Amazon Is NOT Your Publisher

I am surprised by the number of indie and self-published authors who tell me that the publisher of their book is Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, or IngramSpark.

Amazon is NOT your publisher.

It is clear to me that these authors do not understand the difference between an author, a publisher, and a publishing platform.

Authors and publishers have distinct jobs. These jobs are as follows:

Author’s job:

  • Write a manuscript
  • Engage in marketing to assist sales

Publisher’s job:

  • Edit the manuscript
  • Create a cover
  • Lay out the book
  • Secure a printer
  • Assign an ISBN
  • Access distribution for sales to retail and other channels
  • Engage in marketing to ensure sales

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is neither an author or a publisher. It does not write, edit, lay out, or create a cover design for your book. What KDP offers are services.

They offer a cover design template, an ebook conversion program, printing, distribution for sales, and even advertising options. They also offer the option for you to have Amazon assign an ISBN number to your book. This still does not make them the publisher of your book. The option to secure an ISBN is just another service they provide.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a publishing platform. Other publishing platforms include:

  • Kobo Writing Life
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft2Digital
  • Smashwords
  • IngramSpark

A publishing platform is a service provider. These platforms allow an independent author—acting as a publisher—to secure printing and access distribution for a book.

If you are an author who is also producing your book—directing the editing, layout, cover design, and securing printing and distribution—then you are also the publisher of your book.

Amazon is a publisher. But it is not the publisher of your books. Amazon owns 16 publishing imprints. You can find the complete list of these imprints at https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/our-imprints.html. Be assured, Kindle Direct Publishing is not one of Amazon’s publishing imprints.

Don’t be confused about the difference between a publisher and a publishing platform. If you are the one responsible for bringing your book to fruition, then you are the publisher.

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Presence: It’s Essential in Selling Books

Do you know the answer to these questions?

  • Which online store nets 49% of all money spent on online shopping?
  • Where do half of all online product searches begin?
  • Who sells half of all print books in the United States?

Presence: It's Essential in Selling Books

In case you have not yet guessed, the answer to all of these questions is:

Amazon

Amazon is the behemoth of book sellers.

Here is an important marketing tip:

If you are an author trying to sell books, then you want to have a presence at the store selling the most books.

Okay”, you say. “I have my books for sale on Amazon. I’m good. I have a presence there.”

Yes, but the greater your presence, the better. So, how do you increase your presence on Amazon? I suggest you try these two strategies.

1. Complete your Amazon Author Central Page

I am still surprised at how many authors skip this important step. A recent cooperative marketing effort with Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) featured four of our members’ books. I was dismayed to find that only one of those four indie published authors had taken the time to complete their Author Central page.

Amazon’s Author Central allows every author to have a greater presence on Amazon’s website. On this page, you can upload a photo of yourself, write a biography for readers to start to know+like+trust you, and make sure all the books you have penned show up on this page.

Authors who skip this vital step on Amazon are truly leaving marketing dollars on the table. Creating an Amazon Author Central Page is free! This Page allows you to expand your presence on Amazon. It’s a great marketing tool.

You can set up your Amazon Author Central Page at https://authorcentral.amazon.com.

2. Advertise on Amazon

I recently heard a marketing expert say the following:

“The first wave of advertising on the Internet was Google. The second wave of advertising on the Internet was Facebook. We are now in the third wave of advertising on the Internet and it is Amazon.”

In 2019, Amazon secured $9 billion in ad revenue. This number is expected to reach $38 billion by 2022. Since 50% of all product services start on Amazon, then advertising on Amazon is a smart move. Advertising with this online store helps increase your presence.

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) allows any author with a book in advertise the book. These ads are pay-per-click, meaning that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. AMS allows you to control how much you want to spend per click and per day. Setting a daily marketing budget with AMS of a few dollars shows your book to many more readers than just having your book on the site.

If you are not sure how to get started with advertising on Amazon, you can take the FREE course offered by Kindlepreneur at https://kindlepreneur.com/ams-book-advertising-course.

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Reuse, Reduce, Recycle: A Great Marketing Strategy

Reuse, reduce, recycle is not just good for the environment; it’s good for authors too.

In marketing books, reusing, reducing, and recycling saves you time and energy, and allows you to be more efficient in content marketing. Content marketing involves using content—information—to engage and convince a target audience to buy your books.

A Great Marketing Strategy!

Content marketing builds trust with an audience. The people you are trying to reach who read or listen to your content develop trust in what you offer (information or story), and then purchase your books because they want more.

As an author, you have plenty of content. It’s what you have written in your books—and it’s where the practice of reusing, reducing, and recycling comes into play.

