Guide for Indie Authors to Market Paperbacks on Amazon using Author Marketing Services

So, you are an indie author who has spent a lot of time writing your book and you released the kindle version on KDP. That's a great start, but you went the extra mile and also released a paperback version (using either KDP Print, CreateSpace, or IngramSpark, right?). Way to go, and you deserve a lot of applause because that isn't an easy thing to do. However, don't applaud yourself for too long, because you've only just begun.

Marketing a book is arguably as important as writing it. There are countless astonishingly good books out that there that have sold less than a dozen books ever, and there are countless more horribly bad books that have sold millions of copies. What separates them? Marketing.

However, herein lies the problem: how do you sell your paperback book on Amazon when KDP only allows you to market your e-book?

Sign up for a Selling Account

The good news is that you can do it. You can get access to the AMS features that you might not even know exist. The problem is that KDP forces you into an 'author-only' version of Amazon Marketing Services that only gives you access to a couple of features that have been vetted for you, and they hide the rest away for other marketers. This makes marketing your paperback almost impossible and puts you into a pool throwing away your money along with other indie authors. Sure, you can do great with KDP's marketing services, but wouldn't you like more?

The trick is to become an Amazon seller in addition to being a KDP author. The good news is that you can use the same account and be both. Amazon has multiple selling methods and KDP is only one of them, and through KDP your account gets forced over into a specific tuned version of Amazon Marketing Services for KDP only. 

Each Amazon Marketing Services account exists as an ENTITY. Keep this in mind because it is a pretty important concept toward selling your paperback.When an entity is created it gets linked to your account. KDP marketing services creates an ENTITY for you, and the url looks like this:

if you log into your KDP marketing account, it will have some trailing number for the entity. When you made your account, that entity was assigned, and that entity takes you to your dashboard to run ads.

Make a New Entity

How do you bypass that, then? It isn't actually that hard. If you open a vendor or seller account outside of KDP (Vendor Express is an option if you aren't sure where to start) you can create a new marketing services entity as an Amazon seller. The difference is that this entity won't be locked to your KDP account and books. You don't actually need to sell products to get an account.

The catch? If you use the same amazon account to create this new entity that you used for your KDP entity, then clicking on AMS will always default to sending you to the entity of your other KDP AMS account when you log in. The KDP version (for reasons only Amazon knows) actually removes the links to swap entities.

However, if you save the entity URL for this new AMS account you created (bookmark it) then you can go directly to the new entity anytime you are logged in (this entity will even show you a list of other entities and let you jump directly over to your KDP entity ... however, once you are on your KDP entity it still won't give you a similar path back to your amazon entity ... they removed the 'switch entities' option for authors, so you need that bookmark!).

Market Your Books

You can do a lot of cool things when you are on this vendor entity of AMS, including some new options that authors don't normally see. It still has product display ads and sponsored ads, but also header ads where you can market a landing page of books you want to promote. Basically, with this option you can pick 3-6 of your books and your ad will show in the placement when people first search a term. When they see the list of results on the page, yours is at the top as a full length bar featuring three of your cover images and a tag line.

More importantly, it also *dun, dun, dun* let's you promote your paperback books (which KDP doesn't). You can't promote audiobooks through this, though, but that's only a small limitation. It actually lets you promote just about anything, but I'm guessing you only want to promote your stuff! Another feature is that you can just build a blanket sponsored ad that uses automatic targeting and then add all of your books. No more creating twenty ads to promote twenty books: now one ad can do it all! There are more features (such as enhanced bidding) that you can play around with as well.

One last catch with this route: you no longer get to add the little blurb text to your ads since this system builds ads more generically. you also can't microtarget as well as the KDP version (genre specific) which means when picking categories you have less options. You are using the centralized amazon marketing system now and not the KDP enhanced version just for authors, so it has both more and less features available.

That's it! Go out and market your books!

Lincoln Cole

Lincoln Cole is a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

He has won multiple literary awards for his novels. He has also been a bestseller in multiple different categories.