How to Increase Book Sales on Amazon
The most powerful form of advertising for an author costs nothing. Learn how to increase book sales on Amazon by putting out great books. Build a fanbase, kickstart word-of-mouth marketing, grow your email list and social-media following, and secure valuable promotions on sites like BookBub.
Skyrocket the chances of your next book’s purchase on Amazon
Who are some of your favorite authors? When they come out with a new book, just because their name is on the cover, you’re probably already interested in buying it, right? You might even order a copy without reading a single review or even the premise.
For certain authors, thousands, tens of thousands, or more readers are ready to purchase a new release even if the author doesn’t spend a dime on new ads. These readers may frequently visit the author’s Amazon page to see if a new book is out.
From a marketing perspective, this is the ideal state for an author.
How can you get there? Simple: you need to write great books. The most effective form of advertising for a writer ironically has nothing to do with ads – it has everything to do with the writing itself.
The reason you’d purchase your favorite authors’ new releases without hesitation is because those writers have proven themselves to you with one or more previous releases.
When a writer becomes world famous, a major advertising campaign typically is not the cause. The cause is typically readers loving the author’s books.
If you are not yet a famous author, advertising can be crucial for getting your name out there. But, if you are planning on investing in ads, please realize that those ads will be exponentially more valuable to you if the book you’re advertising is great.
Not only can a great book turn readers into eager buyers of your next, but it creates other benefits too…
Enjoy the effect of word of mouth on Amazon book sales
When readers love your book, the chance of them recommending it to their friends goes up a lot. These word-of-mouth recommendations are extremely effective for two reasons:
Enjoy the effect of great reviews on Amazon book sales
Reviews are very important to a book’s sales. Many readers loving your book should yield many positive reviews and ratings on Amazon.
Someone who really enjoyed a book is more likely to write a review than someone who felt so-so about a book. These reviewers are almost certain to give it five stars, and may include many detailed, positive comments.
When you send traffic to your book’s Amazon page (from ads, social media, etc), visitors will be much more likely to purchase it if they notice a high number of reviews and a high overall rating.
Certain people like reading a variety of reviews before making an order. If your book’s Amazon page is filled with glowing feedback, prospective buyers have a good chance of noticing a comment that convinces them to make the purchase.
In addition, deal sites, which are terrific tools for becoming a bestselling author, tend to grant promo slots to books with a high count of reviews and a high overall rating.
If you’re hoping to receive a Featured Deal from BookBub, the largest and most selective deal site, you will certainly need a lot of positive reviews on Amazon.
If you do happen to be fortunate enough to be accepted by BookBub, the sales results can be astounding. The day of your Featured Deal, you’d have high odds of breaking into the top 10 on any Amazon bestseller chart and, on some, even hitting #1.
Enjoy the effect of a growing email list and social-media following on Amazon book sales
If a reader loves your book, the likelihood of that person joining your email list or following you on social networks climbs. You won’t need to spend any money or time convincing these readers to connect with you online – they’ll seek out your email list and social-media accounts on their own.
I recommend you include a link to your website inside the Kindle version of all your books, after the story ends. Someone who just finished your story – and enjoyed it – could be very interested in visiting your site in that moment.
Within your book, just before you include the link, let people know what they could gain by going to your site. If you’re giving out a reader magnet, this is a great place to promote it. Ex, “For a free short story, visit my website.”
Be sure to include links to your social-media pages on your website as well.
Once your next book comes out, you should of course make an announcement on release day, via email and social media. Many of your subscribers/followers who loved your last book may purchase the next on day 1.
These early orders send a positive signal to Amazon’s recommendation algorithm. Amazon may begin recommending your book in its own emails to many readers in your book’s genre. These automated recommendations, which cost you nothing, can lead to many more sales.
Become a better writer to increase Amazon book sales
Clearly, writing a great book gives you a significant marketing advantage.
If you’re reading this article, you must be the sort of person who knows the value of education on a writing career. Even if you already feel you’re a good writer, you could improve by learning more.
Fortunately, I offer a free online writing course that can help...
