Tag Archives: amazon

Conquering the Beast: Part 1

amazon--621x414

Amazon is the most wonderful place on Earth – or is it?  We all know that if you want to get book exposure then you need to have your book on Amazon.  The only problem is they take a hefty 55% when they sell your book.  They have the leverage to take a high dollar because of who they are and what they can offer a seller.  So I have decided if they are going to take 55% then I am going to make them work for it.  There are some basics to setting up an account but you can go further and figure out all the little tricks to get exposed faster and by more people.   This blog will review setting up the accounts.   The next blog, part 2, will go further into what you can do within the accounts.  Be sure and click the follow button on the top right so you are alerted to when the next blog is posted.

First you have to open an Amazon Advantage account.   Once you review the page on ‘What is Advantage’ and like what you see – sign up for the account.  This is your login screen once you have created an account (click on screen images for larger view) :

image 1

I was surprised at how ‘business like’ the site is but then I thought – this is for all sorts of sellers and some people have multiple products, items, pricing, etc so it is built to host a wide range.  There are a lot of tools for inventory control and analytics.  I would recommend just reviewing the site and click through some tabs.  I always feel a bit overwhelmed when starting a new program because there are a lot of features.

When you first sign up, you will need to add your book information and photos.  Just go under the Items tab and ‘Add an Item’.  You will then have to go through the steps and fill out the book info.  Then upload your images.  When uploading your book images, be sure and review how to properly name the images and the image size.  I actually went through this a couple of times because I didn’t pay attention to the labeling system they want used.  Once you submit then they go through a review right there and you quickly see if it was rejected or accepted.

Now that you have an item for sale, Amazon will send you a PO (Purchase Order).  This is usually for just 1 book to make the product ‘in stock’.    You will see a tab for ‘Orders’ so click there and select ‘Purchase Orders’.  Here is a screenshot:

image 2

You have to click on the little box to open the PO and then confirm it.  The PO will give you the basics of how many books to send and the address to send them to.  You then print the shipping label and packing slip (for inside the box).  Here is a screen shot of the PO I received:

image 3

So my thought is – I pay to print the book, they take 55% and now I have to pay at least $2.53/book (media mail – up to 9 business days) for Amazon to receive it.  Well, that’s not cool because I am now in the hole and will lose money on this book.  So I found a ‘stock up feature’ in their help section.  The help section is surprisingly helpful, btw.   You can go to Help/Orders/Stock Up Request and send them an email.  Just let them know it is for a promotion or launch of the book.  They need a reason to allow you to send more books.  Personally, I requested to send 10 books and they accepted within 2-3 business days.  They sent me a new PO for 10 books.

You have now officially put your book for sale on Amazon.  That wasn’t so bad now was it?

…Wait, we are not quite done…

AUTHOR CENTRAL

Amazon realizes that many authors are selling their books and they have created a separate site for Authors to share their info, reach more readers and get author help.   This is not part of the Amazon Advantage account you were just setting up.  This is different.  You can join here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/.   Once you join, your home screen will look like this:

image 4

First, go in and update your author central profile.   If I had a dollar for every profile I have setup while promoting my book, I would be rich from that and not book sales…anyway….This is like any other profile where you can add info about yourself such as:

  1. Bibliography, Photos and Video
  2. Blog, Twitter, Facebook feeds
  3. Any upcoming events

Then go and add your book.  Just click on ‘Book’ tab and add more books.  You want to make sure that all the books that you have with Amazon are added to this page.  Your Author Central profile is then linked to your Amazon book sales page like this:

image 5

You can sign up for the ‘Look Inside the Book’ feature through Author Central.  There are certain obvious rules like owning the work and having a valid ISBN#.   There are directions to signup under the Help tab.  I thought this part was strange but you have to send an email to insidethebook-submission@amazon.com.  First they have to accept your request which can take 2-3 business days.  Then they will send you an email with upload instructions and ANOTHER site to log into.  There are instructions on how to send your file so review carefully.  Once I uploaded, I received a Submission ID# but that was it.  It said successful so I just waited and waited….until finally 9 business days later it appeared online.  I was surprised to see things take so long because it is Amazon – I assumed it would be automatic.  I guess they have to review all materials first before making them live.  And it is a bit comforting to know there are actual people behind the site and all the emails.

So now you have an Amazon account setup and an Author Central account.  All we have to do is sell books!

Next up is Conquering the Beast: Part 2.  Be sure and click the follow button at the top right and you will be alerted with each new post.  As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Distribution, Self Publishing Author

Word on the Street with Cory Harris

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors. All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise. Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews. Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Cory Harris:

image006

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Cory: To help parents protect their children, its always been a goal of mine.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Cory: Zipper LE Series One: Outlook on Leadership and Liability in the Criminal Justice System and The Child/Adult Safety Bible.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Cory: The internet is how I market and has yielded the best results so far.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Cory: Amazon is usually pretty useful in searching for books I have found.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Cory: Marketing is very difficult and expensive.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Cory: Take your time and give the reader your best output.

