Amazon Forum Discussions

success_1405379462-150x150As authors and writers we are always on the lookout for more ways to bring eyes, and then buyers, to our work. Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t have hours and hours a day to spend on all the sites out there to try and find those elusive readers and buyers.

Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a discussion on Amazon about my first book, Back From Chaos. It came about from another discussion held on Facebook with members of a group I belong to. When it was my turn, I decided that, instead of holding the discussion on Facebook, where only a few friends would see it, I would use the discussion feature on Amazon. It was surprisingly easy.

First, the “How To”. Find your book on Amazon.com. Scroll down past your reviews (you know, all those five star raves) and look for “Forums”. There you will see the option to set up a discussion, with a date and time. Easy-peasy.  I found this feature on the UK site as well, but not the Canadian one. You may want to check the one you most commonly use to make sure the feature is there.

Now all you need to do is round up some fans to ask questions and/or add comments. Ask friends who have read your book if they would join in. At least some participants should be familiar with the book but I really think it could be beneficial if others are not. Those will generate different kinds of questions. After all, the goal is to create interest and garner new readers. If you wish to have a larger group you could offer them a complimentary copy of the book beforehand so they can prepare.  My group was small. The next time I try this I will make an effort to have more folks join in. This one was an experiment and I have learned a few things from it.

I found that a one hour period was enough but my group was small so you may want to extend the time as needed.  You will know when it’s time to close as the conversation will slow down.

Here’s the link to my Amazon discussion, small as it is. There is no need to read it but it will give you an idea of the kinds of questions you might get. I thought a couple were quite interesting. It might also get you thinking about questions you could ask about your book that will get the ball rolling, or indeed get it back on track if discussion flags or takes a turn you are not happy with. It is, after all, your forum. You have a measure of control. This can be important as there is the potential that it could backfire if someone is bent on making trouble for you.

I found having a question of my own to start things off really helped. It prevented generic comments like “I loved it, it was great”, which are not helpful. What you want is questions and comments that will generate interest in your book beyond what is already on your blurb and in the reviews. Anyone looking for a new read may hesitate and these extra tidbits gleaned from the conversation could nudge them into taking the plunge.

The obvious question is, “Did it generate sales?”  Not that I can see at this point. On the other hand a few people have now read the book that might not otherwise have done so. They liked it. My hope is that they will want to read other books I have written. But that’s not what I look for from this. I take a longer view. This forum will be on Amazon permanently. That means that anyone looking at the site has access to the discussion. In my opinion it has more potential to entice new readers than participation in writers’ groups on other media sites like Facebook. Why? Because we want to reach readers, not only writers. Most of those other groups are populated by writers. The forum can serve the same function a review does.

Besides, it was fun. It’s an hour or two of time well spent, discussing something you are passionate about in a place you need not keep returning to, as you must with social media.

Author: Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, with degrees in psychology and Sociology. Her Fantasy trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received. Learn more about Yvonne at her blog and her Amazon author page.

43 thoughts on “Amazon Forum Discussions”

  1. I rather like the sound of this Yvonne. Do you think it would help if you timed the discussion with a freebie promotion or something?

  2. Yvonne, I think this sounds like a great idea with lots of potential. I think AC’s idea of coupling it with a promo is super. I like the idea that it’s open to all (instead of just to friend as on FB), and that it stays up after the event is over. I’m going to have to do some heavy-duty thinking about this and see what I can work up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Canada doesn’t have it. Canada never has it. Amazon extends their features to every other country in the world, but Canada is always left until the last minute.

    An important missing tool is “Look inside”. I switched to the Amazon.ca site for a while, but I’m back on Amazon.com. [SIGH]

    Unfortunately, if you begin a discussion on Amazon.com, it’s there but not on Amazon.co.uk. Amazon shows reviews from the .com site in other countries. I’d like to see them do the same with discussions.

  4. Yvonne: You wrote: “Find your book on Amazon.com. Scroll down past your reviews (you know, all those five star raves) and look for “Forums”. There you will see the option to set up a discussion, with a date and time. Easy-peasy. I found this feature on the UK site.”
    I must be dumber than a rock, because I could not find ‘forums’. Do I have to be inside Author Central? Or signed in to KDP?

    1. Jackie, I found it under “More about the author” and “other items customers buy” which are under the reviews. Maybe scroll down a bit more…

  5. No. just find your book on Amazon. It should show up under all the reviews. Which country’s site are you looking at? The Canadian one doesn’t have that feature.

    1. USA. But! I didn’t scroll down far enough. I did somehow find forums where I could start a blog and I did. I’m waiting now for moderation. I prolly skewed it, as usual. A learning experience.

      Thanks Yvonne

  6. I participated in Yvonne’s forum discussion and found it very interesting and informative. I think it is a wonderful idea and plan on trying it. The discussion may be a very handy tool to spark interest in a particular book when you are doing a big promo or sale.

  7. Excellent, Yvonne. And intriguing. I will be looking into this and thanks for the heads up. 🙂

  8. Thank you, Yvonne. I checked out your discussion. Great questions and answers. We don’t have that or the look inside feature in Aussieland either.

    1. Oh, that’s too bad, Dale. I did check the UK site and it has it, but aside from Canada, which does not, I didn’t check all the other sites.

      Yes, I thought there were some good questions, too, which is what made it fun.

      1. I subscribe and get their emails. I’m more interested in their articles of advice than posting my own. That’s because if anyone followed my advice, they’d be in deep trouble.

          1. I don’t know anyone who has submitted to Funds for Writers so I don’t know if anyone has been paid. They say they pay through Paypal or by check. If you haven’t yet gone to their site, it’s http://www.fundsforwriters.com. Click on Submissions on their dashboard. On their home page they offer a yearly magazine for $15 but you don’t need to take it to submit. Below the offer are the published articles which you can click on and read.

    1. Forgot to mention that if you post an article with them, they pay less if it’s been published before, like on IU, but it’s nice to know that you can earn something by recycling.

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