Many readers and authors would laugh if I announced, “My book has broken into the Top 80,000 best-selling books at Amazon.com.” Yet that’s what I did. I also updated that announcement three weeks later when my book fell to 278,000 and then broke into the Top 10,000. You see, my ranking began at 950,000 – and I like progress.
Read on if you care to learn why these rankings matter for indie fiction and non-fiction authors, as well as business people who know they have a book (or article) in them but are too busy to take the leap.
The Amazon Kindle Select program fueled my rise (and fall and then rise). As a member I am allowed five giveaway days every three months. This promotion tool allows an author of articles and books to get some much-needed attention – if the author does some simple promotion.
You may wonder, why give away a book for free? Free is the new windfall. By sharing your article or book for free, you have the potential to achieve significant downloads. If you do this well, the Amazon system will be very pleased and begin improving your book ranking – even though no actual sales have occurred. Yet sales eventually will occur. More on that later.
In June of 2012, my first free day netted 209 downloads. I was thrilled because a writing colleague had told me that even 100 downloads can be significant.
In July of 2012 my second free day netted 5,376 downloads. I was stunned. My ranking soared from about 275,000 to as low as 9,950. How did it happen? I’ll tell you. But first…
Think about it. You are a new author, or you have a new business or acting or singing career and you need a boost. You create a Kindle Select article – a fairly short piece – or short book. It must be…
- fun to read
- biographical and/or insightful.
But it can also include contact info and promotions for your product, service or expertise. How do 5,376 new fans sound?
HOW TO MANAGE A FREE DAY W/ KINDLE SELECT
As of July 3, 2012 my Amazon ranking for my new title is about 17,000. I guarantee my rank will continue to drop, until I can generate more sales and promote another free day. And yet for a couple days I was ranked in the Top 100 in three categories.
If you can get Amazon to pay attention – “Attention must be paid,” said the wife of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s classic play “Death of a Salesman” – you will be rewarded.
When I planned my second free day, I knew I would need help. This is how I got it.
First, I found a list of blogs that announce free Kindle books. Some are free, others charge a small fee.
My Twitter following was only about 500, so I hired Book Tweeting Service. For a modest fee, three days before my free Kindle Select day they began to Tweet promos that I wrote – with their help – that included links to Amazon, of course, and hashtags, such as #FREE #BOOK and #Kindle, etc.
I also purchased a “free alert” from Orangeberry Virtual Book Tours. They Tweeted my message all day long. Dedication is worth paying for.
I re-tweeted (RT) all the above Tweets as I saw them, and added replies and thank yous with my link.
I remained engaged online from 7 AM to 10 PM on the free day, with breaks, of course, and created new tweets as needed, which BTS and Orangeberry kindly RT’d.
Also, since I could tell I was doing fairly well in the United Kingdom, as their 24-hour free day was coming to a close, I featured tweets that reminded those readers to “get it quick.” Afterwards, I concentrated only on the United States.
How much did all the help cost? $180.98. In the hours following the free day, a trickle of sales — readers who missed the free day? — quickly returned $54. More sales will follow, so the outlay is a no-brainer.
MORE TIPS FOR KINDLE EBOOK RANK
Since I created the short links for my Tweets at bit.ly, that site’s statistics told me which link was most popular. Naturally, I kept pushing that link.
Also, the music theme of my book provided an obvious audience. So before the free Kindle Select day, I grew my Twitter account by engaging that niche and a couple others. In short, authors must define their audience – and then engage them.
By the way, throughout the day I met some wonderful people who showed an interest in my project, so I was more than happy to RT their announcements and ideas. A sense of community and sharing developed, and it was very nice. I don’t care to compete with other writers. It is better to encourage them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to inform book lovers of their options. For example, I wrote blog posts that revealed a Kindle device is not needed to get a free copy of a Kindle ebook: Just download free Kindle software. In the posts, I advised readers to Google “Free Kindle” for apps and other information. And I provided links for PC and Mac users. Make it easy.
But what about sales? Some authors merely post their book and it takes off. Why? I don’t know. Karma? Or maybe their book falls into a very clear genre. Millions of others get nowhere, and this is particularly true of non-genre fiction. Suffice it to say, if you want your beautiful book or article to get some attention, you must get in front of it and promote! Don’t be shy.
Kindle Select free days – if well managed – can get you some attention. As you improve your rank, Amazon begins including your title in simple promotions with other titles. This adds fuel to the fire. But…
As I said before, my rank will drop until I find new ways of engaging my readers and audience. The ups and downs are like an ocean tide: forward movement, retreat; forward movement… and so on. In other words, marketing never stops.
But that’s okay, because wishing and hoping rarely works. And it is exciting to your book rise and shine.