Spending time in forums (fora) is a great way for Indie authors to sell ebooks, and there’s one e-publishing locale that immediately comes to mind: Amazon Kindle forum. The community there is divided into many discussion groups including Romance, Mystery, Fantasy and so on, as well as the main Kindle Forum where by far the most people frequent. In the recent past, Indies often promoted their books in the main Kindle Forum even though it was against Amazon’s TOS (terms of service). Over time this special community section turned into a spectacle of “snark” and “snarkiness” with readers and authors routinely taking shots at each other in cyberspace. After enough justified complaints from readers, Amazon created a distinct forum just for Indie authors to promote their books and for readers to meet the authors, not surprisingly called Meet Our Authors.
The Meet Our Authors forum is the place set aside by Amazon for Indie writers to blatantly (or shamelessly) promote their ebooks/paperbacks and even leave links to websites or blogs. Fortunately, it’s a safe haven where Indies can feel free to promote/spam without worrying about the consequences of breaking the rules and being turned in, which can result in loss of privileges. Unfortunately, it can be hard to stand out when everyone is shouting, “Me, me, me, here’s my book, look at my book, buy my book!” It’s like being one voice in thousands and seeing who can cry out the loudest, not exactly how a respectable, self-published author wants to present herself/himself.
Introduce yourself along with your genre or subject matter. The thread title is all readers and other authors (who also read, by the way) will see among the list of topics to decide if they want to click on yours and read more. Instead of simply having an introductory thread that reads, Meet The Author – Jane Special, it’s better to include something that tips off the subject or genre like, Meet Jane Special – Fitness Guru for Chocolate and Junk Food Lovers. That bit of elaboration will get a lot more clicks and by people already drawn to the subject. Then in the thread Jane can post more info about her book, why she wrote it and a mention for anyone with questions/comments to join the discussion, which will hopefully continue for days and weeks.
An alternative to a direct introduction is to begin a thread on a certain subject covered in your book. For example, in my novel The Little Universe, one of the main themes is the abundance of life that exists throughout the cosmos, that we are certainly not alone. So I created a thread topic by this title, Abundant Life in the Universe? This way, instead of just being a promo for my book, it’s an open discussion for anyone with interest or opinions on alien life, other worlds, the mysteries of the universe and more. Both readers and other authors can chime in and even mention other books with similar themes. Remember you can always add a Product Link to send interested readers directly to the Amazon page for your Kindle ebook or paperback.
Create a fun/interesting theme just to connect with new people. Part of forum networking is simply participating with the crowd and getting to know each other. When you’re constantly selling yourself or a product, that can come across as being pushy and unattractive. A completely different approach is just to make a fun or interesting thread as a chance for people to share input and get to know one another. In the past I created a thread based on the concept of Gilligan’s Island after Amazon banished all the Indie authors to one forum. It was a fun way to let go of some concerns with the new forum arrangement, and it turned into a good time with input from both readers and authors without any promotions. I’ve also recently created a Tell us a Joke thread for people to share humorous stories, again just with the thought of networking and getting to know other people. (Feel free to visit those threads and leave a comment or joke, although I think Amazon deleted one of mine for deeming it dirty. Whoops.)
Bump your own threads from time to time. Over the days, new posts appear at the top of the forum board and constantly push older posts down the pile. In just a day or two, your threads may appear as far back as four to ten pages deep on the thread list. Then it may never get seen by newcomers and brought back to the first page. When this happens, you can always leave a new comment at the end to “bump” the thread back to the beginning of the entire list. You should only do this occasionally as it will appear odd if you’re the only person commenting on the thread to keep it alive, as if you enjoy talking with yourself or will stoop to any level for self-promotion.
Other ideas on ways to use the Meet The Authors forum at Amazon Kindle? Share them here with comments.
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