The day you finish writing your book is not the day your book is finished. Nor is it the day the book is published and you gaze with a mixture of relief, disbelief, pride and trepidation on the book in your hand. Your book! At last!
Now you need to sell your book.
This requires at least as much work, and is almost as important, as crafting your beautiful manuscript was in the first place.
My book Microadventures, reached #12 on the chart for all books sold on Amazon UK.
To put this in context, my long-time most popular book, Moods of Future Joys, is currently sitting at 33,365 in the book rankings!
Here are a few things to consider that will help you boost your sales on Amazon.
1. How does your book and how do you, the author, look on the site?
How good is your Amazon author page? Get your photo, bio and Twitter feed all up to date on there.
How good is the book page itself? Can you ‘Look Inside’ the book? Are there plenty of images available (where appropriate)? Are there enough? Is the description of the book as good as it could be? Look at the books of your competitors to see how you match up.
If you have several versions of the same book available (paperback and Kindle, for example), get them consolidated onto one page. Fix any inconsistencies. Having random rubbish appear when people search for you and your books damages your brand equity. Yes I did just write “brand equity”!
2. Make sure the book is very “discoverable”
People search for books in two way, so you need to focus on both things. These are:
What keywords are people going to type in to find your book? Amazon explains it well: “Please include any words customers would use to search for your product on search engines that aren’t already in your item title attributes – brand name, model name, target audience, product description, size, size unit of measurement or colour name.”
You can get idea of the stuff that people search for by typing in a word to the Amazon search box. Amazon then drops down lots of suggestions. Nab these. Then write the word followed by ‘a’ to get the popular second words beginning with ‘a’. Then do it for ‘b’ and so on… (Thanks, Jo, for this tip!)
Also known as “finding your book in more than one area”. Look at the list of topics on the left of the page here. Could your book fit into more than one category? Where might the customer reasonably search for your book? There are a bazillion sub-categories to all of these things too. You obviously want to be in the right category. But bear in mind that if you can become a best-seller in a tiny, random category then you can more or less claim your book to be best-selling without feeling too much of a fraud. Clearly every book ever written claims to be best-selling so I wouldn’t hold too much in store from this dubious honour!
See what random categories my book has ended up in:
3. Casting the net wide
I should have (but haven’t) tried to get the book on Audible.
If you are an Amazon customer yourself you will know how you respond to items that have lots or not many reviews. Which do you prefer? My personal preference is for books that have lots of reviews, but not when the reviews have blatantly all just been written by the authors friends with an instant 5-star rating.
When Microadventures came out I worked really hard to get people to review the book. I asked – a lot – on social media. I probably annoyed people by doing it too much. I didn’t ask them to write a good review, I asked for an honest review. I didn’t just want 50 identical 5-star reviews from my friends. I believed that the book was good and that the reviews would genuinely be good. So I was willing to accept a few bad ones too, if necessary. Like this 1-star review I got.
5. Rally your Tribe
Amazon takes note of spikes of sales: sudden sharp bursts of activity are more likely to get your book zooming up the charts than a steady trickle of sales. You need to rally your tribe – your friends, family, blog readers, social media followers and beg, plead, order them to buy your book on one certain date. Don’t do this lightly – it’s quite annoying for them. But people are willing to tolerate you hassling them like this if you’ll built up a rapport and a store of goodwill. Here’s how I did it for Microadventures. I went so far as to offer one of my other books for free as an incentive.