Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Hey there, Author, checking your Amazon sales rank 15 times a day---why don't you try to be proactive rather than reactive and use some of Amazon's features to your advantage? Why be Amazonymous when you can actively influence your own sales?

www.amazon.com/connect allows authors to set up their own bio page. It's free. And after the first of the year, it will also allow you to contact readers who have bought your book through Amazon.

Mine is here.

www.amazon.com/shorts allows people to download a short story of yours for .49 cents. I'll have a new Jack Daniels story up there in a few weeks. It's great for fans who are anxiously awaiting your next book, and it is also a cheap way for a potential buyer to give your writing a try without plunking down the big bucks. Plus, you make money--every download earns you 20 cents---which is pretty good considering a paperback sale only nets an author 55 cents.

www.amazon.com/listmania allows you to create a list of books that are similar to yours, and which comes up when people do searches on those authors. This is a list of recommended reads that appears in the sidebar when popular authors are searched. One of mine is here.

www.amazon.com reviews are more than just a way to give your author peers a pick me up---you thoughtful comments about their books can lead their readers to you. So release your inner Harriet Klausner and go review some books. This is especially important if you believe in karma.
Don't know what Amazon rankings mean? Neither does anyone else. For a quick and dirty explanation, check out www.fonerbooks.com/surfing.htm. But my own experience and experiments don't necessarily agree.

I do know that Amazon is supplied by the distributor Ingram, and a call to 615-213-6803 can let you know how many books Ingram has shipped for this year and last.

Want to make money from Amazon? You can join Amazon Affiliates at www.amazon.com/associates and get a few cents every time someone orders your book through your site. If you want to link to Amazon, I also suggest you link to other bookstores as well, to give your surfers a choice of where to buy. I personally do not link to Amazon, becuase I've found that indie bookstores dislike it.

So what are you waiting for? Get into the Amazone.


Author-Gerald said...

More good advice, Joe. It's amazing how many junior and aspiring writers out here expect the gravy train to come steaming in through their front door. I can't make the analogy go any further, but you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Joe, thanks for the tips, especially the one about Ingram's. Maybe you can help me understand Ingram's numbers. When I call, it gives me:
1) unadjusted demand for this week
2) adjusted demand for last week
3) sales this year
4) sales last year

What do those numbers really mean? I assume the adjusted demand numbers take into account returns. Does "sales" mean number shipped or actually sales?

Inquiring minds want to know, even if they are anonymoous.


emeraldcite said...

This is what I know about Ingrams:

It is one of two or three major distributors of books. When you call, they give you neat numbers.

1) unadjusted demand this week: The number of books stores or sites have order to replenish stock the week of your call. This early on in the week (Sun, Mon, Tues) you'll probably get a big zero.
2)adjusted demand last week: The number of books that were ordered (and I'm guessing not returned, or actually put through and sent) to stores.
3.) Total number of books sold this year. (Do an experiement: Call in the top five bestsellers in hardocver, The DaVinci Code, big press paperback and small press paperback. You'll get an idea of how the numbers run and how Ingrams fits into the system.
4)Gives you the number of books they sold last year.

Ingrams, from my understanding, provides you with one distributors numbers. These numbers do not account for all sales or figures as the publisher would have. These only include what Ingram's ships.

Feel free to correct any mistakes. This is Ingrams as I understand it.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Wow! I have to bookmark all these sites. Good job Joe!

Anonymous said...


We met a few weeks ago at the Joliet Book Fair. You were kind enough to link to my blog.

As I told you in Joliet, I get much enjoyment out of reading your blog. I may have even learned a few things from you along the way.

Your piece today on Amazon is right on the mark. I've utilized most of them myself. What I like is that unlike almost every other potential promotional source out there, the Amazon ones cost the author nothing, except for a little time.

One Amazon tool that you don't mention which I've used is the "So you'd like to" guide. A close cousin of the Listmania list, it gives the added advantage of affording the author to write a little.

My guide is "So you'd like to... explore Chicago's mysteries." Of course I've included "Bloody Mary" on that guide. You can read it at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/guides/guide-display/-/L3NVJHXX8S9F/ref%3Dcm%5Fbg%5Fem%5Fvg%5Fhtm%5Fbtm/103-8105549-1317405



Chris said...

Mmmm, steaming trains of gravy. What were we talking about, again?

Seriously, thanks for the glimpse from the trenches, Joe. I'm shamelessly cutting-and-pasting for later use.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

GREAT post, Joe. And it all makes good business sense.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the details on Ingram's, emeraldcite.