This guide is different from others because it’s written as a case study. Instead of making unsubstantiated claims, I will discuss lessons I’ve learned from my own promotions. This means that each piece of advice is backed up by tests I’ve run on my Kindle book catalog.
I’ve written this book in such a way as to make it short and actionable. You’re a busy person, so I don’t want to waste your time with fluff or beginner information. As such, I’m going to make a few assumptions about your current experience with Kindle publishing:
#1: You know how Amazon and KDP Select work. If you’re unfamiliar with this platform, then review this website for more information.
#2: You’ve written at least one book or you’re about to launch one.
#3: You focus on writing good books. If you’re slapping together outsourced, low-quality crap, then the following strategies won’t work for you.
#4: Your books are typically priced at $2.99 or above. This is the range where you’ll get the 70% royalty rate. Price any lower and you’ll lose out on the major benefit of having a book shoot to the top of Amazon’s paid charts.
#5: You can convert U.S. dollars into your local currency. For the sake of simplicity, I use U.S. dollars in my examples. It would be a terrible waste of your time if I had to talk about Euros, Pounds, Rupees, Canadian Dollars and Yen whenever I mentioned price. This means you should understand the equivalent price in countries where Amazon books are sold.
What makes me an “authority” on Kindle publishing?
Well, I’ve written a total of 38 Kindle books under three different pen names.
Finally, I have a line of children’s books, which I’m keeping private (for the time being).
Every example or piece of advice contained in this book comes from specific strategies I’ve applied in the last few months. I won’t tell you to do something just because it sounds like a good strategy. Instead, you’ll get information I know works right now because they’re the same tactics I’m applying to my Kindle book business.
To see what I mean, here is a brief overview of what’s covered in this booklet:
What you’re about to learn will answer all of these questions: How do I launch my next Kindle book? Is there still a benefit to the KDP Select program? When should I move my books to another platform? How do I increase lagging sales?
Amazon is constantly evolving their business practices. That means you need to be one step ahead of the game. Read on to find out how to do this.
The Importance of Tracking Your Kindle Book Business
Before we get to the case study section, I’d like to go over a few different concepts. To truly “get” what I’ll cover, you’ll need to understand the strategies that truly matter for selling books on Amazon. One technique in particular is something I cover in my guide, 61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books.
What I recommend is to track your “book metrics” on a regular basis—preferably every 24 hours. Why is this important? Tracking provides insight into your sales numbers and the real factors that turn book browsers into book buyers. If you pay attention to a few key metrics and ignore everything else, you’ll maximize time spent on the marketing aspect of your book business.
The question is, what should you track?
Frankly, I only focus on four different metrics. Furthermore, only two of these are really worth worrying about, with the other two being completely optional:
#1 – Sales (Mandatory)
Knowing your daily sales number is the key to identifying the strategies that impact your business. It’s easy to get this number. At the same time every day (I prefer 8 p.m., EST), record the sales you’ve generated in the last 24 hours. Also, annotate any special promotions or events that might affect your business. You can do this by recording these numbers in an Excel spreadsheet. Here is a template of what I use.
Tracking daily sales is important because it helps you understand what actions actually generate sales. For instance, let’s say one of your books averaged seven sales a day for the last month. Then you do a three-day giveaway through KDP Select, which results in your book averaging nine sales a day. You now know that this free promotion had a positive effect on your book business.
#2 – Reviews (Mandatory)
While tracking sales is important, you also want to pay attention to reviews. (You only have to do this once a week.) The purpose of looking at reviews is to detect patterns in what people like and don’t like about your books. This information can help you continuously improve the quality of each future book that you publish.
Review tracking is also important for calculating sales. Understand the “events” that surround your books sales and you’ll know why a specific title is not selling well.
Let’s say one of your books averaged 15 sales a day for the last month, but then suddenly drops down to nine a day. When you looked at your reviews, you noticed that it received two “1-star” ratings in the last few days. You now know that these negative reviews had a direct impact on your sales figures.
Now, I’ll be the first to say you shouldn’t dwell on negative reviews—they’re a natural part of publishing process. However, you should understand how they impact sales and find out what your readers actually want.
#3 – Borrows (Optional)
There is one metric that many authors often overlook—borrows. As part of Amazon’s Prime program, members can get any book (one per month) that’s enrolled in KDP Select. This is a great opportunity for authors because each borrow generates a $2+ royalty.
More importantly, Amazon treats each borrow like a sale. Ultimately this helps increase your visibility to potential readers. (We’ll talk about this more in the next section.)
You only need to track borrows once a month. It’s an important metric, but nowhere near as crucial as sales or reviews. The key thing to look for is the ratio of borrows to sales. Typically, I like to see my borrows average 10% of my sales. This number will help decide when to remove a book from Amazon’s KDP Select program. (Again, we’ll talk about this later.)
#4 – Free Downloads (Optional)
Finally, you should track downloads for each KDP Select promotion. As part of this program, you can give away a book for five days during every 90-day period. Tracking free downloads is important because it shows the effectiveness of the marketing strategies you use to promote your book.
While the KDP Select program has lost some of its effectiveness over the past six months, it’s still a great tool for getting extra exposure and generating lots of reviews in a short amount of time. But how well it works is something we’ll explore in the case study section of this booklet.
What NOT to Track
There is a point where you can do too much tracking. If your time is mostly spent “crunching numbers,” then you’re not focused on the #1 way to grow your Kindle business—writing more books.
