Aiming at Amazon: The NEW Business of Self Publishing, or How to Publish Your Books with Print on Demand and Online Book Marketing on Amazon.com

Overview

**********BECAUSE OF CHANGES AT AMAZON, READERS OF THIS BOOK SHOULD BE SURE TO VISIT THE AUTHOR'S WEB SITE FOR UPDATES**********

There has never been a self publishing manual like this.

"Aiming at Amazon" is NOT about getting your book into bookstores. Instead, it lays out an innovative approach that targets sales on Amazon.com. It reveals how to make a book sell well online, with tips never before offered. And it doesn't stop there -- it gives you a way to publish your book ...

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Overview

**********BECAUSE OF CHANGES AT AMAZON, READERS OF THIS BOOK SHOULD BE SURE TO VISIT THE AUTHOR'S WEB SITE FOR UPDATES**********

There has never been a self publishing manual like this.

"Aiming at Amazon" is NOT about getting your book into bookstores. Instead, it lays out an innovative approach that targets sales on Amazon.com. It reveals how to make a book sell well online, with tips never before offered. And it doesn't stop there -- it gives you a way to publish your book with print on demand that can double your profit per copy.

Avoid publishing plans that handicap you almost before you begin. Let "Aiming at Amazon" introduce you to the NEW business of self publishing.

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Aaron Shepard is a foremost proponent of the new business of profitable self publishing through print on demand, which he has practiced and helped develop since 1998. Unlike most authorities on self publishing, he makes the bulk of his living from his self-published books -- not from consulting, speaking, freelance writing, or selling publishing services. In a parallel life, Aaron is an award-winning children's author with numerous books from publishers large and small.

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"Aaron Shepard has been more successful selling through Amazon than any other self publisher I know. If you want to self publish and get the most from it, this book is for you." -- Morris Rosenthal, author, "Print-on-Demand Book Publishing"

"Solid gold advice. . . . Aiming At Amazon will dramatically increase your odds of success. A few hours with this book will give you the benefit of years worth of hard-earned experience." -- Steve Weber, author, "The Home-Based Bookstore"

"If you want to learn how to sell more books on Amazon, this is the best book I've read on the subject. . . . Thanks to books like this, self-published authors have a chance to succeed against traditionally-published competitors." -- Stacie Vander Pol, author, "Top Self Publishing Firms"

"Shepard is considered one of the pioneers of marketing print-on-demand (POD) books through Amazon. . . . I highly recommend Aiming At Amazon to self-publishers and authors who want to publish a book at little cost. The model pioneered by Shepard, Rosenthal, and others is probably the best way for a newcomer to enter the world of self-publishing." -- Peter Hupalo, Midwest Book Review

"An essential read for anyone having to market a self-published or POD-published book -- and has a wealth of information for small press publishers, novice freelance book publicists, and mid-list authors of the larger publishing houses." -- Jim Cox, Jim Cox Reports, March 2007

"I've published ten other books through regular publishers, and this route is much more fun and rewarding!" -- Ellen Hodgson Brown, Third Millenium Press

"Buy it! Study it! Learn from it! Apply its lessons! It will be the least expensive yet most valuable book marketing training you will ever get." -- Walt Shiel, Slipdown Mountain Publications

"Shepard boils it down to the essentials so you can get done what you need to get done and get out." -- Zoe Winter, Indie Books Journal (blog of IndieReader.com), Apr. 12, 2010

"Shepard comes across as honest, likeable and brimming with common sense. . . . Would be helpful to all writers with books on Amazon, not just those who self-published." -- Catherine Ryan Howard, Catherine, Caffeinated, July 21, 2010

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What People Are Saying

Morris Rosenthal
Aaron Shepard has been more successful selling through Amazon than any other self publisher I know. If you want to self publish and get the most from it, this book is for you.
author, Print-on-Demand Book Publishing
Steve Weber
Solid gold advice. . . . Aiming At Amazon will dramatically increase
your odds of success. A few hours with this book will give you the
benefit of years worth of hard-earned experience.
author, Plug Your Book!
Stacie Vander Pol
"If you want to learn how to sell more books on Amazon, this is the best book I've read on the subject. . . . Thanks to books like this, self-published authors have a chance to succeed against traditionally-published competitors."--(Stacie Vander Pol, author, "Top Self Publishing Firms")
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938497431
  • Publisher: Shepard Publications
  • Publication date: 9/1/2006
  • Pages: 230
  • Sales rank: 1,100,558
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Shepard has been making his living from self publishing for years and loving it. On the side, he is an award-winning children's author with numerous picture books from major publishers. He is also the author of the bestselling children's writing guide "The Business of Writing for Children," as well as the popular guide to book design with Microsoft Word, "Perfect Pages."
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Read an Excerpt

FORGET BOOKSTORES

Yes, I said it: Forget bookstores.

The first principle of the new business of self publishing is probably the hardest for aspiring publishers to accept. If you're like me, you love to visit your local bookstore -- whether chain or independent -- and wander the aisles, delighting in the sheer presence of so many enticing volumes. That love probably sprang up in your childhood, and will likely last you the rest of your life.

