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Author Guide

Amazon Publishing and the Art of Marketing Your Books Online | THE WRITERS CLINIC

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Publishing your books online especially on Amazon is one of the simplest and quickest ways to get your life changing ideas, insights and experiences into the public domain for the benefit of your target audience as well as for your possible financial gain and self-actualisation.

As such, it is important to understand that, publishing is just one stage of the process that writers go through, since, once the book is published; people must get to know about it through marketing and after that, a mechanism for transactions must be put in place in order to guarantee smooth selling.

This therefore brings us to the subject of Marketing Your Books Online. We are talking about marketing because writing or being an author is actually a business that must be considered seriously apart from being your passionate hobby only.

As a writer, you are a business person like any other, and that is if you do it right, just like Paulo Coelho and John Maxwell. If you are still starting in the world of writing, you are actually an SME like any other in any field; the only difference is that you are in the literature industry.

As such, while you embark on your writing career, you may be interested in getting some SME tips from reading The SME Handbook: https://amzn.to/2SOWYAa

Marketing, in many of its forms is simply done through Communication, of which I describe communication as the intentional and purposeful exchange of mutually beneficial data using common or easily agreeable symbols.

In a book that I wrote about Marketing called The Sales and Marketing Pocket Book: https://amzn.to/2vADnf3, I described Marketing, Advertising and Selling as follows:

Marketing – engaging in activities that make your products and services appealing to your targeted clients.

Selling – offering or presenting products and services to clients so that they can buy at their convenience.

Advertising – An appealing generic public display or customized private presentation of data about a product or service to a targeted audience in a way that arouses interest in order to create, maintain and promote a mutually beneficial transactional engagement.

Some of the most effective approaches that we as writers can adopt in marketing our books besides word of mouth is to utilise the internet by making use of mechanisms that include: blogging, social media and even being a guest content/news contributor to a media house such as: zwnews24.com.

With the word of mouth approach, through the live interactions that you do with people, you simply need to tell them that you are a writer and that you have books that they can buy from specific platforms and then encourage them to spread the word in their respective circles as well.

More so, whether you choose blogging, social media, content contribution to news platforms or even to WhatsApp groups such as the Writers Clinic, there is always a chance and an opportunity for you to market your books.

Quite often, starting a blog is simple, whether it’s your writers/author blog where you specifically talk about your books or it’s a blog on any other subject, at the end, you must have the privilege to mention that you are a writer and to possibly list or display your book links as a way or marketing your work.

Those who are familiar with LinkedIn may agree with me that it offers so much benefits in the corporate world including a blogging facility as you can see on this link: https://bit.ly/2OZIJHC

Way before I published my books, I was already dropping some teasers about my books on LinkedIn. I can as well continue to talk about the same books on this very same LinkedIn platform especially now that the books are published.

On social media, you can make use of platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram to share links, images, and interviews as well as write ups concerning your literary work in order to generate leads towards sales.

You can share vivid images of your book covers as profile photos on Social Media and more so you can also post teasers of the contents of your book like what Simbarashe Nyamadzawo does with his books on Facebook

More so, you can as well start to discuss some chapters, subjects or characters in your books to generate interest among your social media followers and any possible audience for that matter.

The idea is to gain people’s attention on your literary work and then to arouse their interest towards your books in a way that can possibly create sales and generate revenue. 

As a content/news contributor on zwnews24.com or any other platform, you may be given a column where you can write on a subject that you are knowledgeable about. In the article that you write or on your author profile can be included information about your books just like we see in various advertorials in the newspapers.

If you really and consciously look at this presentation, you can realise that in its depth and width, it is actually an example of a business flyer that I have sent out about the books that I have written, the zwnews24.com platform that we are running as well as my social and professional personality for possible mutually beneficial engagement.

When we breakdown this presentation, you can notice that I have provided some links to the following books: The Sales and Marketing Pocket Book and The SME Handbook.

If you click on any of the links that I have provided, you will be taken straight to Amazon, the book shop and more so, if you click on https://live.zwnews24.com/news/, you automatically get to see our news site and the work that we are doing to promote SMEs and authors like you and me with publicity through the interviews that you can also participate in.

Authors and SMEs stand a chance to be featured on zwnews24.com if they respond to the interview template that can be provided to anyone interested and your published interview will appear as follows: https://bit.ly/38CjZNw

As an author, you can share the published interview with people in your circles through social media and other means or you can even put it on your website or blog if you have one. 

