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Just as important as knowing your audience, your audience needs to know you. Goodreads and Amazon Author Central are some of your strongest tools to accomplish that. Goodreads was created to bridge the gap between authors and readers to give them a space where they can come together to talk about their favorite books and genres and liberally share their insights. Author Central was created for your audience to truly get to know you and attach your personality to your book.
The following suggestions are strategies for engaging that community meaningfully.
Set up a profile with Author Central on Amazon. Get started here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help, but then consider getting best tips and practices from Google searches like “how to optimize author central,” “best practices for author central,” or “tips to improve your author central page.” Author Central was created to promote you as an author and connect people to your other books. It can be used to add or fix your bio, photos, and videos; link a blog; and announce your upcoming events.
Click "Help" on the Author Central page to go through everything step by step.
Keywords and categories are important. Amazon edits them to make sure they are relevant to your product, so be specific and on topic with your selections.
The Amazon team spends advertising dollars on keyword searches to help other categories pick up your book. This is a service for authors that publish with us at no cost to you, but is under our sole discretion. Occasionally the Amazon team will reach out for more information or clarification, but they mostly operate behind the scenes without your involvement.
Learn about Goodreads Author Profile, Author Dashboard, and Widgets here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/how_to. This link will also be useful for other strategies you might consider, including giveaways.
Whenever someone purchases your book on Amazon, your book’s ranking will jump up into the hundred thousands, but if the book’s sales are inconsistent, its rank will usually fall back into the millions. Continuing to promote book purchases and receiving verified purchase reviews helps raise your ranking for the long run.
Family and friends should be people who want to invest in your success. Getting at least twenty people to buy and review your book on Amazon will give it a much bigger jump-start.
If you choose to use a free book promo, it should be for at least twenty people who are not friends and family and will volunteer to give a review in exchange for a free book.
This should be accomplished by reaching out personally to specific people and not through random social media shout-outs. If possible, choose people who are likely to talk about your book or post about it outside of their Amazon review and will follow through on writing the review they promised. Finding forums that revolve around your book’s genre on Goodreads is an excellent space to find these people. The Community Dropdown offers several groups and places of discussion that you can get involved in. Most of these people are already active readers and love to jump on the opportunity for a free book. Beyond simply getting people to read your book and give honest reviews, it also allows for a follow-up discussion to get better insights.
*Please be aware that though reaching people outside of your circle is effective and important, there will be people who may simply not enjoy your book. Remember that though your book is important to you and Cedar Fort, not everyone will see the vision we do. Don’t let that stop you from getting involved! Many of these criticisms can open up book opportunities for future titles, as well as collectively and appropriately give you a chance to get more insight and context from their feedback. The top authors in the industry consistently get 5- and 1-star ratings and respect that not everyone will love their work. Also remember that your critics did read your book, so they might have had a spark of interest in the subject matter that maybe your book didn’t address that you now have the opportunity to address.