The trouble is, the feeling is not mutual.

In general, bookstores do not love self publishers. It's nothing personal. If the staff at that store sat down and read your book, they might like it very much. They might even make an effort to
promote it. Perhaps you can convince two or three local stores to do just that.

But for most bookstores, your book simply isn't worth the effort. The book business is a well-oiled machine that runs in broad and well-worn channels. Bookstores deal with sales reps and suppliers that can deliver dozens of titles at a time to their doorstep. Unless you already have a runaway bestseller, it's simply not efficient for them to deal with someone hawking one or two books. And to tell the truth, it's usually not worth your time to try to get them to.

Luckily, you no longer need to. With only minor effort and cost, you can get your book carried by one bookseller that handles nearly 20% of trade retail bookselling in the U.S. -- about half of what's handled by all "real world" U.S. bookstores put together. You can get your book on Amazon.com.

Even better, on Amazon you'll compete on a much more level playing field with publishers of any size. By aiming at Amazon andexploiting its capabilities to the full, you can outmaneuver large publishers that may know less about its workings than you do and that have their main attention elsewhere.

Take the example of one of my own lead sellers, "The Business of Writing for Children." For much of its publishing life, this book has been the biggest selling children's writing guide on Amazon.com. When the book you're reading was first published, my children's writing book was competing on Amazon primarily against one guide from the For Dummies series and another from the Complete Idiot's series -- and it was outselling each of them by 2 to 1.

Was it a better book than those others? I wouldn't make that claim. But by a combination of persistence, dedication, savvy, ingenuity, and skill, I was able to outmaneuver all comers and stay on top in Amazon sales.

In fact, by aiming at Amazon, I was able to sell close to 30% the number of copies sold by one of those nationally-distributed competitors including its bookstore sales. And because the profit from my publishing system is so high -- generally half or more of the cover price -- I was earning about twice as much in total as that author would make with a normal royalty.

Once you accept the premise "Forget bookstores," it's amazing how much murkiness is instantly cleared out of the business of self publishing. Consider these:

-- You don't have to design or commission a slick cover that will look at home on a bookstore shelf.

-- You don't have to persuade anyone to stock your book.

-- You don't have to allow "returns" -- copies sent back for refund when the bookseller won't wait longer to sell them.

-- And best of all, you don't have to sit alone behind a stack of books at a tiny table in a busy bookstore and try to look like you want to be there.

Now, this doesn't mean that your book will never be sold in a bookstore. In most cases, it will. When you aim at Amazon, some customers will request your book from local bookstores -- and most new channels for self publishing will make it easy for bookstores to get it. The difference is, if you follow the approach I most favor, those bookstores will obtain the book on your terms, not theirs.

Sound good? Keep reading, and I'll show you how to do it.
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Table of Contents

1 ~ AIMING AT AMAZON
Forget Bookstores
Print on Demand
Plan Your Route
Go to the Source
Ignore Amazon

2 ~ OPTIMIZING FOR AMAZON
Embrace the Possible
Research the Market
Optimize Your Title
Write a Great Book
Produce Your Pages
Craft Your Cover
Stick to a Format
Collect Comments

3 ~ ACCESSING AMAZON
Set Up Accounts
Find Resources
Make Contact
Look Up Your Profile
Keep Up with Change
Take the Express

4 ~ MARKETING ON AMAZON
Check Your Listing
Make Corrections
Add Your Content
Submit a Cover Image
Share Other Images
Suggest Tags
Classify Your Book
Get Customer Reviews
Connect with Readers
Explore More Options

5 ~ MONITORING AMAZON
Watch Availability
Watch Sales Ranks
Watch Search Results
Watch Pairings
Watch Rivalries
Watch Customer Reviews
Watch Tags
Watch Other Content

6 ~ POINTING TO AMAZON
Channel Your Sales
Earn Commissions
Tame Your Links

7 ~ UPDATING FOR AMAZON
Refine Your Book
Refresh Your Content

8 ~ GLOBALIZING WITH AMAZON
Aim at Amazons
Optimize for Amazons
Access Amazons
Market on Amazons
Monitor Amazons
Point to Amazons

APPENDIX
The Kindle
Amazon Vendors
The Book Depository
Self Publishing Terms
Amazon Etiquette
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Comparing "Aiming at Amazon" and "Sell Your Book on Amazon"

    I'd like to review "Aiming at Amazon" (ISBN-10: 093849743X, ISBN-13: 978-0938497431) by Aaron Shepard and "Sell Your Book on Amazon" (ISBN-10: 1432701967, ISBN-13: 9781432701963) by Brent Sampson together. There are people who love "Aiming at Amazon" but hate "Sell Your Book on Amazon," and vice versa.

    First of all, I'd like to say both books are extremely well-written, you should buy both of them, but they are not for exactly the same market:

    Brent's book is more for an author who want to focus on writing and marketing his own book and let someone else deal with cover design, typesetting, and Lighting Source, etc. Aaron's book is more for people who not only want to writing and marketing his own book, but also want to become a publisher himself, i.e., deal with the wholesaler, Lighting Source, and also do his own typesetting and design his own book cover, etc. You'll learn from Aaron's book that it is NOT very hard to become a POD publisher yourself, as long as you want to invest the time. I personally do NOT have the time to learn and become a POD publisher myself, at least for now, because I barely have enough time to finish writing the books that I am working on.

