Optimizing Your Tools For Self Publishing On Amazon

Self publishing opportunities made available by Amazon continue to flourish. A key part of these developments are the model and the tools Amazon provides us. Yet, beware, not all self publishing efforts equally benefit from these opportunities. Some tips on how to make the most of your efforts at self publishing on Amazon follow.

The numbers are quite remarkable. Analyzing U.S. ISBN data demonstrates that self-published increased in 2012 to a striking 391,000+ titles. Represented as a percentage, that is up 59 percent over 2011 and it’s up 422 percent from 2007.

And this growth is being driven by the e-book phenomenon. By 2012 they comprised 40 percent of the self published ISBNs. That is up from just 11 percent in 2007 – nearly a 400 percent increase in five years.

To you, my dear self publishing author, these astounding statistics should illustrate two inexorable facts. The first is that self publishing opportunities have never been more promising. And, the second: neither has the competition ever been stiffer.

As the field thickens it becomes ever more imperative for you to distinguish yourself. If you’re self publishing on Amazon, you have some tools that need to be optimized. It would be self defeating to do otherwise. Here are three things to consider. They won’t guarantee success of your book, but they will prevent putting yourself at a disadvantage from the get-go.

First, the author’s page provides an opportunity to put up a picture. A strangely large number of aspiring authors seize this as occasion to put up their cover art. No, no, no. Not unless your cover just happens to be a photograph of you. Believe it or not, it’s that which prospective readers want to see.

Authors assume no one wants to see how they look. It’s all about the work, right? However, the research reveals that assumption is exactly wrong. A feeling of personalized connection to the author can be a key consideration among prospective readers. It can make the difference in whether they lay down the dollars to buy your book. Your pride in your cover art is lovely, but it is some sense of a connection to you that will likely be the deal breaker or maker.

The classic, shoulders-up, head shot is the safest way to go in choosing a picture style. Obviously, as in most walks of life, you’ve got a leg up if you’re an especially good looker. As a consequence, don’t hesitate to post your most flattering photo. I assure you, though, what you look like matters less than that you have a personal photo. Not having one denies that personal touch that often makes the difference. And please do smile into the camera! However many times you have to redo it. (And, good gracious, don’t wear sunglasses!)

Second, the author’s page provides you the opportunity to say a little about yourself. It appears that most authors take this opportunity much too casually. Again, it seems to be believed that the book speaks for itself.

The greatness of your book doesn’t change the fact that it can’t speak for itself if no one reads it. Your mission, gentle author, should you choose to accept it, is to give that prospective reader a reason to want to read your book. Just maybe, a conviction that the author is interesting enough to say something worth reading perhaps will help provide such a reason.

You’re a writer, right? So write. Make yourself sound interesting. And an emphasis upon those aspects of your personality and biography that would make you a good candidate to produce a revealing and compelling book on the topic of your actual book is a good idea.

For example, did you wrote a travel book? Well, then, what is your travel resume? If you’ve got a mystery novel set in 1920s Paris how is it that you come to know about the time period? If it’s a do-it-yourself guide, what is there in your experience that would instill confidence in the prospective reader that you know how to do it? I’m sure you’ll following the idea.

Last, but, I assure you, very far from least, consider your book’s description. Some self publishing authors initially balk at this when I say it, but it’s the truth: writing your book’s description is more challenging than the writing of your book – at least sentence by sentence. Think about it. After they’ve already invested their hard earned cash into buying your book, most readers will give you at least 20 pages or so to convince them to continue. In your book description, where they have nothing invested, you have about 20-30 seconds to win them over. The occasional instance of flawed prose may slip by in the book; it won’t here. It’ll cost you readers and money.

The book can’t speak for itself unless prospective readers buy it. Until then, you’ve got to do the speaking for both of you. The short and sweet version of getting your book description right is simply put: in a few brief sentences, you have a) tell them, b) entice them and c) show them.

Space limits don’t allow me to go into this at greater length, here. If you really want to understand what’s involved, see my article specifically dedicated to the details and nuance of doing your book description well.

Being sure to get three tools right won’t guarantee success with your book, but getting them wrong pretty much guarantee you’ll be behind the curve from the starting line. The revolution in self publishing on Amazon has created both tremendous opportunity and challenge. To hope to benefit from the opportunity, you need to rise to the challenge.

If you’re an aspiring self publisher, you need to keep up on the killer tips and trends at Self Publishing on Amazon . Lance Fallbrook regularly scribbles about writing and writers at a number of writing related websites. Check out his provocative list of top 20 most famous American authors .

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