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 marketing strategy. Some key tips for your author platform:
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