Algorithm for promoting the book on Amazon
In what cases do authors make money on books? (We do not take into account the promoted writers – everyone has their own story there).
Authors of non-fiction use their book to raise the authority and develop business. They give advice, speak to the public, sell goods, etc.
Authors of fiction receive a little bit from everywhere: royalties from publishers, sales on Litres, subscriptions to Litnet, Wattpad, sales through their website, etc.
However, the greatest money the writer receives if the translation of his book is successfully placed in the Kindle Store on Amazon (the largest online store in the world). The Kindle Store is an e-book store in the Amazon system.
For example, in my extremely exotic category “Historical novel about Russia”, the book that occupies the first place in the rating sells about 475 copies per day. Detectives and fantasy authors, of course, the picture is even brighter.
The main mistakes of novice authors
At the sight of such prospects, many throw themselves into the water, not knowing the ford: they translate their works, spend a lot of effort and money, are placed in the Kindle Store and… do not sell a single copy.
A) Authors do not realize that they are in frenzied competition with English-language writers, and in order to be noticed, you must have a “chip” – you must attract attention to yourself with something. To be better, more interesting, more inventive, to know something that others do not know.
B) Authors do not realize that only what is being sold is being sold. Sales need to be DONE, and only naïve people think that “publish on the Kindle Store” = “make money”.
Books in Russian language on Amazon
Just to emphasize: in this article we are not talking about Russian language – at the moment (June 2018) I do not see serious sales in this segment. If we go through our bestsellers, we will immediately find that all the top lines of the rating are occupied by classics, and in any case there is little for sale. The #1 bestseller on the Russian is just 4 copies sold per day. For $1.94.
The most important condition for success in the Kindle Store
In order for Amazon to start promoting your book according to its algorithm, you need it to have stable sales in the first two weeks after release.
In this case, you are assigned some internal marker, and your book begins to appear in all sorts of lists like “Buy with this book …” etc. This determines the life and death of the work.
There are a great many strategies for releasing books on Amazon, and below I publish two options – a more thorough and simpler one.
Strategy I. Solid
Step 1. Forming a support group
In order for the book to start buying, you need to form a group of people in advance who are passionately interested in your product. The larger this group, the better. Then it will have to be divided into segments and made so that people do not immediately buy the work, but in portions. So there is an opportunity to increase sales – which is a sure sign of success in the eyes of Amazon.
Such a group can be formed in the following ways:
a) Cool pages in social networks + advertising to attract subscribers.
b) List of emails. The author distributes some “elephants” on his site, receives in exchange the emails of readers and for several weeks makes an interesting mailing, introducing subscribers to his world.
This is how people find out that the author is cool, and his book deserves attention.
Distribution of “elephants”
How do people know about your “elephants”? Through advertising in social networks. If everything is set up correctly, then it is not particularly expensive.
And what kind of “elephants” should be distributed? You need to write another, short book, which will be an introduction to your work.
Step 2. Guaranteed Reviews
When you start selling, you should have dozens of positive reviews on Amazon – otherwise no one will look in your direction. Where can I get them?
You need to send letters to at least 1,000 book bloggers. According to statistics, refusals will be about 90%, but of the remaining 100 bloggers, thirty percent will actually write a review. These will be the same people who will give the whole project value in the eyes of other readers.
Another option to collect reviews is to make a separate page on which you will give away the book for free. It should be shown only in advertising social networks.
An interested person leaves an email, you send him a book, and after a week or two you ask for a review. Shortly after the release, you write a reminder: they say, dear man, go to the Kindle Store, download my book (it is now available for $ 0.00), and copy the review to the page in Amazon.
Step 3. Social
In order for you to still start selling, you need to launch word of mouth. This is done with the help of a blog and social networks. You create a page dedicated to your topic, write something there every day and warm up the public’s interest in your project.
The blog and social networks must start at least 90 days before the start of sales.
Step 4. Preparation for sales
90 days before the release, you need to open the pre-sale. That is, the book can already be bought now, but you will receive it only on day X. This will give you the opportunity to make a countdown (“There are 20 days left before the start of sales!”), constantly remind subscribers of your existence and that the book needs to be taken.
When making a pre-sale, you need to select KDP Select (which will allow you to make free giveaways in the future). At this stage, we put the full price.
Design of Goodreads and Author Central
You definitely need to create accounts in Goodreads (this is the world’s largest recommendation service for book lovers) and in Author Central (this is your author’s “base” on Amazon).
There you need to post your books, biography, photo and links to the RSS blog. (See step 3.)
Through Author Central, you can provide your books with official reviews – either from the press or from professional companies that specialize in reviews.
Step 5. Start of sales
The book is published a couple of days before the official release to make sure that everything looks decent, everything works and the moderators have no complaints about the design of the book.
On the day of release, you make a big discount on your book and do the following:
- make a newsletter on the collected base of readers;
- launch an advertising campaign on social networks, write to everyone “fly – buy!”
- run ads on special sites that specialize in books with discounts (there are a huge number of them. in my list there are more than 140 of them).
After a week, ask everyone in social networks to write reviews.
Step 6. Distribution
When sales go down (naturally), you need to run a giveaway. Amazon allows you to make your books free for 5 days out of 90.
Again, run ads on the same sites with giveaways and discounts.
Write to book bloggers and ask them to download the book and leave the review in a couple of days.
All this will give a sharp surge in downloads, reviews and… purchases for the full cost of the rest of the books in the series. That is why it is desirable to go to Amazon not with one book, but with several.
Further, the same operation must be repeated every 3 months with each of the books – so that all the time there is something on the distribution and sale.
Strategy II: Simpler
Step 1. Pre-sale
We plan that on the day of the official release your book will be distributed for free.
We start pre-sale 10 days before the official release, get a link to Amazon and post it on our own website and wherever possible. When starting a pre-sale, do not forget to select KDP Select.
Step 2. Promo sites for free books
We agree on a promotion on sites where free books are advertised. Tell them when your book will be free on Amazon as part of the KDP Select program (three days will be enough). The giveaway should begin on the day of the official release + 2 days.
Step 3. Promo sites for discounted books
We agree with other sites that specialize in books with discounts. Tell them when the price of your piece will be $0.99 (two days will be enough). Discounts should start one day after the free giveaway.
All of this should yield a large number of downloads and – ideally – a few reviews.
Step 4. We run advertising
On the sixth day after the official release, we launch traffic via AMS (this is amazon’s program that allows you to advertise products on pages with similar products).
Is sheepskin worth dressing?
It’s worth it if you don’t see yourself in any capacity other than a writer. In this case, you simply have no other choice: write the necessary texts, copy resources, translate and act on the above instructions.
Yes, not everyone will be lucky, but personally I was convinced in practice that the lucky one is lucky.
In addition, successful sales on Amazon open the door to all sorts of interesting places – like cool publishing houses in New York (they are called the “Big Five”). If you have evidence of success, the contract with you will be concluded not on general terms, but with good advances. For reference: the general conditions are a circulation of 2000 copies. and $ 2-3 thousand advance. I personally don’t see the point of being published on general terms at all.
But that’s not all. With good sales on Amazon, sales to Hollywood and to cool TV channels like HBO begin.
If you already have a finished work, the basics of promotion on the Web can be studied by taking the course “Writer’s Blog”.