I learned that when selling your book(s) on Amazon dot-com, the most important thing to have is customer reviews. Potential customers who haven’t heard of you before will look at those reviews and ratings when they’re deciding to purchase.
However, I was under the impression that for someone to review your book on Amazon, they had to purchase it through Amazon. Not so! To write a customer review, one needs an Amazon account (a login and password). That’s it. So you can ask people who have acquired your book through other means, like from a local bookstore, or as a gift from you, or whatever, to write a review for you.
Remember to be ethical about it: simply ask them to write a review. Don’t tell them what to say, or try to bribe them in any way. Obviously, they should have read it first. Most likely, if it is someone you know, they’ll be happy to give you a review and thus help spread the word about how awesome you are.
If you have any other tips about working with Amazon, or other online merchants, please leave them in a comment. I’m on a steep learning curve with book promotion, and I’ll continue to share what I learn.