What is the Number One Task Indie Authors Fail To Do?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 07•16

What is the number one task indie authors fail to do?

We are a week into the New Year and if your mail box is like mine, it is in a frenzy with indie service providers and promoters begging for your $$$. This before we have even earned five cents in 2016. Hand over your money, honey and we’ll show you how to get more readers, more reviews and spy on your competition. None of which will actually sell books.

Here is a list of tasks many indie authors don’t do. Not in any particular order but none is the number one overlooked task.

  • Fail to link book covers to a buy page.
  • Fail to make at least two mentions of a title in a blog a live link to a buy page.
  • Fail to allow comments on blog pages.
  • Fail to have visible Share buttons on blogs and webpages.
  • Fail to network with like-minded authors.
  • Fail to use bitly or another short book link when posting on Facebook pages.
  • Fail to use Hootsuite or another twitter helper to schedule tweets or auto retweet.
  • Fail to promote wisely.
  • Fail to hire professional editors or cover artists.
  • Fail to correct minor mishaps in their books.

The NUMBER ONE  task most indie authors fail to do is: Master Amazon.

Visit any Facebook page supporting indie authors and you will see a raft of questions about Amazon…Golly! ASK AMAZON. Most indie authors don’t study, check out or even read their Amazon book pages. Some sites are still encouraging ‘Like my bio page’  on Amazon. ‘Like’ an Amazon author page was replaced last year with ‘Follow’ beneath the author’s photo. If a reader follows an author on Amazon, when the author launches a new title, Amazon sends a dedicated email to those followers. That is huge.

On your print edition book page below the first page of reviews is this:  Set Up an Amazon Giveaway.

Cover No Perfect Destiny

Amazon Giveaway~ January 2016. Four units–every 35th entrant won the print edition. Snagged 168 new followers on Amazon. Happy Dance.

Until a month or so ago, entrants were asked to follow the author on Twitter. I emailed Amazon and said: Hey! I spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to send readers to my book buy pages on Amazon…and Amazon offers a giveaway that sends the entrant to Twitter? Are you kidding me? That marketing director eats stupid for breakfast! Fire the sucker. Somebody listened. Now authors have a choice–entrants can follow on Twitter or Amazon. IMO Tweets don’t sell books–very nice for exposure. Also, an entrant is less likely to unfollow on Amazon.

Here’s the thing: You can’t kill Amazon by exploring everything on your book page inside KDP.  You will hear: Amazon is vague about the new rules for reviews. No, it is not. It is clear as a bell. Reviews garnered via a paid book blog tour may not be posted except in Editorial. Paid and traded reviews may be posted in Editorial on the book page via Author Central. Read Amazon’s Terms of Service. If you don’t understand anything…ask Amazon to clarify. You can alway ask that your query be booted to a second tier responder. I do.

Once you upload a book on Amazon, use the proofing tool right there on line. You can see if your book is formatted correctly and find those misspelled words or dropped articles such as of, the, a or an. Often overlooked: Their/There/they’re. If Amazon tells you it found errors, check to see if so. Sometimes Amazon does not recognize a foreign word. If it is an error, repair it ASAP.

Do not ignore emails from Amazon. This happened recently. An indie author moved all of her books into Select. She failed to remove a few from another sales venue. Amazon pulled her account and all of her books. The author now has to wait an entire year to reinstate her account. Oops.  Tip: If you are removing books from other sales venues to enroll in Select, double-check the books are NOT on those venues before enrolling the books in Amazon Select.

Few indie authors use the Share buttons on their Amazon book pages. When  eNovel members have a new title, or a book in promotion, I always tick those share buttons on Amazon. Here is a tip: You can edit those Tweets. Add #FREE, add SALE! Add Superb! Add a hashtag. Easily done.

