and specifics. I know I use cookbooks as an example time and again, but since everyone has different tastes in food, makes sense. Think about what type of cookbook you would search for, if you had to buy one book to make your perfect meal. That is how you should be thinking about coming up with your keywords.
Use your keywords in all of your marketing. Not only will you add your keyword tags to your book on Amazon. You will do this on your website, in your Goodreads account, in your online and offline media kit. Your book synopsis and your press release should all include your target keywords. You don’t need to use your entire list all of the time, just make sure you’re using them consistently in all marketing and promotion that you’re doing.
Check out your competitors keywords. Do the research to find out what words your competing authors are using and jump on the bandwagon. You may want to use a word that they use and also use a similar word, to carve out your own niche. If a competing title in your genre is using the words “rock climbing” you may want to use those words but also add in “hiking” and “mountaineering” as your additional keywords.
To learn more about how to quickly add your keyword tags to your book listed on Amazon, they provide a very nice overview of the how tags work and how to add them here.
Have you updated your Amazon keyword tags? Tell us about it below…
Image courtesty of scriptech.net.
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Knowing the ins and outs of Amazon is a must for any author, whether they are self-publishing or have a traditional publishing house behind them. Either which way, it boils down to the author still being responsible for their own book marketing and Amazon has one free marketing tool, that I really like…Listmania!
What is Listmania!?
Listmania! comes complete with an exclamation point, so you know it must be exciting. In a nutshell, Amazon allows all account holders to create a “list” of their favorite things…like books and it is called, Listmania! So if you’ve written a book, you can create a Listmania! list, and include your own book, along with your competition. Simple as that.
Why would you want to include your book with your competition?
Listmania! provides the perfect opportunity to cross-promote your own work with best-selling titles that are in your own genre. You want to create a book list that will attract your potential audience. You can create more than one list, if you want to cross promote your work to different audiences. If you have a cookbook that is about 30 minute Vegan meals, you may want to create a list for Best Vegan Cookbooks and another for Quick and Delicious Vegan Cookbooks. Get creative. I encourage all authors to utilize this tool to better market and promote their books. Also, ask a friend to create a list and include your book in their Listmania! lists as well.
Many people use Listmania! lists as a way to get recommendations from other readers to find books they may want to read and buy!
How to Create a Listmania! list (information provided courtesy of Amazon.com.)
To create a Listmania list:
Visit your Profile Page and log into your account if requested.
Click the "Edit Your Profile" button on the top right-hand corner of the page.
Click the "Lists" tab in the Contributions section of Your Profile.
Click the "Create your first one now" link or "Manage your Listmania Lists" link if you already have existing lists.
Provide the requested information for your list and click the Preview button to review your list and Publish list when you are finished.
Here's the information you'll be asked to enter:
Name Your List: Enter a friendly title for your list.
Your qualifications: Your qualifications should be a description of why you're an expert in the subject of your list.
Introduction: You can add an optional introductory paragraph to describe the list.
Add tags: This allows you to add keywords that help others discover your list.
Add a product: This is the core of your list! You can add anything from the product listings on Amazon.com.
Click here for more information on Listmania! at Amazon.com.
Please post a link to your Listmania! list below.