Do you have a book on Amazon or getting ready to publish one? I’m sure you want your work to rise through the ranks and quickly become a #1 bestseller. But, how do you guarantee that this will happen? You don’t just want to publish your book and hope for the best. You need a plan of attack on how to make sure that your novel reaches as many readers as possible. Here you will find a game plan to help you reach your goals for your book and its sales. The simple steps below will get you thinking about what and when you need to do the steps necessary to reach #1 bestseller status with each one of your book projects. So, let’s get started with your journey to #1 Bestselling status. There is also a short YouTube video on Amazon publishing for you to watch before you get into the details of the articles. I hope you enjoy and use what you learn😉
How I Became an Amazon Best Selling Author and How You Can Too
by Sue Dunlevie
Like many writers, I dreamed of writing a book for many years before I actually did it. So, when I started reading articles about how self-publishing was taking off and how blogging was helping writers to grow their audience, I decided my time had finally come. In January 2010 I started Powered by Intuition for creating an audience for my books.
When I released my first book on Amazon, to my amazement it became a best-selling book and still is. I released my second book and that one became a best-selling book too. I’ve just released my third book The Intuition Principle: How to Attract the Life You Dream Of – which is my first print book. The Kindle version of my new book is now an Amazon best-selling book as well although, this time it wasn’t a surprise to me. By now, I’d figured out how to “lather, rinse and repeat.”
Amazon has their own way of determining Kindle best sellers and updates sales statistics every hour. They call it the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store list. To have a best-selling book on Amazon your book must be among the Top 100 Paid Kindle books in its category in the Kindle store.
Follow these tips to place your book in a place to sell well on Amazon.
How to Become an Amazon Best Selling Author
1. Use keywords in your title related to your blog’s niche.
Research other titles in your book’s genre among books that are on the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store list. To find a Kindle book’s sales rank on Amazon – scroll down and look for “Product Information.” If the book is in the “top 100” it will be given a sales rank for its categories. If it’s not in the top 100 no sales rank will appear in “Product Information.”
Notice whether the top books in your book category all contain the same “keyword” or phrase. Use the Amazon “type ahead” feature (the search bar on their site) and type in your keyword or phrase and you’ll notice how it “types ahead” suggesting book titles for you. “Type ahead” phrases result from many people searching for a particular title. Incorporate that phrase or keyword into your title and your book will be found more easily on Amazon.
2. Have your book professionally edited.
Books full of typos, awkward sentences, and grammatical errors are returned for a refund more often. Amazon rarely questions a return so do whatever you can to avoid that. The money you spend on professional editing is well worth it.
3. Pay to have your book formatted properly.
Amazon Kindle books look best with “Mobi” formatting. While you can upload a book to Kindle in a Word document it may not lay out properly, so do not skimp on paying to have your book formatted.
4. Create an attractive cover.
People do judge a book by its cover. When you go to Amazon, the first thing to attract your attention is the cover. To create a good cover, spend some time browsing books in the same genre as your book. Pick the top 10 or 15 selling books and study their covers. Look at the typography, the layout, and the color choices and take notes. You’ll come away with some excellent ideas for your own book.
5. Choose the right category for your book.
Categorizing books lets readers search for the topics they are interested in. Amazon leaves it to you to categorize your book when you upload it to your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.
To help readers find your book ask yourself this question, “If I were looking for my book, what categories would I look under?” Then list all the categories you think your book might fit into.
Next, research the top ten to 20 books selling on Amazon which are like yours. Check out how they categorized their books under “Product Information” and categorize yours similarly. Amazon allows you to choose two category paths. Make sure you take advantage of this and fill in both.
Drill down on the categories so that your book will stand out from its competition. For example, if you write a self-help book – don’t end the category path at “self-help.” What else is your book about? Add another related category sub-path beyond “self-help” to your book and then another until you’ve covered every possible sub-genre of your book might be searched for under.
6. Pick the right keywords.
When you upload your book to KDP you are given up to seven keywords or phrases to use for your book. Do your homework by researching keywords and phrases that people might search under to find your book. And do make sure to use all seven!
Use the type-ahead feature on Amazon to see if any of the keywords or phrases you have in mind come up. Use the ones that come up on Amazon as they directly relate to on-site searches for books.
Check out popular keyword searches on Google AdWords too but, use these only if necessary after you’ve exhausted all the keywords and phrases you found on Amazon first. Amazon is its own search engine so when you identify a keyword or phrase on Amazon it is showing up because it is a popular search – so use it. (You can also go back and change keywords. This allows you to experiment with what works best for finding your book.)
7. Write a good description.
Amazon gives you up to 3000 words to write a description. Use as many words as necessary to write a compelling description for your book. This is your book’s “sales page” so put on your copywriting hat when you write it.
8. Price it right.
People will not buy an overpriced digital book unless you are a famous author. If your book is less than 100 pages don’t price yourself out of a sale by listing it in the top price range ($9.99) for getting a 70 percent royalty on Amazon.
After playing around with the pricing on my books I found that “less is more” in terms of book sales.
9. To give your book away or to not give your book away – that is the question.
Amazon has a program called Kindle Select. You enroll your book for 90 days at a time. You cannot be selling this book on any other websites including your own during the time your book is enrolled.
Enrolling your book in KDP Select allows “borrowing” of your book for free by Amazon Prime members. It also gives you the option of choosing 5 days out of the 90 days your book is enrolled to give your book away for free.