Book Marketing Plan [Become an Amazon Bestseller]
Are you looking to become an Amazon bestselling author? This proven book marketing plan can get you there. Learn how to leverage advertising platforms and book-deal websites to drive a surge of traffic to your discounted Kindle book on Amazon, rack up a lot of sales over a brief period, and reach a bestseller list, possibly even #1.
How to become an Amazon bestselling author
Amazon has a bestseller chart (the top 100 books) for each of its categories. These charts update multiple times per day as new information comes in. The books that appear on the charts, and their ranking, are based on two major factors:
In general, a book enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, with a digital price discounted to $0.99, will have a very good chance of rising up a bestseller chart because fewer barriers stand in the way of readers ordering these books.
A Kindle Unlimited order, which costs a reader nothing incrementally, carries just as much weight in bestseller calculations as a paid order.
And all paid orders, whether for $0.99 or $14.99, carry the same weight. Price doesn’t matter. And, for the most part, people are more likely to buy a book that’s $0.99 versus one that’s more expensive.
Whether your book is or is not in Kindle Unlimited, you can still do a price cut and up your odds of becoming a bestseller.
Since Amazon bestseller rankings are not just determined by total orders, but the recency of those orders, I suggest you look at a timeline of no more than one week for a price-drop advertising campaign – a good window is five days.
Leverage Amazon, Facebook, and BookBub for book ads
Once you've discounted your book on Kindle, you want to let readers know about your price drop. A great way to do that is to run ads on the three major book-advertising platforms: Amazon, Facebook, and BookBub.
To learn more about how to run an ad on each of these platforms, check out this author advertising guide.
When running an ad for a discounted book, you'd follow the same steps as for a regularly priced book, with a few additional guidelines:
Leverage book deal sites
In addition to the three major book-advertising platforms, you can drive traffic to your discounted book’s Amazon page via deal sites. BookBub, mentioned above, is the largest, however, many others are out there.
In general, these sites aggregate daily Kindle discounts by genre. Millions of people have signed up for them. Every day, they can receive an email with links to buy discount books in the genre(s) they like.
Instead of spending time scrolling through Amazon looking for price drops, readers can be notified of discounted titles directly.
As an author running a price drop, you can pay deal-aggregation sites to feature your book in a daily email. The cost can range from around $30 all the way up to several hundred.
Something important to be aware of: even if you're willing to pay the platform's fee, you're not guaranteed a spot in an email.
Certain sites are quite selective about the books they feature. The details of the selection criteria aren't always public, however, as a general principle, books that already have many positive reviews on Amazon tend to be chosen at higher rates.
Though BookBub allows all sorts of books to purchase display ads in the ads section of its emails, it's very selective about the books that appear in its editorial section (these are known as BookBub Featured Deals).
Other sites aren’t as selective, however, they still might not choose your book if you have zero reviews, a low total of reviews, a low overall rating, a poorly designed cover, or a poorly written description.
If you have a solid cover and description, and at least 10 relatively positive reviews on Amazon, your book should stand a very strong chance for selection by most deal sites.
List of book deal promo sites
Though a lot of deal sites exist, I have seen the best results from a handful (listed below). If a site isn’t on my list, you can still of course consider it. I have not personally tried every deal site available and some great ones may be there that I simply haven’t used.
Though I may have seen good results from the sites below does not mean they are all a fit for your book or even genre. Do not feel obligated to try any site unless it makes sense for your specific offer.
The crescendo strategy for Kindle book promotion
When determining bestseller rankings, Amazon likes to see a rise in daily sales. So, if you happen to get accepted for a promo on all nine of the deal sites mentioned above, you should avoid booking them all on the same day.
You would be better off spreading them out through your promo days. In addition, you want to build toward your feature on the sites where you expect the largest reach so your daily-sales number trends upward.
Let’s say you’ve been accepted on all nine sites and are targeting a five-day promotion window (Monday through Friday). You would want your promo with the highest expected sales result to go on the last day (Friday).
