FOLLOW AN AUTHOR’S FOOTSTEPS TO SUCCESS ON AMAZON
It really is not hard to put your book at the top of your category rank on Amazon.com. I’ve written about this before, but as I took a peek at today’s Fussy Librarian email, I stumbled over a perfect example of a self publishing author who is doing it well. Time to bring the topic up again!
Number four on the email list of the day’s specials from Fussy was The Marketmaker by Michael Ridpath. Now I read — or at least skim — hundreds of books every year, keeping track of publisher quality, market trends, reader expectations, and the like. And I really do like ‘free’ as a price, so I took a peek. Nice, professional cover. Professional quality blurb. And the ‘also boughts’ on the page? Five other ‘financial thrillers’ by the same author, all professional covers, all well branded.
I looked down at the bottom of the screen to find that he’s #354 in Free in Kindle Store (quite a good rank) and #2 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense/Thrillers/Financial. This is a nice place to be, folks.
WHAT HAS THIS AUTHOR DONE RIGHT?
He is self publishing regularly and promoting his books very effectively. How can I tell? Each of the many books he’s written are well reviewed. That means he has most likely reached out to readers through an email list, blog or social media, or a street team to encourage readers to review his work.
HOW DID HE MAKE IT HAPPEN?
Make a book free on Amazon and put it out on Fussy Librarian and probably other book discounters. He promoted that ‘free book’ link through Twitter, and/or whatever social media he is on, probably using some paid boosts to do so. The cover, blurb, and content are professional, so he’s going to see a high percentage of downloads from people who are interested in this type of book.
WHAT DOES HE GET FROM IT?
The large number of downloads boost his category rank (#2 in Financial Thrillers).
Readers are exposed to his other books on the ‘also bought’ lineup when they click on his Amazon buy page.
RINSE AND REPEAT!
He has nearly certainly done this same thing with other books he’s written, which is why the ‘also boughts’ are full of his other books. Lots of downloads makes you ‘trending’ and the algorithms start showing your other books to readers who click on one of them.
The reader who clicks on the ‘free book’ link sees that, if she/he likes this one, there are plenty more. That is a big plus for most readers. And the others are all standard price — $2.99 – $3.99. He may not make money on this download, but if the reader really likes this book, chances are good he/she will buy at least one of the others and perhaps more.
CAN YOU DO MORE?
This can be a good time to offer a multi-book package — perhaps two for $5.99 when their cover prices are $3.99. Readers who got that ‘free’ deal are often ready to snatch up a bargain if they think they’ll really like the book. This is particularly effective if the price deal is limited. (This week only!)
This is a ‘tried and true’ method for getting traction on Amazon by boosting your category rank, making your book more visible to the Amazon algorithms, and encouraging ‘free book’ downloaders to actually buy something.
You can do this with your first book, and you can do it even more effectively with each book thereafter. Keep it up, use your ‘free’ days with Amazon Select to put different books in front of readers through the book discounters and social media posts.
You will see your category rank improve steadily and your books will show up more and more often in front of browsing readers. Guaranteed!
THE CATEGORY RANK/PAID SALES CONUNDRUM
Does this type of success mean you’ll see really good sales? Unfortunately, no. You can and do see books with high category ranks that are way down at the bottom of the ranking in terms of paid sales. There is a big ‘step up’ from success in the category ranks resulting from a lot of free downloads and Kindle Unlimited page reads to a high paid sales rank. In order for the book to propagate so that your paid rank rises, readers have to love it and buy other books, they have to read the Kindle Unlimited book all the way through, they have to tell their friends how great it is.
For that to happen, you absolutely must satisfy readers and bullseye your market. Most books published are lacking at least one of the five key elements of the bestseller and that simply limits the book’s success. If you don’t have a copy of Bestseller Bullseye, you can download it here and review those key elements.
Don’t be in a rush to publish! The promotion is not more important than the book’s quality! A Manuscript Evaluation from me or another professional is a good way to make sure that your book really does meet or exceed your readers’ expectations! Couple that ‘bullseye’ book with the type of promotion that this author did, and you will see not only excellent download numbers, but a rising Paid Sales rank as well.