Howdy partners. It’s been a while since I last stopped in to visit here on WITS. Time flies when you’re having fun writing and promoting books, which brings me to today’s topic. As the title implies, Amazon forums offer authors an opportunity to promote their books, but only with caution and proper etiquette.
When I self-published my first book, Darlin’ Druid, in late 2010, I had no idea how to use Big A’s customer forums. In fact, I didn’t even know they existed, but I soon learned about them – the hard way.
I discovered the forums by accident, from chance comments by authors on other sites. My first thought was “Oh boy! Now I can tell readers about my new baby.” Certain all the historical romance fans would be eager to buy it, I dipped my toe in the Romance Forum pool, letting readers know about my book.
One of the “forum police,” a reader who shall go nameless, immediately snapped off a sharp reply, something about needing to “bump” an earlier warning to authors not to promote their books on the forum. That made me scratch my head. If I couldn’t tell romance readers about my book, how was I supposed to reach them?
Eventually, I found a few author friendly threads where I met readers, authors and ebook reviewers who kindly welcomed me into their midst. There, authors were able to talk about general writing topics and promote their projects. I connected with some wonderful folks on those threads, was invited for interviews on blog sites and even received terrific book reviews from a few readers.
However, my sales were slow, driving me to become reckless and post promo messages on two or three romance forum threads, where readers were looking for book suggestions. Big mistake!
One of the above mentioned self-styled forum cops proceeded to add four nasty tags on my book’s retail page. She didn’t call me out about my posts, just did her best – her worst, I should say – to drive customers away from my book.
When I discovered what she’d done, I was horrified. I screamed about it on the friendly threads, and a number of my new friends hit the disagree button for those tags. Believe me, I learned my lesson.
I never again posted on the Romance Forum.
A few months later, Amazon introduced the Meet Our Authors Forum, where authors are encouraged to exchange advice about writing and promoting their books. A lot of authors complained that we were being corralled in a sort of prison where we’d have no contact with readers. To some extent that’s true, but not entirely. Some readers do visit the MOA threads looking for new authors to try.
One thread I’m on nearly every day is titled Western Romance Authors Please Post Here. The thread is hosted by Maggie O’, an avid reader who is our guiding light. I host a thread called Books Unmolded: crossing genres, breaking cookie-cutters. Stop by and say hi if you have a moment.
There are many other threads on the MOA forum, some for specific genres, others purely for book promotion.
Here are a few you might want to check out:
Promote Your Fiction Titles
Authors Post Your Shameless Plugs here.
Welcome Readers To Our Writers Corner #10 (There were 9 previous threads by that name.)
Talk about your book!
Looking for ebooks $2.99 and under
My advice to authors:
Introduce yourself on a few MOA threads, ones that suit your genre.
Be friendly, offer advice if you can help fellow authors, visit their blogs and Facebook pages, and ask them to visit yours. If you’re lucky, as I have been, you may form lasting relationships that will lead you in unexpected, fruitful directions.
As for those reader forums, look at them, lurk in the background, learn what customers are looking for, but NEVER promote your books there.
Instead, look for friendly readers on the MOA Forum. Offer them a free copy of your newest book. If they like it, ask if they’re willing to post a review on the book’s retail page. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll drop a good word for you on the reader forums.
I hope I ‘ve given you a good idea of how to navigate Amazon forums and make them work for you. Have you self published? How has your experience been? What areas of promotion have provided you with the best results for your books?