Beagle Bay Inc, Consulting, Book Packaging and Production

The Self-Publisher's FAQ

Amazon.com

Amazon.com is the biggest player in publishing right now. While they offer self-publishers access to a huge audience never before available, don't assume they are somehow pro-self-publisher. With that warning, let's proceed.

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How Do I Get in With Amazon?

There are several ways to list your paper book with Amazon.

The simplest way to get into Amazon is via Amazon Advantage . They charge $29.95 a year and ask for a 55% discount. You will pay shipping and be responsible for providing tracking info, invoices and maintaining data on the Vendor Central interface

If printing offset and using a distributor, that company will almost certainly place your book with Amazon.

If you are self-distributing an offset book and have signed up with Baker & Taylor (or Ingram), the book will appear on Amazon.

If you are printing with the POD company Lightning Source (LSI) (a division of Ingram wholesale), your book will appear on Amazon automatically.

You can print directly to Amazon via their POD company CreateSpace . The book will only be available on Amazon, but that may be fine with you.

For those self-distributing offset books (or even small quantities of digitally-printed books), you can use Fulfillment by Amazon is an option. This service allows you to ship books in quantity to several Amazon warehouses. From those quantities, Amazon will send books to their customers. You are charged monthly storage fees, handling fees and shipping.

You can also use Amazon Marketplace to put your printed books on Amazon. This will require you to ship directly to the customer. Amazon takes a percentage of the sale as a middleperson.

How Can I Add Content to My Amazon Page? It Looks Kind of Bare!

You can—and should—join Author Central to post your bio, picture and links to reviews not found on your book page. You can also get sales reports.

What Else Does Author Central Offer?

Author Central allows you to track book sales not only on Amazon, but also over the whole book industry (but not libraries and special markets). Using the Nielsen Bookscan technology, you can see at a glance how many books you've sold. This is a terrific tool, only recently added.

How Do I Get into the "Search Inside the Book!" Program?

Go to http://www.amazon.com/gp/html-forms-controller/SITB_Pub_Signup_Form

How Else Can I Make My Book Page Look Better?

Encourage friends, family and readers who like your book to both "Like" your book (this is found at the top of the book's page), and post a review on your page. Note: Amazon has changed its policies, so that customer reviews are no longer fully anonymous. That means you can't post one for yourself—as used to be the case a while ago.

I Got a Great Review, But They Can't Post It Directly on My Amazon Page. What Can I Do?

Amazon quit allowing reviewers to put their reviews on book pages. You can post reviews on your page by going into your Author Central page.

What Does My Ranking Mean?

Amazon will not reveal the details of how the ranking system works. Here is the best information we have: Your book will start at about 3 million. As books are sold, it will notch downward. This not only reflects your sales, but your sales in relation to similar books. A lot of activity will make your book dip down into the four-, even three digits. This will likely return to a higher number when activity slacks off.

A book ranked in the five digits is usually selling five-to-six a month. This includes Marketplace copies.

Ranking in the four digits indicate three-to-six books sold per week. Lower numbers indicate sales per day, even per hour. Ranking can be updated hourly on fast-moving books, but is usually only updated daily on slower moving titles.

Customer reviews and "Likes" do affect ranking, but not as much as a sale.

I Have a Website, Can I Get People to Buy from Amazon.com?

Amazon has an affiliate program for you called Amazon Associates. You can earn monthly commissions on sales originating from your website. Commissions start at 4% and go up depending on volume that month; for non-book merchandise there are many ways to earn even greater commission and incentives. The best part is once a customer follows the link from your site to Amazon.com, EVERYTHING the customer buys in that session is commissionable to you. I've earned commissions on everything from baby strollers to cameras along with my book sales.

There's Someone Selling Copies of My Book on Amazon Marketplace! How Did They Get My Book?

Not only is it OK, but you are getting paid! Marketplace is the part of Amazon that allows other sellers to offer the same title at or below the price Amazon does. See below on what to do about review copies.

There's Someone Selling My Review Copies on Amazon! Can They Do That?

You can write each person selling your review copies and advise them that they are in violation of their agreement with Amazon. Many will desist (about one in five remove the listing).

If they persist, you can send a message to Amazon on the "Contact Us" form, set the subject line to "Report an Intellectual Property Violation." Put the vendor's screen name, e-mail address, the ISBN, title (and author) of your book and the steps you took to remedy the situation on your own within the explanation of the problem.

Now, that's the way you can deal with it. But ask yourself if it is worth your time and effort to do so. Getting rid of the galley sellers will just make most of them move to eBay—which could care less if a book is a galley or a retail sale.

   
   

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