You should schedule the other promos through the week to crescendo to your largest reach on Friday. Here’s a way to do that, with the sites ranked from 1-9 based on the expected reach for your book:
Before you apply for promotions on deal sites, rank them based on how effective you feel they’ll be for your book. The rankings should primarily be based on how large of an audience a site has within your genre (they make this information public online).
First, contact your site ranked 1 (likely BookBub) and see what date you’re able to secure. If you’re accepted, make a note of the date, and, when you contact other sites, suggest dates in a window four days prior to your site 1 promo.
If you’re not accepted to site 1, repeat the process with 2, then 3, etc.
I suggest you begin contacting the sites early, at least two weeks prior to the intended start of your promos. Since slots are limited, and many other authors want them, the less time you give yourself, the less flexibility you’ll have for date choice.
Even with a sizable time cushion, you still may not be able to perfectly crescendo your promos from 9 up to 1 across consecutive days. If so, that’s okay. As long as you create a general sense of daily growth, you’ll have a good shot of reaching a bestseller list.
Combining platform ads and deal site book promos
During a five-day promo window, you should run ads on Facebook, Amazon and BookBub in addition to participating in deal-site promos.
Like deal-site promos, you want to achieve a daily growth trajectory with your Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub (display) ads. The easiest way to do this is to simply increase your total budget through the week across the three platforms. Ex:
How many copies do you need to sell to become an Amazon bestseller?
Certain categories on Amazon are considerably more competitive than others. If your book happens to be in competitive categories (ex, within “thriller” or “romance”), you will need to sell quite a lot of copies to reach the charts. However, a quality combination of platform ads and deal-site promos can get you there.
To gain a sense of how many books you need to sell a day to break into the top 10, or hit #1, on various bestseller lists, check out the Publisher Rocket tool.
Upping your chances to reach a bestseller chart, the top 10, or #1
Lay out your goals. Which Amazon categories do you want to become a bestseller in? Do you want to simply reach the list (ie, top 100), or are you hoping to be in the top 10? Or maybe you’re looking to be #1.
Whatever the case, the odds of attaining your goals will go up if you run ads on Facebook, Amazon and BookBub in addition to participating in as many deal-site promos as you can.
How much money you spend on Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub ads should be based on your goals, plus your personal financial situation.
The more money you dedicate to ads, the higher the chance you’ll sell enough copies to hit a bestseller list, and climb up a bestseller list once you’re on it. However, you also want to be responsible with your personal finances.
If you are low on cash, then advertising your way to a bestseller list may not be right for you, at least at this moment. However, if you have some money to spend, and really want to be a bestselling author, investing in ads has a proven track record.
Enhance your author marketing platform
Though you can theoretically become an Amazon bestselling author by only applying the marketing tips in this article, you can increase your chances of reaching, and rising up, the charts by strengthening your overall author marketing platform. Some key tips:
This post contains affiliate links.
Book Ads - A Simple Guide to Sell More Copies on Amazon
Are you a self-published author looking to sell a lot of copies of a book you're about to release on Amazon? Or maybe you're hoping to boost the sales of a book you already published on Amazon weeks, months, or even years ago. Whatever the case, you can significantly increase the sales of any book on Amazon if you run online book ads. This simple guide shows you how to get started with the three main types of book ads: Amazon AMS, Facebook, and BookBub display.
When should I run book ads?
Do you have a book you're about to release on Amazon? If it performs well while a new release, Amazon's recommendation algorithm may take notice and start automatically recommending your book to many target readers for free. Thus, heavily advertising your book as soon as it comes out is a great strategy.
Are you about to run a limited-time price promotion for a book, like a Kindle Countdown Deal? Ads can skyrocket the exposure of your deal in a short amount of time, helping you propel up the Amazon bestseller charts.
Do you have a book already released that isn't selling as many copies as you'd hope? Ads can bring a surge of readers to your book who may love it, yet just haven't heard about it.
If you're an author who happens to fall into any of these three categories, read on to learn about the different types of online book ads available to you and how to effectively use each.
Amazon book ads
Once you publish your book on Amazon, you can start running ads for it directly on the Amazon platform. Here's an example of ads for books on the site:
Kinds of Amazon book ads
Amazon offers two major types of ads for books: Sponsored Product and Product Display.
