What if you could sell books by the truckload?
You know…your book gets listed on Amazon, orders pour in, you start making passive income.
Too hard? Too competitive? Marketing too expensive? That’s what a lot of freelance writers think. But that’s just because they haven’t learned The Truckload Strategy to sell books.
If you’re thinking about self-publishing a book, pitching a publisher, or your book is about to be released, there’s more to freelance success than just great writing.
You need to know how to sell books. And like it or not, selling books is more about strategy, tactics, and heavy-duty marketing than creative prose.
Want to write and sell books to boost your income as a freelancer?
It’s totally possible to sell a ton of books, even if you don’t have a massive audience.
Seriously. I’ve written 18 books. I teach self-publishing at New York University, and I’ve helped thousands of freelancers get published, sell books, and earn more.
Ready to sell books by the truckload? Here’s what you need to know.
Meet freelance writer Penny Sansevieri
Penny Sansevieri is the founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. She’s a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert.
Sansevieri teaches self-publishing at New York University, and she was recently named a top 2019 influencer by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her book How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon was released earlier this year.
Can you handle an 800-pound gorilla to sell books?
Amazon IS the 800-pound gorilla that most authors spend a lot of time figuring out.
And there’s this…Amazon keeps changing. Its algorithms can either boost or tank a book.
Want to sell books as a freelance writer on Amazon?
A focused effort is needed to:
- Stand out on the site itself, amidst all the other noise
- Keep readers on your Amazon book page, which has become decidedly more cluttered.
Still, Amazon offers a number of free ways to sell books, drive more attention to your work, and keep readers longer on your book page.
Get in the driver’s seat and grab the wheel. This is how you sell books by the truckload on Amazon.
1. Connect your writer blog to Amazon
Amazon allows your to sync your author blog with its Amazon Author Central page, meaning every time you update your blog, it will show up on your Author Central page. Even if you only update it monthly, or weekly, it’s a good piece to add to your page.
Here’s how to sync your Author Page with your blog
- Go into the backend of your Amazon account
- Click on Author Page
- Add your blogging URL to “Blogs”
- Tip: If you write for multiple sites, you can add in a few different blog links. Some authors who blog for places like Thrive, Huffington Post and others link each of these feeds via the blog link on Author Central. Every time you publish a new post, it populates on your Amazon Author Central page.
Here’s a snapshot of what mine looks like:
Fair warning: If you aren’t consistent about updating your blog, don’t add it. The worst thing you can do is have a blog linked to your Amazon page that’s outdated or rarely touched.
2. Add video to Amazon Author Updates
Videos are another great element to add to your overall Amazon presence. It’s no secret video is hot right now. If you have any kind of video, add it to your Author Central page.
Here’s a screenshot. You’ll have to go to my Author Updates to watch it…one of Amazon’s clever strategies to keep readers on the site:
Video tips for Amazon authors
Any kind of video you can add to your Author Central page is going to help you get more views, build authority, and the achieve the ultimate goal…sell books. Add a video from:
- An event you host or participate in (short excerpts and snippets are better)
- Coaching calls, video interviews, or even unscripted recordings about writing or your niche
- A book trailer, book reading, signing event, or some other kind of book-related video
- A short “get to know you” recording about yourself and your book (these type of videos make the reader experience more personal)
Tip: If you have a video or videos you want to add to your Amazon Author page, you’ll need the original file, not a link to YouTube or other URL.
3. Use keywords on Amazon to sell books
Even though Amazon’s algorithms change regularly, there’s one thing that remains constant.
Keyword strings or phrases help sell books.
Why strings and not a single keyword?
Because we know that the consumer who pops in a singular term like “mystery,” into the Amazon search bar is not really a serious shopper.
The idea of single keywords vs. strings was based on a test Google conducted. They found that the more keywords a consumer pops into their search bar, the closer they are to a buy.
- Think: Car vs. SUV Subaru 2020 – if you’re typing in the latter, you’re probably in the market for a new set of wheels. That’s why typing more keywords into a Google search bar will prompt all sorts of ads on the sidebar of other locations like Facebook and even Skype.
Tip: Remember that you’re offering them a solution to some issue they’re having. Even if the sole purpose of your book is to entertain. Identifying the solution you’re offering will begin to help you understand what keywords will work best for your book.
Want more help with keywords on Amazon? Dave Chesson created the keyword research tool for Amazon authors called KDP Rocket (yes, Carol uses, recommends, and proudly affiliate sells it).
4. Find the right category & genre for your book
Believe it or not, a book being in the wrong genre is a problem I hear weekly, sometimes even daily. It actually happens more than you think – and it’s, more often than not, completely unintentional.
Choose, but choose wisely
Generally, this happens when an author isn’t 100 percent clear on what their genre is. Or you’ve written a book that doesn’t fit a specific genre (don’t do this…OK?).
Sometimes it’s just a matter of an author not really understanding the importance of categories and subcategories.
Not sure what category/genre you should be in?
Take a look at other similar books and see where your book fits in. This will tell you a lot about where your book should be.
Tip: Become a fan of your own genre. If you do this, you’ll be yards ahead of the game in terms of knowing exactly where your book belongs. Get this right, and you’ll sell books more often.
The right category and genre makes a difference. Here’s an example of how that’s helped my latest book perform:
- The broader problem with misplaced books is that readers know what they want…without question. So, if your book is “sort of” paranormal romance, but doesn’t have all the particular criteria a paranormal romance should have, consider putting it in a genre/category that will most resonate with the readers.
Niche down to sell books
Niche down. You’ve heard that before to build a successful freelance writing business. If you want to sell books on Amazon, there’s a big benefit to niche or sub-genres.
For example: If your book is non-fiction, the right category and genre will help you reach potential readers looking for a solution. Maybe they have a small business and they need some basic guidance on social media, marketing, accounting, etc.
There’s a sub-genre for that on Amazon. If your book is in it, guess what? You’ll sell books. This helps spike sales by reaching exactly the right audience for your book.
5. Polish your Author Central page
Aside from adding video or a link to your blog, there’s a lot of other stuff you can do with your Amazon book page via the back end of Author Central, which offers some great ways to market a book. For example:
- Add reviews that didn’t make it onto your actual book page
- Post an author interview
- Share enhanced book content
- If you’ve written non-fiction, add in the table of contents
- For fiction, create a character profile piece with short little tidbits on each character in your book or series.
I’m always surprised how many authors neglect this free book marketing resource. Add some enhancements to your Author Central page to keep readers engaged, and you know…sell books.
6. Create Amazon Video Shorts
This isn’t the same things as adding videos to you Author Central page. Many authors think this is just for readers to post video reviews. It works for that, but you can use it to market your book.
Use it to record a quick video to:
- Thank readers for spending time with you
- Offer a tip from your book
- Share a piece of your book trailer
This feature is a fun, cool tool for Amazon authors that often gets overlooked. Got a book on Amazon? Go create an Amazon Video Short to help you sell more books.
Cash in with free marketing tools to sell books
Amazon, for all of its complexity, really does have a series of nice features that you can use to enhance your presence as an author. It’s a fun and free way to grab more Amazon real estate, keep readers on your page longer, and sell books.
Need help learning how to sell books? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Penny C. Sansevieri is a best-selling author, teacher, and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.