Snipit Amazon envelop

Find the Share buttons on the lower right hand side of your book page. See that envelope? Open it and a nice short link for your book appears. So easy to use. Copy and paste when you are promoting your book on Facebook pages. There are now one million books available for Kindle Unlimited and Prime subscribers. For success in 2016 we must use all of the tools we can to get our books visible.  Start with Amazon. Promote Wisely. Review your book description. Tweak it. Consider a new cover. Keep those reviews coming in: Put this gem right after THE END in your book…

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Inside Author Central, build an interesting Author bio page. A wealth of tips here. The do’s and don’t’s. Here is what I know: Only one percent of indie authors reading this blog will tick the links to learn ehow. For a blog on Amazon Select and KENP,  go here.  Yep, it is time consuming to read this stuff…but it is the only way to become a savvy indie author. Did I mention that there are now one million books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited? That is a nice selection of books for readers. It is up to the us to use every tool available to get the reader’s eyes on our books. The best place to start is learning to use all the tools Amazon provides for an indie author.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Be my new BFF–follow me on Amazon. Just tick my picture. Thank you! Next tick the back arrow top left corner on the TAB bar and you will come right back here. That is the way links are supposed to work.

Wishing you and yours a prosperous and successful New Year.  For extra good luck or to ward off bad luck or no luck at all, save all of your pennies and spare change in the kitchen. Works for me.  A savvy indie author told me I need to add something to my posts so readers find me human and engaging. Okay. I despise doing interviews. Here is why: I don’t ride in rodeos, I don’t bungee jump, I don’t sing or dance or act in community theatre. I was once a Go-Go girl…and filled in for Jayne Mansfield when she couldn’t make the show in the nightclub I cleaned for extra $$$. I was so skinny I looked like a leafless twig. Past glory. I wash clothes, take out the trash, cook when I’m hungry. Boring.  I write romance books. That is all I do.

Comments welcome and if you have a tip for indie authors, please share it. We learn from one another.  When time permits, do visit our author pages. We have some stunning books for your reading pleasure.  Sign up for our newsletter. It is always full of FREE and discounted books and new releases. Sometimes special events and Rafflecopters. No spamming. It will land in your mailbox 9 or 10 times a year.

@Copyright 2016 by Jackie Weger




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  1. Another great article, Jackie. I suspect new indie authors are just so overwhelmed by everything they have to do that they overlook the easy bits. A huge learning curve but not that hard to master. Time, patience and learning all you can. That’s why this site is a goldmine.

  2. Susan Tarr says:

    Well, 5 out of 10 isn’t too bad. But then again, it is far from good. I shall work on the other 5. Many thanks Jackie.

  3. I learn something new every time I reads your posts.

  4. P.C. Zick says:

    Hi Jackie, I’m relieved to see I’m only guilty of two of the “fail to do” list. I’m working on those and appreciate your helpful guidance in learning the best way to promote my books. Thanks!

  5. Mike Markel says:

    Thanks for these great tips, Jackie. Very useful, as usual.

  6. EM Kaplan says:

    Learning every day here! Thanks for the tips. Massive help as always.


  7. Julia Hughes says:

    Hi Jackie – I’m your newest BFF & am certainly going to ask my site visitors to follow me as an Amazon author. Great advice esp. in respect of Amazon’s built in proof reading programme. I’m guilty of never even looking to see what errors they’ve detected/suspect. It gets worse. A kind reader deducted a half star and so downgraded a five star review to four stars & actually pointed out where I’d used ‘baulk’ instead of ‘balk’. That was over two years ago & still haven’t gone back into the files to correct… something I’m about to rectify now!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks for sharing and commenting, Julia Hughes. I get it that it is annoying to dive back into a mss, repair errors and upload it again. Golly, hug that reader who pointed out a misused word/spelling. But consider this: Early on when Kindle was a new electronic innovation and indie books were just making an appearance, readers were tolerant of errors. Now, readers are not tolerant. Especially readers new to Kindles–those readers have been reading legacy print editions. Our books must measure up. We don’t have to produce a best seller–just a nice read that entertains.

  8. Thanks for your wise tips and advice, Jackie.

  9. TJ Shortt says:

    Smart advice as always! Thanks for sharing.