Sponsored Product ads are targeted by keyword. When someone enters a term relevant to your book in the Amazon search bar, an ad for your book could show up.
For instance, let’s say your book is a detective thriller. You could create an ad with “detective thrillers” as a keyword. You can include up to 1,000 keywords for an ad.
I’d suggest adding a lot of them, as long as they’re relevant. To quickly compile a large list of relevant keywords, use the Publisher Rocket tool.
With Product Display ads, you can target ads to the categories your book is in or even specify individual books similar to yours, and have ads show up for Amazon users who are browsing any book in a targeted category, or an individually selected title.
For example, for a detective thriller book, you may want to target your ad to all books within the “crime fiction” category, or narrow your targeting to just book X, book Y, book Z, etc.
With ads, experimenting is key. I suggest you create a variety of Sponsored Product and Product Display ads with various targeting methods, keeping your budgets low at first per ad (ex, $5/day). After the ads run for a few days, see how they’re performing in terms of sales.
If an ad does poorly, turn it off. If an ad does well, duplicate it with a higher budget and create other similar ads to test. If any of the similar ads do well, duplicate them with higher budgets and create other similar ads to test, etc.
Luckily, Amazon makes this process easy because you can see exactly how much sales volume each ad is generating right inside your reporting dashboard...
Measuring the success of an Amazon book ad
One of the best features of Amazon’s ads is the closed-loop reporting. In your advertising dashboard, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you’re spending on each ad, plus exactly how much sales volume each ad is generating.
Amazon is of course able to provide this information because it’s not only running your ad, but processing the payments of each sale.
Ideally, an ad would be profitable, ie your total sales would be more than your total cost. However, even if an ad isn’t profitable directly, it can still be beneficial.
If you can generate a good amount of early sales of your book (ie, during week 1 of launch), Amazon may start recommending your book to readers – these recommendations cost you nothing.
Theoretically, you can run an ad for your book during week 1 that is not profitable, however, generates enough sales to convince the Amazon algorithm to recommend your book. The additional sales you bring in from these recommendations can, over time, carry you into profitability.
With ads, experimenting is key. Test various ad types, targeting, and text. Try to get your ads as profitable as possible. For ads that are performing well, consider adding more budget to them. For ads performing poorly, turn them off.
Even if you can’t get any ad to be profitable, consider keeping on your ad that’s closest to profitable (as long as it’s leading to sales). As mentioned, these sales can activate the recommendation algorithm.
Also, people who buy one of your books have a much higher likelihood than someone else to buy your next book. Thus, you may spend money advertising book 1 without making a profit. However, when book 2 comes out, various readers of book 1 may buy book 2 without you needing to spend on any new ads. These sales of book 2 can lift your book 1 ad spending into profitability.
This effect is more pronounced if you happen to write in a series, where readers of one installment often eagerly anticipate the next.
If you write in a series, a strategy to consider is to heavily advertise book 1 (even if at a fairly large loss), while not spending any money on ads for additional books, hoping many of book 1’s readers go on to buy 2, 3, etc. The more installments a series has, the more profitable this strategy can be over time, even if the initial loss is quite big.
Amazon ads - and all book ads for that matter - can drive traffic to your book's product page on Amazon. Once a user is on that page, its content needs to convince the user to make a purchase. Thus, you want to be sure your cover, blurb, and more are as enticing as possible.
To learn more, check out my post on increasing the conversion rate for a book.
Facebook ads for books
Facebook has a massive audience, many of its members book lovers. A Facebook ad is a great way to reach a market segment that’s large and highly targeted. An example of a Facebook ad that was run for one of my books:
To run Facebook ads for your book, you need to first create an ad account on Facebook.
Once you do that, you then need to create a new campaign, and within that campaign create an ad group, and then the ad itself.
The purpose of this section is to give you an overview of ad options, not an in-depth tour of the software platforms. To learn more about Facebook’s advertising system, check out their free resources.