This published interview approach helps you with online publicity and even with marketing as your audience get to see what you do and they also have a chance to understand you better.

If you so wish, you can even convert the interview article into the pdf or jpeg formats for easy and convenient sharing on social media especially when the prices of data bundles can be an issue of concern.

Conclusion: Do not forget to market your published work and if you can’t do it on your own, find somebody who can help you, because being a writer is a business and as such, it must be done with a business mind-set.

Brian Kazungu is a Christian, Media Practitioner, Author, Poet, Technology Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and an Opinion Leader.

For more of his writings and motivation, follow him on:

https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu
https://muckrack.com/brian-kazungu

@BKazungu -Twitter

Writers Clinic is a writer training and author empowerment arm of leading book publishers, Royalty Books founded by Phillip Chidavaenzi.

Phillip Kundeni Chidavaenzi

Author | Editor | Literary Consultant

Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Royalty Books (Pvt.) Ltd

Founder & Administrator Writers Clinic

Email: royaltybookspl@gmail.com

Phone: +263 77 552 1665

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Author Guide

Sales Or No Sales, Every Writer Should Be On Amazon

Brian Kazungu

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Amazon is one of the world’s biggest and most diverse online supermarkets where the widest range of products including different genres of books by seasoned and first time writers are sold across all the continents on our beautiful Planet Earth.

As an online commerce platform, Amazon gives writers a global internet presence which enables them to transact with clients worldwide beyond the physical geographical boundaries since e-commerce has made the world become an easily accessible global village.

The internet has to a certain extent also considerably and positively taken over many aspects of human life, and thus many activities including the production and sale of books which were predominantly done in brick and mortar structures can now be done online.

It is therefore imperative for writers to quickly adopt technology through platforms like Amazon in the production, distribution and sale of their books since there are many benefits to be realised.

I must however be quick to highlight that when it comes to the impact of Amazon on your book sales, you must bear in mind that it is you who actually sell your books through Amazon, and thus, you must strive to personally direct your clients to this platform if they have no access to physical bookshops.

As an enterprising author, you must understand that you cannot just upload your books on Amazon and then fold your hands and wait for miracle sales.

You must always bear in mind that you are your own marketing officer, sales representative and public relations personality who must take advantage of the tools and resources available on Amazon in order for you to sell your books to people that are even Oceans away.

If you have been to a supermarket in your community, for example, Woolworths, PicknPay etc, you will discover that there are merchandisers and sales representatives from supply companies such as Coca Cola who will be there to ensure that their products in that supermarket are sold.

Technically, Amazon operates in the same way in the sense that it only gives you an online commercial platform for people to discover your business footprint in this digital era but it is still your duty to let people know that they can access your books there.

One of the first steps for you to get published on Amazon is to register on a platform called Kindle Direct Publishing.

Publishing your books on Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing facility (KDP) is an important development especially considering the costs and other technicalities associated with setting up and managing your own author website from scratch.

For example, creating your own website as author and incorporating an e-commerce functionality plus the regular maintenance that is needed may prove to be technically challenging and also expensive to many writers and thus the need to create your own account on Amazon.

If you are not able to do it on your own, you may ask someone to do it for you and honestly speaking, the Amazon route is always comparatively the cheaper option.

There is a great advantage of associating with a big name like Amazon especially when it comes to the visibility that you can get through them since they can afford to pay for search engine optimisation and other technical touch-ups that makes their shop more appealing and your book more accessible.

According to Wikipedia, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines

Among the other benefits of being on Amazon is that it gives you an opportunity to create what is called an Author Page which I regard as your mini personal website within the Amazon website itself.

For example: https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu

For example, if you go on Google right now and type Brian Kazungu, you will discover that among the first search results where you find the name is on Amazon and this on its own is a good marketing and public relations facility that writers can take advantage of.

This on its own gives you considerable global and online visibility plus an equal footing with even the greatest of writers that you can even think of as long as their books are also published on the same platform.

Being on Amazon is not only and always about book sales since there are many other opportunities that are associated with having your author profile on such a big platform.

For example, depending on your genre, you can be approached to be a speaker on the subject you write about or some individuals and companies can even consult you on the same matter if they see that on your profile, you seem to have what it takes to solve their problems.

I have written a handbook titled, The Universal Customer Service Manual and I have seen that there are businesses that invite me to talk to or train their staff members on this issue and quite often, this may be a little more rewarding than selling this 12 page handbook.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform allows you to publish your book at your own pace and gives you an option to edit an already published book if you believe that there is something you must add or if you discover that that there is an error which you made in your manuscript.