AUTHOR INFO
Cory B. Harris was born in Camden, Arkansas, and has over eighteen years of combined military and law-enforcement experience. He has served with the United States Air Force, Little Rock Police Department, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Marshals Service. He has training and experience in field training, crime prevention, criminal and fugitive investigation and apprehension, operations, firearms instruction, threat investigations, and judicial and dignitary protection, just to name a few areas. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Merit (LRPD) and has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Doctorate Degree (DBA) in Business with an emphasis in Healthcare Management.

standing cover photoback cover photo

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Self Publishing Author

Word on the Street with John Moore

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

John Moore and I will be speaking at the O’Fallon Writers Guild Writers Workshop on Saturday September 7, 2013 starting at 8:00 A.M.  The event will be held at Lindenwood University Belleville Campus.  For more information on the event, click here.

….Come on down, John Moore

John Moore pic

Real Answers Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

John:  This is a bit of a long story; nevertheless it answers the question.  Several years ago, after my daughter divorced, I became a de facto father to my grandson who was twelve at the time.  Over the course of the next few years, I did my best to help him straighten his life out and emphasize his education.   Starting Junior High he didn’t like English.  Even though he was good in math and science, writing and reading the English language seemed like a waste of time to him.  So, I looked for ways to subtly change his attitude.  One night when we were camping along one of the Missouri “float” rivers, he asked what kind of CDs I liked when I was his age.  (We’re fifty years apart in age.)  He was surprised when I told him we didn’t have such things then, along with a lot of other things that are around now.  That discussion led to our contrasting a great many areas, then and now.  Then, I asked him what he thought would be different for his grandson fifty years away.  His imagination of the future was phenomenal.  Together we’d pick a subject—TV, world affairs, petroleum, war, lifestyles, etc.—and imagine what life would be when he had a grandson in fifty more years.  We began a list.  The list grew and we agreed to put it in a time capsule and open it in fifty years to see how right or wrong we were.  However, that wasn’t satisfying, nor did it do anything for his enthusiasm about English.  So, I suggested we work the material we’d listed into a short story.  It would be a story with his yet to be born grandson as the hero.  I wrote some and he wrote some and what started out to be a short story got longer.  In fact, it became a novel, which we self-published.  My family nick name is Poppies, so he thought that would be a good name to be called when he become a grandfather too.  So the title of the story became, “A Journey with Poppies.”  It is a story of him and his grandson fifty years into the future.  When he went into Eighth Grade, he felt a lot different about English.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

John:  A Journey with Poppies, The Head of Khalid Salaam, Frigby’s War.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

John:  I have tried book signings, e-mails to friends and family, meeting with book clubs, advertising on Web Sites related to the book, word of mouth, and prayer, hope, and hand-wringing.  Some work.  Some don’t.  Unless lightning strikes, most self-published authors struggle to earn back what they paid to publish.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

John:  Not really.  However, I believe there is a business out there for someone with the savvy and audacity to take self-published books and market them.  Too many self-published authors are reluctant to spend the time and/or endure the pain of rejection to market their stuff.  If it is truly blither, it won’t sell no matter how skillful it’s marketed.  However, a third party not emotionally involved with the title and with the experience and moxie to push it on to the reading public (targeting the right sector) could be successful.

RARA:  What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

John:  You can guess from the above.  It is marketing my work.  I enjoy the writing; even the proofing.  However, when it comes to my own creation, I’m a reluctant salesman.  I believe I’m not alone in that respect.

 RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

John:  Expect to work as hard at promoting both you and your book as you did writing it.  It’s a jungle out there and survival of the fittest is the rule.  Being fit in the writing business means (1) cranking out a well-written product about a subject people are interested in and (2) becoming the epitome of the door-to-door sales person who won’t take no for an answer.

AUTHOR BIO

Twenty-eight years spent in the military during the prime of life cannot help but influence one’s ideas and opinions on everything from national defense to how people are treated.  I didn’t start out to be a career military officer.  It just sort of happened.  Coming from a lower middleclass background, the opportunity to attend a service academy solved the problem of how to pay for a college education.  A subsequent graduate degree in engineering added to my commitment to the Air Force, so by then I was hooked.

Through it all, however, the pressure to be a good soldier was always pitted against a renegade attitude which was sometimes suppressed, but more often not.  Growing up in the Midwest, I blended the solid WASP values I learned from my family and friends with the melting pot of attitudes and conduct I found in the military.  Following my military career, I saw the other side of the coin by spending fourteen years in a private sector engineering firm.  The result is that I am somewhat of a hybrid—neither a straight-laced, conservative, retired military officer nor am I a laid back, liberal Midwesterner.  I have read On War by Clausewitz but I prefer Canterbury Tales by Chaucer. Writing came along in my life well after my two engineering careers had faded into the sunset.

I write because I enjoy the challenge of telling the story and revel in making it all come together.  So, while I have paced the agitated halls of the Pentagon, I prefer a solitary stroll on the beach.  I have seen the fervor and excitement of battle but it pales in contrast with the glimpse of a newborn baby.  I write because there are stories that need to be told. Those who knew me once might say I have mellowed some.  They would be right.

John Moore                                  

918 Indian Springs Road

O’Fallon, IL 62269

killermoore@aol.com

618-632-6575

 

BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AND REVIEW

A Journey with Poppies – Available as an e-book at Authorhouse.com

The Head of Khalid Salaam – Available in paperback or e-book at Authorhouse.com

Frigby’s War – Available at Createspace.com/3563818, Amazon.com, and Kindle.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Self Publishing Author