That being said, within this guide, I’ll provide some basic tips for getting started with Facebook ads for a book:
Like Amazon ads, experimenting is key. Test various combinations of photos, videos, targeting, text, and countries. While doing so, you want to measure your results to see what’s working and what isn’t.
A key metric that you can view within your Facebook ad account is “CPC,” or “cost per click.” This states how much Facebook is charging you for each click of your ad. Lower is of course better. Not only does a low CPC mean you’re getting more for your money, but that your ad is resonating with your target audience.
If Facebook’s algorithm determines that people like your ad, it will charge you less per click.
Since Facebook can’t tell if someone who clicked your ad went on to buy your book on Amazon, you won’t have access to sales-volume information for Facebook ads, unfortunately. Thus, determining how well a Facebook ad is performing isn’t straightforward.
Often, authors run Facebook ads on the belief that the additional traffic must be leading to some sales, even if they can’t exactly measure the numbers.
If you’re not okay with this open-ended approach, and would rather have exact data on profitability, you should stick with Amazon ads exclusively for your book.
BookBub display ads
In case you’re not aware, BookBub is a very popular website for book deals. Readers sign up to receive daily emails with links to books that are temporarily discounted.
BookBub is very selective about the discounted books it features in the “editorial” section of these emails, ie the top section. A lot of the titles are written by world-famous authors.
However, at the bottom of these emails, you can include an ad to your book, ie a BookBub display ad. Your book does not have to get past BookBub’s highly competitive vetting process to show up in the ad section at the bottom of the emails.
Just because your book appears in the ad area, does not exclude it for selection in the editorial area.
Here is an example of a BookBub ad I ran for one of my books:
Your book does not need to be discounted to appear in the ad section, however, since the viewers of these emails tend to be looking for deals, as a general principle, you should only advertise your book here if it’s priced at $2.99 or lower.
To create a BookBub ad, create a partner account on BookBub and do the following:
Like Facebook ads, you’ll be able to see what your CPC value is for each ad, but not the sales volume. If you’re not okay with this, then stick with Amazon ads exclusively.
Unlike Facebook ads, which perform better with large, targeted audiences, BookBub ads tend to perform better when targeted narrowly, ie to authors who may not have massive followings, but whose readership closely matches yours.
Here’s how to find these authors:
At first, each ad you run should be targeted to (1) your genre and (2) one author. You are still experimenting at this stage. Keep your budget low, say just $10.
Once the ad goes live, log into BookBub’s dashboard to check out the click count and CPC value. Make a note of the ads that are generating a lot of clicks at low cost.
Ideally, try testing out ads targeted to at least 10 different authors. You can then see which authors perform best for you (ie, plenty of clicks with a low CPC). Next, you can create a new ad targeted to (1) your genre and (2) the authors who performed best for you in your test, even if multiple.
Since this ad is based on proven performance, you can be more flexible with your budget. Based on your financial situation and goals, you may want to run this ad at a $100 budget, maybe $300, maybe more.
Once you have your group of proven author targets, you can further experiment with new ads, with variations in your image (colors, ad copy, etc), to see if you can get your CPC value even lower.
Advertising discounted books
Ads on Amazon and Facebook can help you sell copies of your book at any price. As stated, BookBub ads should be for the $2.99 price point and below.
A proven strategy for reaching a bestseller chart - and climbing high on the chart - is to heavily discount your book, ie down to $0.99, and put an advertising campaign behind it for a condensed period.
Amazon, Facebook, and BookBub can be a solid part of this strategy. The reach of your discounted book can be expanded with other advertising methods too. To learn more, check out my article on advertising discounted books.
More book marketing tips
Though online ads are a great way to quickly boost the sales of a book, they're not the only marketing tool available to an author.
I put together an ultimate marketing guide for authors that covers all this and more:
This post contains affiliate links.
Giveaway App That'll Skyrocket Your Audience Engagement - Outgrow
Are you looking to grow your organic reach online and increase leads and sales? Check out this free trial of Outgrow, a giveaway app that lets you create highly shareable online sweepstakes. You'll also gain access to Outgrow's additional digital-engagement tools - build quizzes, calculators, polls, and more.
