Friday Speak Out!: 4 Things Authors Need to Know About Amazon, guest post by Aggie Villanueva

Friday, August 03, 2012
4 Things Authors Need to Know About Amazon
by Aggie Villanueva
Many of us have had books for sale for years at Many excitedly await their first book going live. Whichever your situation, there are just as many of us who unfortunately use Amazon as simply the world’s largest bookstore listing. What’s wrong with that, you may wonder? After all, Amazon is the world’s largest bookstore.

Vikram Narayan, CEO of, said of my book which teaches the principles presented in this article, “…Aggie Villanueva’s how-to changes your perspective of Amazon from that of an online book store to that of an author publicity machine."

In that spirit, here is my list of three things authors need to understand before selling their books at, and to change our “perspective of Amazon.”

 1. is Much More Than the World’s Largest Bookseller

If treated as a simple bookstore you’ll never garner the vast benefits of selling books there. They have created an ingenious marketing engine that drills through several layers of free and automated publicity, each layer completely unique and reaching millions of readers.

And like them or not, Amazon makes bestsellers out of more writers than anywhere. So why not make use of them? If you don’t utilize their system then they are indeed just the world’s largest bookseller. What a waste if all they do for your book is list it. Let me show you the basics of how Amazon can use categories to sell more of your books.

It all starts with YOU choosing your book categories wisely.

2. Nearly Every Publicity Function at Amazon is Based on Categories

The importance of wisely choosing Amazon categories goes far beyond gaining and keeping your category bestseller or overall bestseller. This nearly all-inclusive purpose for book categories creates a foundation point. Like an inverted pyramid, most of your rankings depend on categories. Most everything throughout Amazon’s ingenious multi-layered publicity machine starts with and builds upon categories.

Don’t underestimate their importance. You need the RIGHT categories attached to your books (not the smallest) in order to reach your precise audience. Only this tight targeting will kick start Amazon to begin publicizing your books globally on multiple levels. Which brings us to the next point.

3. Tight Targeting: The Force That Moves Amazon’s Mega-Publicity Machine

Targeting is the key to all successful marketing, and Amazon knows that. Booksellers all claim to know that, but is the only site I’m familiar with that actually implements it into their automated system in ways which go far beyond tallying categories. Tight targeting is the force pounding that publicity drill through each layer of their various promotion opportunities. And the first opportunity is always is to wisely choose your book categories.

What makes it all work is that every level of their marketing machine forces us to target our audience ever more tightly. That’s because this is exactly how Amazon markets. From categories to Tags to Customers Who Viewed This Also Viewed, to their numerous direct mailings, many top-100 lists… Nearly all promotions choose what to include from within categories. What if you’re in the wrong one?
Getting a picture here? Everything starts with and depends on categories, But is it YOU who must initially grease those category gears. The right categories trigger a targeting mechanism that shoots your book straight towards stardom.


 Published at Thomas Nelson before age 30, award-winning author Aggie Villanueva is now a self-published fiction & nonfiction author at Amazon/Kindle with The Rewritten Word, Rightfully Mine and Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers, all of which reached bestseller in multiple categories shortly after release. She founded an author publicity company, Promotion a la Carte. For those interested, you may find more than you could possibly ever want to know about Aggie by clicking here, including how to follow me at my social media faves.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Dougie Brimson said...

Great article. I've numerous books listed on Amazon in various genres (including fiction and non-fiction) as well as in both traditional and ebook format and whilst the categories work fairly well for me, I can't help thinking that I could be doing better with at least three of my 14 titles.

Sadly, this wasn't my mistake but my original publishers and I'd be keen to know if there's a way of changing their category after a period of time.

If only to give them a fresh shot at a potentially new audience.

LuAnn Schindler said...

Thanks for the advice about Amazon and how authors can benefit.

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