This is it!
This is the final module on how to write and publish your first Kindle book in 30 days.
If you’ve been following along, then you might have your book written by now. If not, that’s okay because there’s no time like the present to start.
Today we’ll finish up with marketing your book, including how to make it a best seller.
Let’s get started!
Finding Your Book’s Category on Amazon
While Amazon shoppers can type keywords into Amazon’s search bar, they can also search Amazon books by category. And even when readers are searching for a particular book by name, they will often browse other books in the same category just to see what else is available.
There are tons of categories on Amazon, and every one of them has its own bestseller list. That’s why you have a better than average chance of best-seller status.
Some folks will drive a ton of traffic to their book over a short period of time to get the best seller status for an hour or a day, ‘manufacturing’ their bestseller status. And while some people will say that’s cheating, I think there is nothing wrong with taking every advantage you can get.
But you can do better than that. By choosing the proper category for your book, you have an excellent chance of maintaining a best-seller status for a much longer, more respectable, and advantageous period of time.
How Do You Research Possible Categories for Your Book?
Research… Lots of research.
- Go to Amazon’s Best Seller List and browse the categories, looking for ones that best fit your book.
- Click on each category that might be a possible fit (left-hand column). Then click on each of the top 10 titles in the Best Seller list.
- Scroll down on each of those ten listings and note which additional categories those books are listed in.
(Note: Categories may not show up on listings until they have hit the top 100 in that category. Otherwise, it simply shows an overall Amazon book sales rank.)
- Pay attention to the placement for each book in each category. The rankings will give you an idea of how well the book is doing in the category. It’s all about getting the right topic in the right category, and it’s not always as easy or intuitive as you might think. Researching other books that are similar to yours will provide insights into what categories you want to be in and how you want to position your book. The same content with a different slant or even a different title may do better in a certain category.
Side Note: I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: If possible, plan to write a series of books rather than just one. Regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, a book series has a much better chance of ranking high in its categories.
That’s because when someone purchases one book in the series and enjoys it, they are extremely likely to go back and buy more books in the same series. Each book acts as an ambassador for all the other books in the series, creating a sales synergy that can help tremendously to get you into the bestseller list and even keep you there.
Amazon will also help you promote other books in your series to anyone who has purchased one of them by suggesting that they buy more from the same series.
- Your goal is to find two different categories in the Kindle store for your book: a broad and a second, more specific one.
For example, “Learn Like a Polymath” is currently ranking at #14 in Memory Improvement, but it’s also #20 in Creativity Self-Help and #35 in Memory Improvement Self-Help.
And if those categories sound nearly the same, welcome to the world of Kindle categories where there is practically a category and sub-category and sometimes a sub-sub category for everything.
Be thankful for the many categories because they will help you reach the coveted bestseller status and sell more books.
- Look at the “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought” list on each listing, and you’ll notice many of them are books in the same series (Cough cough, you’re paying attention, right? You want to write a series, not a single book.)
- Take notes of all the categories in the niche where your book could appear. Make notes of what other categories your competitors’ books are appearing.
- Clicking a few of those categories at random, look at the other books people are buying in these categories.
- If all of this sounds overwhelming, it will make more sense when you actually start doing this.
Now that you’re getting a feel for what categories make sense for your book, decide where your book would be shelved in a real bookstore or Kindle’s virtual bookstore.
- When you upload your book choose the two categories – one broad and one specific – that best fit your book.
Devote some time to this process but don’t sweat it too much. I’ve seen people become paralyzed because they couldn’t decide which categories to choose. It’s far better to choose two categories that are “close enough” than not to upload your book.
And if need be, you can adjust the categories later when you gain more insight into how the entire process works.
Pricing Your Book
Pricing your book might seem tricky but remember that you can change your price any time you choose. Are sales down? Reduce the price. Are sales booming? Then you might want to increase the price.
I talk mostly about non-fiction, but for you fiction writers, here are a few things to consider when pricing your book.
How long is your book? The longer it is, the more you can usually charge.
What genre is your book? Some genres command a higher price than others, so pay attention to this when doing your category research.
Are you self-publishing? As a new author, if you’re self-publishing, you’re going to charge less than if a mainstream publisher represented you. If you were using a publisher, they would be earning most of the money, so by charging less and not splitting the money with a publisher, you can potentially earn more.
Do you have a following? If you have followers, then you can charge more. If you are new to fiction, you might want to start at 99 cents to build your audience and increase to $2.99 or $4.99 once your sales pick up.
If you’re doing a fiction book series when the series is complete, you can release one more book – a compilation of all of the books in the series in one volume for a higher price than any single volume costs—still, less than it costs to purchase all of the volumes separately.
Again, how long is your book? 300 pages can command a higher price than 50 pages. But the smart non-fiction author will split that 300-page book into 3-6 books and create a series.