It also allows you to use its book cover templates if you do not have enough funds to pay a graphics designer to do you a book cover at that time and yet you are convinced that your content must be out there for people to read.

So basically speaking, in summary, Amazon gives you an online shop to sell your books but you must be prepared to drive your own traffic there rather than to just wait for people who are randomly browsing on the shelves of this online book store.

More-so, besides the possibility and probability of sales, Amazon gives you a priceless online presence that you can utilise as a marketing and public relations tool to promote your books and your brand as an author.

And finally it gives you a cheaper option to quickly get published especially when you consider the bureaucracy and expenses associated with engaging traditional publishers.

You also have an added advantage of being able to make the necessary changes on the manuscript in-line with the feedback that you get from your readers.

As such, in this world of technology where much of the information about people and organisations is on the internet, it is in the best interests of every writer to put their books on Amazon in order to reach a wide market.

Do not forget to create your Amazon Author Page for marketing and public relations purposes since this will act as your Billboard on the Internet Highways.

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Author Guide

Amazon for Authors, The Advantages

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  1. Timeless Flyer – In one way or the other, you may have been handed a flyer by someone advertising a certain business or you were actually the one who gave out some flyers as a way of advertising your business or services. The person you gave the flyer could have just grabbed it to read it later or sometimes he would just throw it away after a short distance. This happens quite often with printed flyers that end up littering our community. However, publishing on Amazon is like a multi-purpose timeless flyer that passers-by on the internet who search for something with almost a similar word to your book are likely to see and read. More so, it’s a multi-purpose flyer because people can actually get to have an actual feel of the contents of your book because there are some sample chapters that they can read for free if they choose to. If you are a good writer, the reader may end up buying the book just like that or reading the whole book online if the book qualifies for such a facility. That way, you also still earn something in return. Except for you, nobody will throw your online presence into the bin like what happens with printed flyers. I have a book titled The SME Handbook and so, if people go online or on Amazon and search for SME related books, mine is also likely to appear and if you click on it, you are likely to see many other books that I have also written. It therefore means your online presence is also an automatic broadcasting and marketing tool on its own which you can leverage on through other means necessary.
  1. Search Engine Optimisation – You can take advantage of being associated with a big company that pays for search engine optimization on your behalf. It pushes you on top because you are associated or affiliated with or with it. When you search for something on Google, you may find that among the responses or results that you get there are websites or links that are written Sponsored. These usually come at the top of everything. For example, let us say you want to download the WhatsApp application, you may see that some websites that specialize in hosting software may even come first on the search results than the WhatsApp website itself. Quite often it is because they pay a certain amount to Google for that to happen or for them to be on the front seat. This is the same with companies like Amazon, they can afford such luxuries and as such, when you are associated with them, it means if someone searches for book titles that are similar to the one that you offer through Amazon, you are likely to be among the first to appear in your book title is good enough and suits the search words. 

I remember pastor Phil once talked about book titles (https://cutt.ly/ErJTMhr) in the Writers Clinic, and so, that’s when those ideas and tips on good book titles get working. 

For example, if you go on Google and search for books on politics or business executives, my books like Primitive Politics and The Poverty Machinery (https://cutt.ly/8rJTDLb) or The Practical Executive (https://cutt.ly/ZrJTH3u) will also be there as compared to being only in a brick and mortar book store where readers must travel from one place to another in search of your book. When you do it through Amazon, you get favoured for walking with the bosses, not in a corrupt way though.