Reuse

You don’t have to constantly write new material. Take the material you have written and reuse it. Your books are full of information that you can take and reuse for marketing purposes.

You can excerpt sections of chapters in your book and reuse them as blog posts, articles, white papers, and content for videos or podcasts.  You can use sections in your books as they appear in the book, or you can restructure the information and even add to it to compose a fresh piece.

Reduce

Your books are lengthy. They are probably anywhere from 100 to 250 pages. That’s a lot of information. You can take the information in your book and reduce it—condense it—into a list or a step program.

This list or step composition can be used as a giveaway in exchange for an email address. Doing this helps you build your email list so you can drip your message into a select group of people who are interested in hearing what you have to say.

Recycle

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. While the information in your books is not “waste”, you can use the same concept of taking that material and turning it into a new object.

Take the information in your book and turn it into articles. Each article can also be recycled by changing it or adding to it and submitted to multiple magazines or blogs.

You can then recycle the information in your articles by turning each piece into an infographic, an informative video, or even a talk for a speaking engagement.

Reusing, reducing, and recycling keeps you from constantly having to reinvent the wheel and come up with new content. Your evergreen content can keep working for you over and over again.

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Announcing: The 2020 Christian Indie Awards Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2020 Christian Indie Awards have been determined!

Christian book lovers and retailers voted on 170 nominated titles in 18 categories. The winners in each of the 18 categories are:

2020 Award Winners

Bible Study

Letters from Jesus: Finding Good News in Christ’s Letters to the Churches, Paul Ellis, KingsPress        

Biography & Memoir

Growing Up Yanomamo Today: By Faith, Not by Sight, Michael Dawson, Grace Acres Press

Business & Finance

Leadership with a Servant’s Heart, Kevin Wayne Johnson, Writing for the Lord

Children’s 4-8

I Am: God’s Affirmations For Little Girls, Belinda N. Mays

Children’s 8-12

Power Up, Jessie Mattis, Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

Christian Education

Living IN Jesus, Ben Brezina, Mark Fields, Tom Price, Greg Cleland, Christian Families Today

Christian Living

Are You a Kingdom Woman?, Dr. Elewechi Ngozi Okike, Assurance Publications Limited

Devotional

She: Delighting In The Examples Of The Women Of The Bible, Delight Thyself Design Ministries, Delight In Him Publications

General Fiction

After the Benediction, Sherabim Joy

2020 Award Winners

Gift

The Greatest Things in Life, Terry Jackson, Jason Fowler, illustrator, The Peppertree Press

Historical Fiction

In Black and White, MaryAnn Diorio, Topnotch Press

Mystery & Suspense

Spiritual Warriors: The Rise of Night The Rise of Light, Nakia L. Brown, Pearly Gates Publishing, LLC

Personal Growth

Inside Of Me, Wendy Shipman

Poetry

My Little Book of Poetry and Prayer, Virginia Martin, Chad Joseph Thieman

Relationships & Family

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope, Hal and Melanie Young, Great Waters Press

Romance

A Worthy Love, Mariah Glove

Theology

Apparent Faith: What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Father’s Heart, Karl Forehand, Quoir

Young Adult

Something I Am Not, Cher Gatto, Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas

2020 Award Winners

Congratulations to all the winners! The Christian Indie Awards are sponsored by the Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA).

Are you looking for a great book to read? Try one of the winners of the Christian Indie Awards!

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Are You an Environmentally Conscious Author?

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” ~Psalm 24:1-2

The earth belongs to God, but he gave us the responsibility of caring for it.

Earth Day 2020

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” ~Genesis 1:28

Next week, Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

One year on Earth Day, I helped plant 200 trees. It felt good. One thing I like about paper is that it is a renewable resource. I believe that authors and publishers, in particular, should be invested in ensuring that we are renewing this wonderful resource.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share some paper recycling facts. As publishers and authors, we use lots of paper. Our books are printed on paper. Our catalogs, business cards, and bookmarks are made of paper.

So, together, let’s do our part to preserve our environment by reusing, reducing, and recycling.

Paper Recycling Facts

  • The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution!
  • The 17 trees saved (above) can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Burning that same ton of paper would create 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  •  The construction costs of a paper mill designed to use waste paper is 50 to 80% less than the cost of a mill using new pulp.
  • If you had a 15-year-old tree and made it into paper grocery bags, you’d get about 700 of them. A busy supermarket could use all of them in under an hour! This means in one year, one supermarket can go through over 6 million paper bags! Imagine how many supermarkets there are just in the United States!

Let’s all do our part and renew a commitment to reuse, reduce, and recycle for Earth Day 2020.

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