Amazon is the #1 place for readers to discover books. Love ’em or hate ’em, Amazon is king, and your book needs to be listed there in order to get in front of readers. Marketing a book on Amazon is a very specific task and can be different from general book marketing, since you have to play by Amazon’s rules. Below are some key steps you need to take in order to learn how to market your book on Amazon.
1. Prepare your Book With a Good Cover and Professional Editing
Make sure your book is well-edited and has a good cover. Our data suggests that using a professional editor and cover designer is the way to go. Don’t know where to find cover designers or editors? Try a service like Reedsy where you can shop for the perfect person to help you. Want more data on what makes a good cover and a well edited book? Here’s some past articles on cover design and editing.
2. Setup your Metadata
Metadata is just a fancy phrase for ‘data about your book’. Amazon allows you to set the metadata when you setup your book through the KDP interface, so you’ll want to think about it before publishing. The easiest way to optimize your metadata is to make sure your book description is at least 100 words, and uses genre specific terms that people will be searching for. If you struggle with what to write, try using the if…then construct: “if you like suspenseful thrillers, then you’ll love this book” or “if you liked Gone Girl, then you’ll love this book”.
3. Get Reviews Before You Start Selling
Reviews are key to a book selling. On Amazon, some readers will completely ignore your book if it has zero reviews, because there will always be 5 other books for them to choose from. Getting the first early reviews is hard, but don’t get discouraged, and whatever you do, don’t cheat, Amazon will find out. You are permitted to politely ask people to review your book, but you can’t pay them to do it. One tried and true technique for getting reviews is to run a giveaway, gifting copies to the winners. Once the giveaway is over, you can politely ask the winners to review your book. There’s no guarantee that they will review it (or review it positively), but it’s a good way to get started. Sound like a pain? You can always have us do the legwork for you with our Giveaway Package.
4. Understand the Rankings Game
Amazon sales are all about rankings: The higher you rank in the Amazon popularity charts, the more new readers will discover your book. Nobody knows precisely how the Amazon ranking algorithm works, but we do know that it’s highly correlated with volume of sales over short periods of time. This means that in order to rise in the ranks, you need to try to sell lots of copies over a brief period of time. You cannot ‘game the system’ but understanding that high volumes of sales leads to better rankings can help you plan a successful marketing strategy.
5. Plan your Marketing for a 48 Hour Blitz
After #4, we know what you’re thinking: How do you sell lots of copies of your books in a short period of time? This is where you use the “stacking” strategy, namely, planning multiple promotional opportunities for your book at once. Many authors book promotions with services like Freebooksy or Bargain Booksy during a free or discount price promotion to spur a spike in sales. Readers subscribed to these services are always on the hunt for great, bargain reads, and a high volume of them will download your title if they find it appealing. Dont know where you should price your book during a promotion? We can help you with that. Once you have a price promotion scheduled, start stacking up other things you can do on that day: Post to social media; send an email to your list; and tell your friends and family.
On the day of your promotions, clear your schedule as much as you can. Make sure you can respond to social media inquiries from potential readers, or handle any last minute marketing decisions that you may need to make. Don’t expect to get a lot of writing done on these days, as marketing should be the priority. In addition to sales of the book you are promoting, you should see what we call ‘halo sales’ or sales from your backlist. This is a huge benefit to marketing and is often overlooked.
7. Wait 90 days, Rinse, Repeat.
Figuring out how to market your book once is great, but the job of marketing never stops. Make sure your sales stay healthy by running stacked promotions once every 90 or so days. Bumping your book(s) up in the charts every few months will get them in front of new readers, and help you gain a devoted following. You can focus on content marketing for your books in the downtime between your promotion days to keep sales at a consistent level.