Start your free Outgrow trial
Visit the Outgrow website to start your free trial of the giveaway app. No credit card necessary.
Who is Outgrow for?
Outgrow is for anyone who manages a business with an online audience. Do you have a social media following? How about an email list? If so, the Outgrow web app is for you.
The platform has two main benefits:
(1) Make your audience engage with you more online, leading to more sales
(2) Generate leads, making your audience even bigger
Though sharing photos and videos via social media and email can of course boost leads and sales, Outgrow's interactive content lets you add new, dynamic elements to your content mix. And no coding experience is required.
For example, with a giveaway, you can offer your subscribers and followers a chance to win something they'll love. With a quiz, people can answer some questions relevant to your industry and then learn about something unique to them, like a certain product that'll make their life easier.
People are used to getting bombarded by emails and social posts asking them to buy things. Free, engaging content will help you stand out from the crowd. Your business will be seen in a positive light. When you do eventually ask your audience to buy something, they'll be more receptive.
Outgrow lets you brand your interactive pieces of content. And they're very shareable. Your audience is likely to post your giveaways, quizzes, etc to their own social media accounts, spreading awareness of your business - and boosting leads - without you needing to spend a dime on advertising.
Ready to build your first piece of interactive content with Outgrow? You can start for free.
Outgrow offers various online engagement tools, such as:
Below, find images and explanations of each.
Browse a variety of giveaway templates, broken out by industry. You can customize the template with your own photos, images, and other branding.
Choose a prize you'd like to give away, then share a link to your giveaway. You can embed the entry form directly on your own website if you'd like and share a URL for your own domain. Outgrow will handle registration management, such as collecting email addresses, and let you randomly select a winner.
Once you have registrants' email addresses, you can have automated follow-up messages sent to them, encouraging them to learn more about your business.
View a bunch of calculator templates, grouped by industry. You define the inputs for your calculator and how they should be used to determine a numerical result that would be of interest to someone in your audience.
You have a lot of flexibility over the formula used to generate the result.
You can easily customize the look and feel of your calculator. Tap into over 100,000 stock images from Unsplash, plus add GIFs and videos. Results can be shown in appealing visual formats, such as tables and line, pie, and bar charts.
Embed the calculator on your own website, which not only creates a fluid user experience, but can up your reach on organic search.
Pages with industry-relevant calculators often receive a high number of backlinks from websites within their niche. These backlinks can increase your website's authority from the perspective of Google and other search engines and generate plenty of organic traffic, not just to your calculator's page, but many others.
Ready to give Outgrow a shot?
Choose a quiz template and customize it with your own questions and flow for displaying a result at the end. Ask your audience questions relevant to your industry and display a personalized insight at the end.
The branching feature allows you to create dynamic paths for each user based on their answers to previous questions.
These quizzes are not just entertaining and educational, but can directly increase your online conversions. You can add CTA buttons at the end of quizzes that direct people to sales or lead-generation pages relevant to their quiz result.
For instance, if you sell books, you can ask people questions about the types of books they like, then recommend one of yours at the end of the quiz, along with a link to buy it on Amazon.
Choose a template, customize the design, and enter questions relevant to your industry. At the end of the poll, you can output personalized messages based on answers, plus show respondents how their answers compared to the collective others.
Polls can not only offer your audience new insights, but you too. For instance, if you're trying to decide whether to build product A or B, the aggregated results of a poll can help you choose.
As people visit your interactive Outgrow content, you'll have access to real-time analytics. See view and engagement statistics at each stage of the funnel. Easily identify bottlenecks, then tweak them to improve the completion rate of your forms.
Based on respondents' answers to your questions, you can automatically segment leads into certain groups.
Outgrow directly integrates with various software tools. When respondents submit their email addresses, they can flow into CRM and email-marketing platforms and more. Some Outgrow integrations:
Outgrow's free trial lasts for seven days. To continue using the platform after the trial, you'll need to choose a subscription plan. Here's the monthly pricing for each (if paid annually):
Plans differ based on lead limits, content types, number of account users, and various other characteristics.
Learn more about Outgrow