February 22nd, 2012 | by Ezra Barany
If you want to become an Amazon bestseller, going through Amazon’s KDP Select program is a great way to do it. But it takes more than just signing up with KDP Select. By following a simple process I’ve outlined below, you can practically guarantee becoming an Amazon bestseller.
I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon. I hate that Amazon has taken a lot of business from small book store owners, but I love that Amazon has put the author above the seller. When trying to get my bestselling thriller The Torah Codes in local bookstores, I found that I’d be losing money from each sale while the local bookstore would keep all the profits. Amazon offers up to 70% of the profits to the author. If brick and mortar bookstores want to stay in business, they need to think of the author and innovate their business.
I hate that Amazon has such a poor quality print-on-demand company called CreateSpace, but I love how they make it so affordable to authors and make it possible for brilliant writers who don’t have the money to afford publishing through other print-on-demand companies to get their books out there.
I hate that Amazon’s KDP Select program encourages authors to not put their ebooks on other online bookstores, but I love how Amazon’s KDP Select program offers more profits for the author and a way of easily getting on the Amazon bestsellers lists. My bride and book coach Beth Barany tried the KDP Select program for her ebook for authors, Writers Adventure Guide. KDP Select allowed her to select a day to offer her ebook for free. She “sold” 552 books that day, and reached #1 on the bestsellers lists in two categories.
So what is the KDP Select program exactly? KDP Select is a program for authors to get a higher profit from their ebook sales, and an opportunity to set the cost of their ebooks to zero. There are a lot of places to learn about the program in detail such as here and here.
But what I want to focus on is who the program is good for and how you can achieve bestseller status by using it.
Who The KDP Select Program Is For
KDP Select is not good for authors whose ebook is designed for cranky old men on farms. But then, if your market is cranky old men on farms, you shouldn’t have made it an ebook in the first place. Cranky old men on farms usually don’t read ebooks.
The point is that your ebook needs to be for people who often use a kindle, iPad, or iPhone for reading. These days, that’s most people but there are some groups, like cranky old men on farms, that don’t fit this requirement.
If your fans-to-be are frequent Kindle, iPad, and iPhone users for reading, the next thing to consider is how much profits you’re making from the other online book stores. If you’re making less than 10% of your sales on the other online book stores combined (90% of your sales are on Amazon), or if you’re making under $10 a month from all the other online book stores combined, then it’s a good idea to remove the availability of your book from all those book stores and make it exclusively at Amazon to join the KDP Select program.
How to Become a Bestseller
When you sign up with the 90-day program, you can choose up to five of those 90 days to offer your ebook for free. As I mentioned before, my bride Beth Barany did that for her book The Writers Adventure Guide and with some prompt same-day marketing on Facebook and Twitter and promotion to her list of 1000 subscribers, 552 people downloaded her book. She instantly became an Amazon bestseller that day and reached #1 in two categories: “Publishing & Books” reference books and “Writing Skills” reference books. She also reached the “Words & Language” reference books bestsellers list. After my bride’s book had its free day, she made over 75 book sales when the price returned. It was a HUGE jump from her previous sales!
Here are the vital keys to making sure your book hits bestseller status:
1. Specific Categories – When putting your book up on KDP, make sure your book is categorized in as specific and obscure a category as possible. It’s much easier for my book The Torah Codes to compete with other books in the “Jewish Fiction” category than in the “Thriller” category. There are way too many books in the “Thriller” category for mine to be noticed. It’s no surprise that I reached #2 in Amazon UK’s “Torah” category after selling just three books. Not many books are about the Torah.
2. Cheerleaders – Find huge fans of you and your book that would be excited to share news about your free book. Write Facebook and Twitter posts announcing your free book, posts that your cheerleaders can cut and paste on their social networks. Similarly, write emails that your friends can forward easily to their friends. Beth had her list of 1000 fans she emailed, so she didn’t need cheerleaders. For those of you who don’t have a list of 1000 fans, cheerleaders are a key tactic.
3. 9-5-4-1 – This tactic is simple. Have your cheerleaders cut and paste your promotional posts to their social networks nine days before the event, five days before the event, four days before the event, the day before the event, and the day of the event. Giving your fans-to-be frequent advanced warning of the upcoming day when your ebook will be free will ensure they’ll follow through with downloading it.
4. Check Hourly – On the day that your ebook is free, the bestseller ranking is updated hourly, so be sure to check your ranking every hour. When your ranking improves, take a screenshot to post on Facebook, Twitter, and your website as evidence of your success.
Remember, being a bestseller and making a lot of money are two very different things. I did not make much money when I became a bestseller in the UK from three sales. And Beth made no money from the 552 sales when her book was free. Reaching bestseller status does, however, give you credibility. And don’t be sheepish about it. Remember that when you’re a bestseller, that means people desired your book more than all the other books in that category because they like what you had to offer. No reason to feel sheepish about that!
Book marketing mentor, Ezra Barany is the author of the award-winning bestseller, The Torah Codes. Contact Ezra today to begin the conversation on how he can help you now via Facebook, Twitter, or contact him through this blog, or email: EZRA at THETORAHCODES dot COM.