Published Podcast Ep. 25 | How Authors Can Optimize Their Amazon Strategy with Olivia McCoy
In today's episode we talk with Greenleaf Marketing Associate Olivia McCoy about how authors can set their books up for success on Amazon.
1:30 – Olivia, tell us a little bit about what you do here at Greenleaf.
- I’m a Marketing Associate, so I work directly with authors to develop their marketing strategy and campaigns, promote their titles through the supply chain and consumer advertising, boost discoverability and reviews, and get books into readers’ hands.
2:00 – What are the things an author needs to think about when posting their book on Amazon?
- There are three big steps to promoting your book online: discoverability, awareness, and action.
- Discoverability – people need to be able to find your book.
- Awareness, they need to build conversation around it.
- Action, once they know about the book, readers take action and actually buy it.
3:00 – What can an author do to make their book more discoverable?
- Aside from building an Author Central page, two lesser-known avenues for discoverability are optimizing categories and keywords.
3:15 – What’s author central?
- It’s a landing page on Amazon acting as real estate for the author to display who they are. It includes the author photo, bio, other books, and latest news in blog posts and videos.
- Not only does Author Central give readers more information about an author, it provides authors with book sales data from Amazon. Authors can set up their own author central account at www.amazon.com/authorcentral.
5:30 – You also mentioned categories and keywords. Can you delve into that a bit for us?
- Amazon categories are similar to bookstore genres, almost like a shelving system in a brick and mortar store, but exclusive to Amazon.
- You can see book categories under product description. Categories improve discoverability because they organize all the books on Amazon to make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for.
- When you’re selecting your categories, make sure they’re relevant and targeted so that they have an affect on your ranking.
- Keywords are just as important, though they go in the metadata of the book and aren’t visible on the page. They help Amazon filter through books and pull up relevant titles when keywords are searched by readers. It’s important to add keywords, even though they’re not visible, because they help your book show up in searches as a way to reinforce key themes you’re trying to present to readers. Note: just because a keyword is in your metadata doesn’t mean you’ll be the first to show up on the page for that word.
- You an also use those keywords in your descriptive copy, website copy, and blog posts to make sure that your content aligns and updates Amazon’s algorithms to recognize your book as a reliable search result for that keyword. You can update both categories and keywords, but we recommend only updating them once a quarter to give time for results.
7:30 – What are some of the other factors that influence how a book ends up on the first page of a keyword search?
- Sales, pre-order data, reviews, and general interaction with the page can all affect a books’ placement on a keyword search page. The more interaction users have with a page, the better Amazon will advertise the book to readers. That’s where awareness comes in, optimizing Amazon to make the book noticeable.
8:40 – What can an author do to make a book more visible?
- Reader reviews are important. They serve as social proof, and they help to trigger Amazon’s recommendation algorithm and influence your category rankings.
- Authors should have a plan in place to seed books for review, and get comfortable asking for Amazon reviews! When someone tells you that they enjoyed your book, it’s as simple as saying, “That means so much to me! I really appreciate it. Do you mind sharing your review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads?”
- Only ask for honest feedback, and keep the focus on the book. Amazon will remove reviews where a personal relationship with an author is apparent, and it never looks good to have purely five star reviews posted at around the same time. A one-star or lukewarm review can be good for social proof.
10:50 – How do readers considering a book become buyers?
- We recommend that authors take advantage of Amazon advertising to consumers. Amazon allows us to advertise to consumers who are most likely to buy your book, meaning those who have a browsing or purchase history in the books categories.
- There are also limited-time ebook promotions authors can put in place a few weeks after the book release to draw attention back to the page.
- Make sure to include a link to your Amazon book page on your website and social media. People can’t buy your book if they don’t know where to go.
12:00 Let’s talk more about Amazon ads. Are those available to all authors?
- Yes! Amazon ads allow us to advertise to readers directly on the retail site. Amazon can tell us through link tracking how many books are sold through each ad. We’re able to create ads that target specific keywords, categories, and best sellers in those categories. The ads also allow us to see how they’re performing in clicks and impressions as well, so we can edit and optimize them throughout the campaign.
13:15 – You mentioned ebook price promotions. Can you explain what that is?
- An ebook promotion means dropping the price on an ebook for a period of time, then supporting that with advertising.
- You can promote the price drop on your social media, website, blog, and ebook bargain sites like Bookbub, and paid advertising on Amazon. It encourages impulse purchases and seeds a large number of books for reviews. We usually limit the campaign to 2-4 weeks at a time to keep up the urgency for consumers.
14:50 – Any other advice you have for authors on Amazon?
- In a nutshell, take advantage of everything Author Central has to offer, keep your book page fresh with reviews, have a plan to drive consistent traffic to your book page.
- The most successful books have active and involved authors.
- You can find a lot of this information in our Learning Center in a post titled “How to Sell Your Book Online: Insider’s Edition.”
As part of the marketing team, Olivia’s job is getting Greenleaf books into readers’ hands. She works with authors to develop a marketing strategy that promotes discoverability, awareness, and action for Greenleaf titles and uses her past experience in PR to keep up with market trends and optimize campaigns. Olivia earned a dual degree in English and French at the University of Georgia and completed the University of Denver’s Summer Publishing Institute. When she’s not at the office, she is probably cuddled up with a good book and her animals (reptile and mammal alike).