Honestly, too many authors major in minor details. Who cares if your book ranks well for a specific search term? What really matters is the volume and consistency of your daily sales. My advice is to track the previous four metrics and not worry about any of the following:
** Ranking in specific categories
** Ranking for certain keywords
** Ranking on the “top authors” list
Yes, these factors do affect sales. But if you’re constantly agonizing over how to go from #5 to #1 in a specific category, you’ll waste valuable time that could be spent writing your next book. Just worry about the important things and ignore everything else.
How to promote your book
What Are Some Top Book Promotion Strategies?
Promoting books can sap one of energy especially if one is not doing it the right and smart way. To avoid that, I will direct your focus to the top strategies that you can use for your book promotion.
- Produce book readers will love: the best advertisement is one given when people tell others how they feel about your book. It is one thing to have a lot of people trying to get your book because of your advertisement; it is another thing to have them trying to get your book because of the way others have hyped the book. Try to write something that will leave your readers in awe.
- Giveaways: the next thing you can do is to do a give- away. Your giveaway can mean making the book free for a period of time or reducing the prices. There are several ways you can give away your books. I suggest enrolling your book on Amazon through their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program.
Learn how to:
– run ads
– manage ads
– analyze ads
– optimize your description for improved conversions
– build a long-term plan
Free and Paid Promotions (Advantages and Disadvantages)
- Expand your reach – You get potential buyers for your other books.
- Reviews – get a lot of reviews for your book that when you decide to make people pay for it, there will be a lot of positive reviews to compel people to buy your book.
- It gets the book in readers’ hands that in turn helps build your author platform.
Disadvantages of Free promotion
- You won’t make any money.
- Depending on the buyer they might leave a negative review if they just downloaded it for free and were not a fan of the genre.
Advantage of Paid Promotion:
- It will increase the visibility of your book to help you compete against stiff competition in your category.
- Help you to analyze keywords for future promotions
- Helps with target marketing
- Increase in sales rank
Disadvantages of Paid Promotion
- It only works better when you have several books out for sale. The motive that should be behind paid promotion should be that you expect the readers to see more of your books upon trying to see the book you are promoting.
- There is no guarantee of return on investment.
- Can lose money – If you are not familiar with running ads or promotions
How to Do a Successful Book Launch That Hits the Best Seller List?
First off, if anyone tells you that they know Amazon’s algorithm to hit the best seller status list run as fast and as far as you can. If they guarantee it, you should be a little skeptical. What I will tell you is that there are techniques that if executed correctly will put you in the best position to obtain the desired results. We covered the leg work in Phase 1, so we will fast-forward to a month before your official release date. Before we go further let me explain what a “best seller” on Amazon means. A best seller means that your book ranks in the top one-hundred books in your category. The list is updated hourly and the goal should be to rank on the first page, usually the top twenty or hit the “Hot New Release” list within the first thirty days. This is major because at that point Amazon will help promote your book equating to more sales. There are three things that you will want to focus on during your launch period:
- Pre-Launch – Ensure that your focus group or beta readers have executed on leaving positive verified reviews. To start, six to ten 5-star reviews should be good enough to encourage others to buy during your promo launch.
Another great idea will be to create a launch calendar to help get organized for the upcoming launch. Trust me! You will need all the energy focused on execution and follow up needed for a successful book launch.
- Launch Week – Run either your free promotion or kindle countdown deal starting at .99 cents via KDP Select. For new or unknown authors, I highly suggest running the free promotion for a couple of days to build momentum before you move to .99 cents. This is the point where you must let go of the pride and ego and understand that it is an investment in the future as an author. The wonderful thing about running a free promotion is that if you get enough downloads, it ranks your book higher when you switch over to paid. This will give you a small window to make incremental sales.
Make sure that any paid or free promotions ads are aligned with the launch. Also, if you have an email list or social media following please contact them and encourage them support and promote the launch.
- Engage Your Audience – Share your goals with your audience and keep them informed on the progress of your book. Do at least one live video, webinar, or podcast to celebrate your launch. Make sure that you respond quickly to comments surrounding your book.
If you can execute the above strategies along with what you learned in Phase 1 hitting best seller status shouldn’t be a problem. Getting there is one thing but staying there is a challenge. If you have followed the guidelines covered throughout this book, you are in a prime position to compete.
Book Launch Party
How Do You Intend to Do a Book Launch?
- Make a budget: know the amount you are ready to spend on the book launch.
- Get a venue: you need a cozy and intimate space that will be conducive for connecting and interacting.
- Plan your space. Make a checklist of things that will be needed for this book launch.
- Advertise! Advertise!
- Entertainment: People will soon get bored if the only thing that will be done is book reading. You need to reconsider your plan. Here is a basic template to follow. I highly suggest being short and sweet.
- Basic Introduction– Have someone to introduce you. Sincerely thank everyone for coming out.
- Reason for Writing the book– Share your most intimate feelings behind writing the book. This is an opportunity to connect with people that may not know you.
- Highlights of the book-This section will cover you reading or discussing your favorite parts of the book. Keep it to a maximum of 3.
- Q&A – Open up the floor to a brief Q&A session.
- Mix & Mingle – Bring out the bottles and start making it RAIN, with books that is…. Just kidding folks. This part of the party is where there should be light refreshments served and music playing while guest wait to purchase your book.
Be sure to have the following:
- Payment Options – Square or any card reader system or Cash
- Assistant – You must have someone taking the money while you sign books and kiss babies.
- Photographer – You want to capture every moment of this. Even if its just a friend designated to take pictures with their camera phone.
- Ensure you have printed copies of your books
- Think of how you want your autograph to look like and prepare for it.
- Prepare for giveaways and prizes.
- Get a lot of email addresses.