Amazon. Here’s how to make a retail Goliath work for you.
Hitting “visibility spots”
Amazon is the #1 search engine for books. One of your main marketing goals should be to get as much “visibility” as possible from Amazon. This means showing up high on search results for relevant keywords, in genre categories and sub-categories, and on temporary lists, like “Hot New Releases”.
To start, it’s important to understand how Amazon ranks its products. Though no one knows exactly how Amazon’s algorithm works, we know it is influenced by 3 main factors, listed here by order of importance:
- Daily sales: Number of times your book gets purchased or downloaded every day.
- Reviews: Number of reviews your book has, and the average number of stars.
- Time: Generally, newly-launched books get more visibility.
What can you do to work the algorithm in your favor? First, make sure you get as many sales and reviews as you can during the first week, in order to hit the “Hot New Releases” list.
Then, be clever about your metadata, and particularly the 2 genre categories you can set for your book. Look for sub-categories where the competition seems scarce (i.e. where the books on the first page have less than 100 reviews). Getting to #1 in a niche category won’t make you rich, but it will grant you a lot of visibility, which means more sales and more reviews.
The pros of “exclusivity”
Through its “KDP Select” program, Amazon incentivizes you to be “exclusive” to them. That means making your ebook available only on Amazon (no iBooks, B&N, Kobo, etc.) for a limited time.
In exchange for your 90 days of exclusivity, they’ll offer you added visibility and the possibility to run, for 5 days:
- Either a “kindle countdown” discount: Discount your book and appear in Amazon’s “discounted ebooks” lists;
- Or a free promotion: Make your book free and appear on the “free ebooks” lists.
These are very useful because they allow you to run a Bookbub promotion (or similar) in parallel.
Finally, if you opt-in for KDP Select, your book will also automatically be added to Kindle Unlimited (Amazon’s subscription service for readers). For some authors, Kindle Unlimited has become a non-negligeable source of revenue (and visibility!).
Whether you choose to be exclusive or not, please don’t try to “cheat” Amazon by enrolling in their Select program when your book is still available elsewhere. Amazon will find out and will penalize you.
That’s it for this course! I honestly had tons of fun writing this, and I hope you got something out of it as well. If you have any feedback or questions, you can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy writing, and happy marketing!