I enrolled my second book in KDP and gave away 464 free copies over two days. The book also rose to #1 in Free books in the Kindle store but, as soon as it wasn’t free it quickly sank right off the best-selling list. Before I gave it away for free the book was selling just fine and consistently ranking between #10 -20. It took nearly two weeks for it to rise back up again and to re-appear on the best-selling list.
My theory is that I saturated my market too quickly. I’m not likely to give my book away for free again. You may feel differently though and you should experiment with this. Some people love it and rave about it. If you are using your book to develop leads for your business and not to create passive income then definitely go for it. “Free” does sell.
10. Get reviews.
Give your book out to people and ask them to read it and please put a review on Amazon. Amazon reviews to help sell your books. Never ever pay for reviews. All reviews must be genuine and come from the heart of your reader.
11. Promote your book!
Display your book prominently on your blog. Write posts related to your book’s topic where you can showcase the book. Link to your book on Amazon and put that link in your posts. Start a fan page on Facebook and promote your book there. If your book is selling – thank buyers by tweeting on Twitter and a posting on Facebook. If your book hits the best-selling list – announce it on Facebook and Tweet about it. You’ve got to create your own buzz.
Organize a virtual book tour where your blogging friends can interview you about the book or review the book. Write guest posts related to your book’s topic and mention the book in your post.
Always keep your eyes open for ways to get publicity for your book. Offer to give away the PDF of the book to a reader who leaves the best comment about why they want to read the book and has shared the book on social media.
These are the strategies I use and they are working – and with a little effort and planning, they can work for your book too. Here’s to seeing your book on the Amazon Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store List!
How to Market Your Book on Amazon in 7 Easy Steps
Amazon is the #1 place for readers to discover books. Love ’em or hate ’em, Amazon is king, and your book needs to be listed there in order to get in front of readers. Marketing a book on Amazon is a very specific task and can be different from general book marketing, since you have to play by Amazon’s rules. Below are some key steps you need to take in order to learn how to market your book on Amazon.
1. Prepare your Book With a Good Cover and Professional Editing
Make sure your book is well-edited and has a good cover. Our data suggests that using a professional editor and cover designer is the way to go. Don’t know where to find cover designers or editors? Try a service like Reedsy where you can shop for the perfect person to help you. Want more data on what makes a good cover and a well edited book? Here’s some past articles on cover design and editing.
2. Setup your Metadata
Metadata is just a fancy phrase for ‘data about your book’. Amazon allows you to set the metadata when you setup your book through the KDP interface, so you’ll want to think about it before publishing. The easiest way to optimize your metadata is to make sure your book description is at least 100 words, and uses genre specific terms that people will be searching for. If you struggle with what to write, try using the if…then construct: “if you like suspenseful thrillers, then you’ll love this book” or “if you liked Gone Girl, then you’ll love this book”.
3. Get Reviews Before You Start Selling
Reviews are key to a book selling. On Amazon, some readers will completely ignore your book if it has zero reviews, because there will always be 5 other books for them to choose from. Getting the first early reviews is hard, but don’t get discouraged, and whatever you do, don’t cheat, Amazon will find out. You are permitted to politely ask people to review your book, but you can’t pay them to do it. One tried and true technique for getting reviews is to run a giveaway, gifting copies to the winners. Once the giveaway is over, you can politely ask the winners to review your book. There’s no guarantee that they will review it (or review it positively), but it’s a good way to get started. Sound like a pain? You can always have us do the legwork for you with our Giveaway Package.
4. Understand the Rankings Game
Amazon sales are all about rankings: The higher you rank in the Amazon popularity charts, the more new readers will discover your book. Nobody knows precisely how the Amazon ranking algorithm works, but we do know that it’s highly correlated with volume of sales over short periods of time. This means that in order to rise in the ranks, you need to try to sell lots of copies over a brief period of time. You cannot ‘game the system’ but understanding that high volumes of sales leads to better rankings can help you plan a successful marketing strategy.
5. Plan your Marketing for a 48 Hour Blitz
After #4, we know what you’re thinking: How do you sell lots of copies of your books in a short period of time? This is where you use the “stacking” strategy, namely, planning multiple promotional opportunities for your book at once. Many authors book promotions with services like Freebooksy or Bargain Booksy during a free or discount price promotion to spur a spike in sales. Readers subscribed to these services are always on the hunt for great, bargain reads, and a high volume of them will download your title if they find it appealing. Dont know where you should price your book during a promotion? We can help you with that. Once you have a price promotion scheduled, start stacking up other things you can do on that day: Post to social media; send an email to your list; and tell your friends and family.
On the day of your promotions, clear your schedule as much as you can. Make sure you can respond to social media inquiries from potential readers, or handle any last minute marketing decisions that you may need to make. Don’t expect to get a lot of writing done on these days, as marketing should be the priority. In addition to sales of the book you are promoting, you should see what we call ‘halo sales’ or sales from your backlist. This is a huge benefit to marketing and is often overlooked.
7. Wait 90 days, Rinse, Repeat.
Figuring out how to market your book once is great, but the job of marketing never stops. Make sure your sales stay healthy by running stacked promotions once every 90 or so days. Bumping your book(s) up in the charts every few months will get them in front of new readers, and help you gain a devoted following. You can focus on content marketing for your books in the downtime between your promotion days to keep sales at a consistent level.