  1. 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) Compliance – Getting on Amazon as a writer is the easiest and simplest way to become 4IR compliant in a world which is rapidly digitalising its services. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is real and it’s already here. Failure to ride on and or to comply with it will be a big mistake that must be avoided. Many professions are being swallowed by a fusion of automation and mechanisation. For example, through 3D printing, we now have machines that can print things like real guns, real inhabitable houses etc. There are now robots which can conduct job interviews in companies and some can now even become news anchors, replacing your favourite TV Presenter or News Host. A certain music company in the US -iHeartMedia -recently laid off hundreds of DJs because the company now have machines that can do what these disc jockeys where doing, which is arranging music and playing your favourite music in real time. However, despite such advancement in technology, it’s currently not easy to replace an author, a poet etc. even though you can design a software that can read his book or recite his poem. The emotions associated with writing a book and the spirituality thereof is not easily replaceable by machines yet. Literature or the Arts in general, for the meantime, is the safest hideout in the career world of the future compared to Accounting, Engineering, and Banking etc. which are all seriously succumbing to technological advancement at the expense of the traditional human resources element.
  1. Social Proof – Generally speaking, when you tell people that you are a writer, the common thinking and assumption among them is that you are a published writer (author). Traditionally, you may need to tell them of some of the book shops where your books can be found. If these people can find your book in a book shop, they can easily believe that you are indeed an author regardless of the contents or material in your book. But the problem with getting a book in a brick and mortar book store is that the process can be expensive especially for most first timers who do not have a strong financial backing. That is where Amazon comes in. When your manuscript is ready, you may just need to log onto a computer, upload the book and get published the same day. When someone asks you, if you are really a writer, you may just politely tell them to google your books on the internet, and see it for themselves. Amazon can be the easiest and simplest but professional way to prove that you are a writer and to market other services that you can possibly offer. Can you imagine that the less than one hour that you spend uploading your book on Amazon can open so many other doors for you as is highlighted under Sales and Marketing as well as under Financial Investment and Savings in this article.
  1. Sales and Marketing – Amazon can be a platform for selling and marketing your literary work and other services that you can offer. Yes, as a writer you can have an author page like this one –https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu– where people get to know about your books and other areas of your life. For example on my author page, you can also see that I am a media person (journalist) and as such, other people and businesses interested in media services can make an enquiry or offers based on merely visiting my author page on Amazon. I can use the page to my advantage as long as I am not violating the Amazon rules of engagement.

  1. Financial Investment and Savings – publishing, funding and advertising opportunities (affiliate marketing). Most writers have remained unpublished for a long time because they are still looking for the required funding or money to pay the publisher so that their book or books can be published. I don’t have a problem with that approach, but I would also want to encourage you to self-publish through Amazon for the meantime while you wait to get those funds to publish with your preferred publisher like Royalty Books. Who knows? Maybe you will be able to raise such an amount through Amazon if your book is good enough and your marketing approaches are just right. The Amazon route is comparatively cheaper and yet it still gets your name out there among others. Because of the contents of your book, you can be hired or engaged privately to offer your expertise to a certain person, group or even business, besides the potential of book sales. 
  1. Exclusive Ownership and Freedom (Register and Deregister) – quite often the traditional publishing route entails that the publisher owns much of the rights of your creative work compared to self-publishing. When you publish your book through platforms like Amazon, your book will remain your book and all what Amazon does is to take a commission than vice versa. After you have registered or published your book and for any reason you no longer want it on the market, you can just deregister it or unpublish it, just like that, because it’s your book and you own it. However if there are some books shops which had already ordered and or stocked your books, you cannot do anything about that though.
  1. Multiple Facilities – publishing, library, book store, marketing agency, advertising platform. There is a certain element of convenience associated with the multiplicity of services on the Amazon platform. If you are not that tech savvy, you can hire someone for a fee like me who is at least knowledgeable about that landscape and obviously, the expense will be far less compared to other avenues. However, if you can do it on your own, you can take your time and do it the proper way just by paying for the internet. More so, if you have a personal blog or website, you can further market your books there and also stand a chance to market other Amazon products and services as an Associate for a fee. It is like Amazon funds you to open your personal publishing and printing company plus book store which they also help you to manage. If you publish paperbacks and hardcopies through Amazon, it means you don’t have to worry about printing costs and logistics since it’s all covered right there. I also use the Amazon platform as an e-cloud storage facility. I write my stuff, convert it into a book and store it right there. I can make changes along the way etc. and also give people a feel of what I write about while still even thinking of further converting the manuscript into a movie or anything else for that matter. It’s safer than keeping the manuscript as a hard copy in the house or a soft copy in your computer.

Please note that the above mentioned advantages of being on Amazon does not automatically make you a bestselling author or make you an overnight success, but only provides you with some fringe benefits and other opportunities that you can leverage on as your pursue your career or hobby as an author.

Brian Kazungu is a Christian, Media Practitioner, Author, Poet, Technology Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and an Opinion Leader.

For more of his writings and motivation, follow him on:

https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu
https://muckrack.com/brian-kazungu

@BKazungu -Twitter

Writers Clinic is a writer training and author empowerment arm of leading book publishers, Royalty Books founded by Phillip Chidavaenzi.

Phillip Kundeni Chidavaenzi

Author | Editor | Literary Consultant

Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Royalty Books (Pvt.) Ltd

Founder & Administrator Writers Clinic

Email: royaltybookspl@gmail.com

Phone: +263 77 552 1665

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