Helpful hints from CreateSpace on getting noticed

When you sign up with CreateSpace you start getting newsletters from them emailed to you. I think the newsletters are done monthly, but to be honest I haven’t really been concerned enough to make much note of it. Often the newsletters contain mildly interesting articles that are sprinkled with advice – some good, some obvious, and some that makes you scratch your head and wonder at the nonsense of these crazy modern times.

The latest newsletter has a piece on getting noticed, and I think its three main points (‘The Discoverability Trifecta’ they call it; I know, I’m choking down gag too) are worth briefly discussing. In a nutshell, they say that to get your book noticed on Amazon you should do the following: 1) Properly describe, categorize, and tag your book with keywords, 2) Make use of Amazon author pages, and 3) Become an Amazon Associate and social networker. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Describing your book is of course very important. I’ve posted before on writing a blurb for your book, and those guidelines apply for your Amazon page too. I think the most important part of this is not to be too verbose, keep it brief but with enough details of your work’s content to intrigue without spoiling. If you’re stuck, just read the back covers of a few paperbacks you’ve got lying around and some ideas will probably come to mind. Categorizing is likewise important, and of course it’s best to be specific but that really isn’t too hard as you’ll have to choose from the category options Amazon gives you anyway. You’re allowed five keywords, and the CreateSpace newsletter makes the good point that you don’t have to use all of them if you don’t want to, but you certainly should post some.

The Amazon author pages were a helpful highlight to me. I set one up on the main US Amazon site, but haven’t yet on the international ones because I didn’t realize it was necessary. The disconnect between the main site and the international ones is annoying to me both as a customer and as a writer, but there’s nothing any of us can do about that but gripe. In addition to remembering to re-post your author page information on each of the international sites, keep in mind that if reviews of your book are posted on one of those international sites that is where they will stay – they won’t automatically appear on the main site’s page for your book as well. I have noticed that Amazon Japan will sometimes have reviews from Amazon US on its pages, but the reverse doesn’t appear to ever happen. If you’re going to ask people to post reviews of your book, I’d recommend making sure those reviews are posted on the main Amazon site. (As a customer I usually see if the book I want is available from Amazon Japan as that’s where I live, but then go to the US site to read reviews of the book. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.)

Finally, becoming an Amazon Associate and social networking maestro. What it means to be an Amazon Associate is that you put buttons (containing links, of course) of a bunch of crap sold on Amazon on your website or blog, and then if someone clicks through those and makes a purchase you get up to 10% in advertising fees. I didn’t look into any of the details beyond that because I’m not a whore (pardon my language) and don’t want to clutter up our site here with a bunch of flashy adverts. We have more dignity than that. And as for social networking, well, if you can make that work then you don’t need any help from me. I think I’ve about twittered out my last tweet, redditted more than I’ve actually read, and gotten far too Buzzed from Digging my Shouts. That last sentence kicked in my gag reflex again so that’s it from me this time around.

Next week, Paul j Rogers on his angry confrontation with a clerk pushing more fonts.

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