Last week my debut novel ranked as high as #11 on Amazon’s Best Selling Fiction in the Thriller/Crime category. Here it is at #12. Notice that James Patterson’s novel is AFTER mine. Yes, CACHE a PREDATOR was only there for a day but hey, it really happened. (That’s why I had to take this photo, to capture this historical moment in my career.)
A few people asked, “How did you do that?”
So I decided to write a post on what I did, hoping to help you–which is what I love more than anything–helping and encouraging writers.
The very first thing that helped me with all of my self-publishing knowledge was connecting at World Literary Cafe. I bought Melissa Foster’s FOSTERING SUCCESS Marketing course. It was well worth the money spent.
Also, keep in mind I recently had a 10-book Goodreads giveaway and a two-week book promotional tour with daily bloggers reviewing the book, interviewing me, and sharing excerpts of the book. This resulted in 35 great reviews, which helped the credibility of the novel.
What I Did — What You Can Do
Steps to Success
1. Write and edit the best book possible. This is probably the most important thing. Several reviewers told me that my book had the least typos of any Indie book they’d read. This was a huge compliment and reinforced my decision to pay an editor and an OOPS editor to comb for errors.
2. Join Amazon’s AUTHOR CENTER and upload editorial reviews, book descriptions, and fun facts about the book. Even if you published with a traditional publisher you should do this because I’m not sure they will do it for you.
While you’re there be sure to write a great BOOK DESCRIPTION. Here’s a site that shows you how. After searching best selling Indie author’s Amazon pages, I recently rewrote mine based on feedback from them and the linked site above. The first description I wrote was from the back cover of my novel. It was great if readers had a few minutes, but I needed something attention-grabbing for readers who only had a few seconds–which is all it takes for fingers to click away from my page (and yours).
I asked myself, “What do I like to see before I buy a book to know if it’s good, if it’s worth my time?”
I like to know what other readers thought of the book before I buy it. So I took a few quotes from readers and included them like this below. I still have the back cover blurb if the reader wants to scroll down and read more, but if they don’t have time, this should help.
Seek an editorial review to upload at this AUTHOR CENTRAL site, too. READERS’ FAVORITE read and reviewed my book, giving me the opportunity to share it in the EDITORIAL REVIEW section. Contact them HERE. And while you’re there, enter their 2014 Indie Contest. (You can’t win if you don’t enter.)
This is what mine looks like. Obviously yours will look different based on your key words and your categories.
If you click on ADD CATEGORIES it looks like this below:
See all the options?
Pay attention to these areas. Find the niche for your novel. If you don’t see one that pertains to your book send KDP an email or call them and see if they can add a category for you. Why not? What do you have to lose? The tighter you define your niche genre, the greater your best selling status, and the greater the possibility that readers will notice your novel.
4. Have a sale. Why not sell your book for $0.99? No, you won’t earn a ton of profits, but you will improve your ranking and readers will take a chance on you, especially if they can afford the price. This will hopefully result in more reviews, more fans, and eventually more sales once your book is back to it’s original price. Word of mouth sells, so if you’ve written a great book and had it edited, readers who like your book will tell others.
In one week I had over 600 $0.99 downloads, and my paperback sales increased too.
5. How do you create a buzz about your sale?
Advertise and boost FB posts.
Here’s what yesterday’s FB BOOST looks like. I paid $5.00 to boost this post. It went to over 4400 people. Four people shared it. It probably brought me 25 more book sales downloads. It’s tough to say because this post is still lingering out there in the FB world so it could still be generating sales. Pay attention to the TARGET section. You can target your FB friends, or you can target specific groups like Gender, Location, Language and ? If you change these fields FB will tell you your potential reach. Check which way will reach the most people. My reach went beyond where FB thought it would.
Just like in any business, you have to spend a little money to make money. But some of these places are FREE. Here are a few of the places I advertised:
a. Book Blast – This was one of the best places that promoted my book. I even received an email from Jason, the host, thanking me for my ad that cost $20.00. He monitored my sales and said he had over 80 links to my book from his site. However, in the 24 hours surrounding this post I had over 100 downloads.
b. More For Less – I sold about 50 from this ad.
c. People Reads – I sold about 50 from this ad.
d. Book Bub – This is supposed to be the King of places to advertise but they have to “accept” you even though to advertise in my genre would have cost me near $400. They rejected me twice. I think it’s because I only publish ebooks through Amazon’s KDP Select.
e. Kindle Books and Tips This ad cost me $25.00. Sold about 130 from this one.
f. Bargain eBook – Sold about 30 from this ad.
g. eReader News Today – I didn’t advertise at this one, but I heard it’s amazing. I’m waiting for them to send me a date that works in their schedule and I’ll place another ad just for this link. The cost for this one is based on a percentage of your sales. It’s a great deal!
h. Pixel Scroll – I think this one cost $10. I sold approximately 35 downloads.
i. Pixel of Ink – I filled out their form but they never featured my sale. They choose who they feature and who they don’t, and it’s free to submit so I took a chance that they’d pick me, but they didn’t.
What Did I Learn – What You Can Expect
Is my ranking currently at #11? No, but I can say it was there once. And it gives me a goal for the next sale, the next big push. Chances are your ranking will improve, but it won’t stay indefinitely. Yet.
One thing is certain: You can definitely expect different results. Your genre, book cover, and number of reviews matters in this sales game. But if you follow some of these tips the chances of your success rate will be greater.
Set goals before your book blast begins. Mine was 500 downloaded books, so I exceeded that one.
I didn’t have a ranking goal, but I will next time. Before the blast began my ranking was between 41 and 62–still in the top 100, but as time goes on I want to be at #1. Why not? Aim high. Dream big!
Keep track of which ads are running which days so you can track the progress. I didn’t do a great job of this. My stats above are sketchy at best.
The next time I have a sale some of these advertising places could have changed their fees, and I’m sure they’re growing too. This book marketing business is always changing, so it pays to keep reading and networking with other writers and authors.
Which website has helped you most with your sales?