  10. All so true, Jackie. I fail to use Hootsuite–and, apparently, I fail to promote wisely. The rest I’ve tackled as best I can. Thanks for the helpful reminders. Pinned & shared. 🙂

  11. Traci Hall says:

    Jackie, thanks for sharing. My goal for this year is to understand every nuance of Amazon. It makes so much sense to get readers to follow on Amazon so that they get the notice when a new book is out…you’re very far from boring 🙂

  12. Lu J Whitley says:

    Excellent advice, as always! Thanks Jackie 🙂

  13. Pete Barber says:

    Great tips, Jackie. I hadn’t understood how to use the Amazon links. I just tried them. I do now! Thanks . . . Pete

  14. Mary Smith says:

    Thanks, Jackie. I didn’t know about the wee envelope on the Amazon book page. Well, I knew it was there but I’d never clicked on it. I have now! 🙂

  15. Thank you so much, Jackie, for posting this blog post. I learned some new things in this very informative post! I was not aware of the share buttons that are on the Amazon book pages and that is a really important promotional tool. Our business is constantly changing, and you are always helping us to stay current. Blessings to you, Roberta

  16. Very important stuff here. Much thanks, Jackie!

  17. Mimi Babour says:

    Hi Jackie, Thanks for the great tips. I’m having a problem about the author who got her books taken off of KDP because she forgot she still had some listed on other venues. I’ve always gotten a notice from KDP and they give an author 5 days. I guess if you don’t bother opening your e-mails daily, something like this could happen. So I’d add another to the “Fail” list. Fail to keep up with the daily onslaught of e-mails 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Mimi Barbour: You are exactly right. The author ignored those emails from Amazon…she did not admit that…and gathered some sympathy from those who do not know better. So made Amazon seem the Big Bad Wolf. We know better. Appreciate you giving me the opportunity to clarify the point. Just tweeted Find Me Home from Amazon.

  18. Donna Fasano says:

    Thank goodness, my failure rate is small. I love Author Central and spend time there every week, sprucing up my book descriptions, editorial reviews, etc. Thanks, Jackie for this GREAT blog post!

  19. Laurie Boris says:

    Excellent ideas—thank you, Jackie! Right now I’m taking a hard look at all my Amazon descriptions. There’s something new on the Amazon book pages, too, right below the sharing icons. You can grab the “embed” code and post a preview to your web page. Can’t wait to try that out.

  20. So much work and research you have done so we don’t have to. Thanks Jackie, this is a post to bookmark for sure.

  21. Dale Furse says:

    Thanks, Jackie. The learning never stops that’s for sure, but articles such as this help cement what we should be doing. I love the follow feature on Amazon. 🙂


    Ha, see? I remembered another thing you have taught me.

  22. Dougie McHale says:

    Thank you Jackie, so much good advice here. I only published my debut novel six months ago and I find your advice invaluable as I’m still navigating the do’s and don’ts but with your insights it makes this journey so less bumpy.

  23. Great tips for newbies, Jackie. An excellent list of things so many overlook. Indeed, it pays to complain. How cheeky of Amazon to take the authors’ money and give them Twitter as opposed to Amazon follows! Boy, are you full of surprises – a Go Go girl substituting for Jayne Mansfield? I wish you’d sit and write your autobiography one day – I’d be the first to buy it!

  24. Oh my gosh. I learned so much from this. I am one of the 1% I guess, because I checked out everything! Thanks for sharing this. You are one in a million.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Well, Gosh! Hello, Kayelle Allen, owner of Romance Lives Forever Blogspot. Nice to see you. I noticed your sweet Romance for Christmas stayed in
      Top 100 in the Kindle Store for a couple months +. Congratulations!
      Happy this post was of some use to you.
      Best, from
      Jackie Weger

  25. Thanks for the great advice Jackie 🙂

  26. I read your post, Jackie, and was impressed.

    So much energy!

    I have none – so I’m going back to writing, with the internet blocked, and wait for miracles.

    If and when Books 2 and 3 are ready, maybe I can do 1/100th of what you do.

    Any new tips for those of us who physically CAN’T do all that? I promise to give Amazon first priority when I get a bit ahead.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for stopping by, Alicia. If ignoring the Internet to write suits you, go for it. I’m all for author choice. Not a thing wrong with that at all.

      In part, what motivated this article are all of the complaints I hear from indies on blogs and in forums that their books don’t sell. If we have a webpage, it needs to work for the book. We need to master Amazon and any other venue we put our books on for sale. We need to learn how to promote wisely. If a successful writing career is our goal, we need to know how to go about it. Every author has his or her own agenda. I respect those choices.

  27. Rosie Dean says:

    Excellent checklist, Jackie. I think I’m okay on all of the above, but my biggest failure is NOT writing a regular blog. (Ducks to avoid swipe of hand.)

    If only I could buy time, write faster, think quicker…(I agree with Alicia above – boy, I’d like your energy and vision, Jackie!)

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