Is your niche specialized? If you’ve written the millionth book on a topic, you’re not going to be able to charge as much as you can if your book is positioned as something unique or revolutionary.
How much is the big benefit worth? If you’re writing non-fiction, then you’re offering some sort of big benefit to your readers. How much is that benefit worth to them?
For example, if you’re teaching people to save 15 minutes every day, that might not be worth as much to them as teaching them to revolutionize their lives completely.
What is the perceived value of the contents of a book? This one is huge and counterintuitive. When pricing your book, it’s the readers’ perception that matters more than the actual content you deliver. You can offer the most valuable advice or training in the world, but if the reader doesn’t perceive it as valuable to them, it’s not worth anything to them, and they won’t buy it.
This isn’t an excuse to make massive promises and then not deliver. You want to write a great book that helps your readers, but you also want to present your book as delivering tremendous value. This is no time to be shy. Toot your horn and let readers know they will get a huge return on their investment.
What does your price say about your book? Regardless of the contents, a $100 book will be perceived as being far more valuable than a 99 cent book. Then again, far fewer people are going to pay $100, so you’ve got to find the right balance.
What’s the biggest factor of all in pricing a non-fiction book? Specificity. The more specific your book is, the more you can charge. A book that teaches general knowledge to building contractors isn’t perceived as valuable. It teaches building contractors how to build and sell million-dollar homes in suburban areas of major U.S. cities.
Non-fiction Pricing Strategies
I’ll give you some tips here which may or may not work for every non-fiction book, but it should give you a better idea of where to start.
99 cents is a good price to choose when:
- You’re using the book for lead generation, and your goal isn’t to make money but to get your book into as many hands as possible.
- You’re writing a short book that essentially addresses one question or problem.
- You’re brand new to your niche and completely unknown.
$2.99 is a good price when:
- You’ve started to build a reputation in your niche.
- Your book goes in-depth about the topic.
- You feel confident your book is worth more than $2.99, but you’re still relatively unknown, or you’re still more interested in generating leads than charging a higher price.
$3.49 to $4.99 is a good price when:
- Your book goes in-depth on the topic and offers a high return on investment.
- You’re delivering awesome results, as proven by your reviews or testimonials.
- You include step-by-step plans and instructions.
- Your book stands alone with creative ideas and solutions seldom found elsewhere.
$4.99 to $9.99 is a good price when:
- Your book is a full-blown power-packed 200 pages of the awesome good stuff your readers love.
- It’s several books in one.
- You’re well-known, and people eagerly buy your books regardless of price.
Don’t sweat the pricing because you can always move it up or down as you see it. If you raise the price and sales go down markedly, lower the price.
Remember that sometimes you will earn more by selling fewer copies at a higher price than by selling more copies at a lower price. Remember to keep records and do your math.
Kindle Sweet Spot Pricing
When you price your book in the $2.99 to $9.99 range, you make a 70% royalty on Kindle. Price your book at 99 cents or over $9.99, and you’ll make 35%.
Priced at $1.99, and you’ll fall into what is known as the Kindle Pricing Black Hole. From what I’ve read, people generally don’t buy Kindle books at $1.99. Maybe 99 cents is something they don’t have to think about; $ 2.99 connotates quality, and $1.99 is a confusing limbo land to buyers – or at least that’s my theory.
Your Book Description
It’s amazing how many authors slap their book onto Kindle and never give a thought to the book description. This is essentially the SALES LETTER that sells your book.
The right description will double, triple, and even quadruple your sales. That’s why you’ll want to take as much time crafting your book description as you do a regular sales letter. Use bullet points. Spicy bullet points. Enticing bullet points. Bullet points that make readers say, “I gotta know how he does that!”
If you don’t know how to write sales copy, then take a crash course or get some help.
Look at other books in your niche and find the ones with outstanding book descriptions. See what they say and HOW they say it. Make notes and work on your own.
Add reviews to your book description. If you don’t have any reviews, get some. Hand out copies to interested parties who will read it and write your reviews.
If you can, get people who are authorities on your topic to write the reviews. If not, get anybody. Just get those reviews and add them in.
7.5 Steps to Being a Super Successful Authorpreneur
Remember, you’re not just an author; you’re also a book marketer. You wear both hats and, like it or not, they are equally important.
1: Build your tribe.
- Build your topic-based Facebook Group
- Build your followers on Twitter
- Build your email list
2: Build your relationships.
- Let people see the real you in your posts, tweets and emails.
- Engage people by answering their questions.
- Tell your story. You’ve got to have a story that people can latch on to and relate to. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, either. “I was so terrible at doing X that I embarrassed myself half to death. That’s when I swallowed my pride and did Y until the day came when I could do Z.”
- Showcase your knowledge, share your wisdom and give your opinions.
3: Have a website.
- This is your ground control, your central hub where people can come to read your posts, announcements, ideas, and so forth.