    Overall, Brent's book is stronger in coaching you how to do marketing, it energizes you and makes you want to take action; Aaron's book is very strong on the technical aspect of all the nuts and bolts that you need to know about Amazon, it is more relax and cool in style. You definitely need to use you own judgment, and adapt what you learn from both books to you specific situation. The methods in both books work. Just do not overdo and abuse them...

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I wish we'd had this book three years ago

    Three years ago, my son wrote a book and got it published. It was a really good technical book but completely failed to sell - in the first two years he sold about 30 copies.

    A few months ago, this book came up in conversation with one of my friends who was self publishing his own book. He highly recommended it so I bought a copy.

    Using this book as a guide, my son and I are now redoing his book, getting it published through a different publishing company and getting everything right that we got wrong three years ago.

    Meanwhile, we managed to get the existing book listed properly on Amazon for the first time: my son sold 120 copies of his book last month, and so far this month he's sold another 70.

    The new book will be launched in September, based on what we've learnt through experience and through this book, this time it will be a MASSIVE success.

    Aaron writes brilliantly. I only wish we'd known about this book three years ago.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2007

    LOOK HERE First time authors!

    The book gave step by step instructions on how to get my book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. It is that thorough. First, I read some more general books on publishing, then I read both Perfect Pages and Aiming at Amazon by Aaron Shepard. I actually anxiously waited for this book to come out. Both are great, but what's even better is the e-mail updates I have gotten from the author updating me on the latest information! Even though the books are more directed at writing 'how to' books, they were still perfect for me. Perfect even though I wrote a biography set in WWII Europe. I did not take all the advice offered, but by reading these books I felt like I was able to make informed decisions. I cannot thank the author enough for this invaluable information.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    A reviewer

    In his latest book, Aiming at Amazon, Aaron Shepard proposes a revolutionary way to easily self publish your non-fiction work and market it successfully. No, this is not one of those books that will teach you how to become an instant Amazon Bestseller. What Shepard suggests is much more ingenious. While becoming an instant bestseller may appear glamorous, the effect of this marketing trick lasts little compared to a real bestseller with good steady sales over a long period of time. Furthermore, the author¿s innovative technique includes ignoring¿yes, totally disregarding¿bookstores. With this plan, your aim will be selling your book via Amazon only. While this method may appear a little extreme, there¿s a beautiful simplicity to it. Shepard demystifies distributors and wholesalers and offers you a practical, step-by-step plan on how to become your own small press, print your book, and sell it to the public via Amazon. He explains why it¿s important to stay away from subsidy companies that use print on demand, and he takes you right to the POD printer itself¿Lightning Source¿saving you an infinite amount of money in the process. Some of the topics discussed include: choosing POD for printing your books, researching the market, designing and layout, cover design, setting up accounts with Lightning Source and Amazon, Amazon marketing tactics, and getting reviews, among others. In sum, everything you need to know to become your own press and start selling your book online. Whether you live in the US or in another part of the world, this is an important book to read if you plan on self publishing a non-fiction book, as Shepard also offers valuable information for those living abroad. Written in Shepard¿s friendly style, Aiming at Amazon is a must read for anybody who is considering self publishing without too much hassle or expenses.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    Excellent Guide to Self Publishing & Using Print on Demand Publishing

    If you've been struggling to find a way to publish your book, this is the perfect guide for the first time publisher. Written in a conversational style, Shepard details the specifics of print on demand publishing, then goes on to outline various methods you can use not just on Amazon but other online bookseller sites. It's a great overview of the process and gives you just enough information to inform, but not overwhelm. My only recommendation for this book is to go a little further into the various programs, but that's difficult as Amazon is frequently changing their web site. I did however, appreciate the examples of how graphics and photos look using print on demand technologies. If you're considering self publishing a book, or becoming a small publisher it's a must read. He helps you understand the process, the pitfalls and how you can become profitable using a unique marketing method of aiming most of your energies towards Amazon, and not traditional bookstores. Few people starting out realize traditional bookstores are not the places you should be 'aiming' your time and attention to. Rather Amazon and others make it far easier for the small publisher / author to reach sales success. I'd recommend reading this book AFTER you've read all the rest, but before you're ready to upload your book to the Print on Demand company you plan to use. I first read Dan Poynter's Self Publishing Manual, followed by the very realistic, 'must read' Print-On-Demand Book Publishing by Morris Rosenthal, and ended my 'three course meal of self publishing books' with Aiming at Amazon. The three combined help you fully understand the process, what really happens in the real world of print on demand publishing and how people truly are making major sales success with techniques just recently available to small publishers. --One caveat! This book does not go into any detail about how to quickly get 'a single day's high ranking' on Amazon by having all your friends buy your book on the same day. You won't find such 'fad tricks' in this book, just solid advice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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