- You can make your site appear as though it’s been around for a while by backdating posts, such as one per month for the last couple of years. This shows that you are an established author. (I know… sneaky, right? It works!)
- Make your site look professional. If you don’t know how to do that, hire someone. It’s worth it.
- Get a professional headshot and use it. The keyword here is professional.
4: Hold something back.
Create a special chapter that’s not in the book itself or a super-duper precious bonus that you give away when you launch your book to create excitement and sales.
5: Choose a launch date and announce it to the world.
This will keep you on track and motivated.
6: Find launch partners.
These people will help you spread the word that your book is now available, and people should buy it right now!
- Podcasts – Ask to be a guest on podcasts related to your book. Ask for the date when your book launches. Podcasts are prerecorded so that you can do this ahead of time, and they can use it on the date you specify. Be respectful when you ask and don’t demand. The podcaster can send a lot of book buyers your way.
- Guest blogging – Ask to do guest blog posts on blogs related to your topic. Ask them to release the guest post when your book launches.
- Facebook – Make a list of topic-related Facebook pages and groups. Ask them to promote your book on your launch date. Some will and some won’t, and that’s okay.
- Twitter – Post on Twitter multiple times leading up to launch day, on launch day, and the next day, too.
- JV Partners – Find JV partners who will email their list for you. Some will do it because they like you and your book, and others will do it if you pay them (paid sponsorship).
7: Build a launch kit.
- Use a single page of your website for your launch kit. This page is for media who want to interview you, bloggers who want to promote you, email list owners who will email for you, etc.
- Add sample emails to the page so that list owners can copy and paste rather than write an email themselves.
- Provide sample Facebook posts and tweets people can use to promote your book.
- Add your book cover image (essential!)
7.5: Create Your Amazon Author Central Page
This is your author page on Amazon, and you’ll go to AuthorCentral.Amazon.com to create it.
- Buy a domain name for your book, such as MyBookTitle.com, and use this as a redirect to your Amazon Central Page. It’s a lot easier to give out this URL than to spell out the Amazon page where your author profile is found. People will be able to see ALL of your books on this page, not just the one you’re promoting now.
- Link your blog to your Author Central page so people can find your blog and read your posts.
- Link to social media on your Page, and your Twitter feed will show up right there on the page.
- Include your bio, photos from book signings, headshot, schedule of events, book trailer videos, and so forth.
Whoo-hoo! Launch day is here!
- Set aside the whole day because you might need it.
- Stay engaged with people promoting your launch.
- Post ranking screenshots on Facebook along with a link to the book listing or your Author Central Page if you have more than one book. People get excited when they see your ranking increasing, and when they get excited, they start buying (if they haven’t already) and maybe even share with social media friends.
- Visit your partner sites and thank them.
- Say “share this” when posting to Facebook. Tell people what to do, and they are much more likely to do it.
- Thank everybody. You cannot say thank you too much.
How to Make a Best Seller
There’s a formula going around that says to get a best seller on Amazon; you get a few dozen people to email about your book all at the same time.
You sell a bunch of copies in an hour and BAM! You’ve hit the Amazon top sellers list.
But you’re only on there for an hour or two, and then you’re knocked right back down.
That’s better than nothing, but let’s see if we can improve upon that.
- Use the 7.5 step formula you just learned.
- Extend the timeline from one hour to one week.
- Push hard. HARD. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Remind your partners. Thank your partners. Keep them updated. Ask them to do it again and again.
Your goal is to stay in the Top 10 Best Sellers list for at least 3 days. A week is better. If you can keep your book on the best-selling list for a week, Amazon is going to put a banner on your page that says, “Best Seller!” Now that is valuable. Take a screenshot of that. Take 10. Pass them around on social media and to your partners. Celebrate because now you truly are a best-selling author.
After you launch, keep promoting. Half your job as an author is to promote your books. Even when you’re writing the second book, you need to be promoting the first one.
Track your sales and watch for the correlations between promotions and sales, price changes and sales, launches of your second book with sales of your first book, and so forth.
Tweak your keywords, your categories, your cover art, and so forth.
I could write an entire book on launching a book, but right now, you have more than enough to do your first book launch successfully.
Remember to take plenty of notes as you go. Like anything else, this is a learning process. Don’t depend on your memory for what worked and what didn’t work – write it down. These notes will be invaluable when you launch your second book, your third, and your tenth. 😊
Can you write and launch a book in 30 days? Yes!
Is it okay if you take 60 or 90 days? Yes!
Just be careful that you don’t get bogged down with trying to make things perfect. No book is perfect, and no book launch is perfect. Take solace in knowing you will make a few mistakes, and it will still work out just fine.
You can do this!
If you haven’t already started writing your book, then brainstorm some ideas and choose one by tomorrow at this time.
If you’ve already started writing your book, reread these modules and make a list of things to do once you send your book to your editor.
And in 30, 60, or 90 days from now, you can add “Best Selling Author” to your list of accomplishments!
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