These days if you want to make any kind of impression (read money) when you publish your book you have to be fluent in the dark art of the Amazon Algorithm.
Unfortunately, nobody actually understands how they work.
Not even those at Amazon.
However, there is a thing or two you can do to get Amazon to sit up and take notice.
Your Own Team
One plan of attack is to have your very own Launch Team.
This is not a group of friends having wine and canapés at the local book store while you sign copies of your book as an adoring crowd looks on.
Those days are gone. Even Ruth Rendell can’t rustle up a crowd these days.
Welcome to the new world of self-publishing and becoming your own marketing manager.
A launch team to the self-published author will help create a buzz with your book.
Will help to get more eyes on it.
And if you have done your job well, the sales will follow.
It’s like this. You’ve spent all those weeks or months (or more!) on this baby.
You’ve done the researching and writing.
You got through the torture of picking a title, selecting a subtitle and creating a cover.
You’ve traversed the editing doldrums and overcome formatting fear.
You finally get to the ridiculously exciting time when you get to hit ‘PUBLISH’!
Your baby is sent off into the world to fend for itself.
It is a moment fraught with mixed emotions – fear – “What if it’s not good enough?” Elation – “I did this!” Relief – “It’s over!” Pride…
A few hours later, there it is on Amazon! You’re an author!!
The Ranking System
Let’s talk numbers. There is this thing Amazon has called ‘ranking’.
This is a series of numbers that, before you made it to the elite world of the published author, you probably never even noticed.
It looks like this –
That one is me.
I’m selling around one book a day with this title. Nothing to write home about.
That one is JK Rowling.
Not sure how many books she is selling a day, but let’s just assume she’s not losing sleep over the mortgage payments (on her castle).
So how can a launch team tweak the Amazon system?
The more downloads you get, (in a short space of time), the more Amazon notices you.
200 downloads in a day will mean more to Amazon than 300 in a month.
That flurry of activity will move you UP the ranks.
And when you move UP the ranks, more people get to see you.
And if they like what they see, then they download too and you move UP some more.
And so it goes.
So how do you start that magical cycle?
This is where your Launch Team comes in.
You offer your book for free, for a limited time and you get your team to download the book.
And tell everyone they know to download. And you will tell everyone you know to download. And so will your mum.
This will have the organic effect of bubbling you book UP the FREE book ranks, NOT the paid book. We aren’t there yet…
The Bait & Switch
While you are hot property you do a switch. You jump ship from the free store to the paid.
Because you have bubbled up so high in the free store (and there have been so many eyes on you).
When you do the switch, lots of people are still looking.
A jump to 99c while there is still that buzz, if the cover is good and the description is catchy, who can resist?
The downloads will continue.
But now you are in the paid store.
This is when you can start to get excited about the rankings.
You will continue to bubble up and up and up and up and up those rankings…
Plan on taking the day off so you can spend it refreshing your browser.
Seeing that rank number get smaller and smaller, as the downloads get higher and higher, is all part of the fun!!
The Power of Peer Pressure
Why are reviews important?
They don’t affect the algorithms, but other people will be far more likely to buy if you have a swag of reviews.
If so many people are reading it, it must be good, right?
It tells a potential purchaser that this book is worth a look.
Admit it, you’ve probably been influenced by seeing a heap of reviews on a book.
People are more likely to buy.
Tips for the Team
Send your team a pdf copy ahead of time – give them at least a couple of weeks to read it.
Ask them to read your book.
On launch day ask that they download the book (for free).
Ask that they leave a review in the next few days.
Be super clear about instructions. One instruction per contact.
Review Tips for the Team
You are looking for an honest review.
While reading your pdf version it will help if they jot down a few notes.
- First impressions.
- Any feelings they had.
- What they liked.
- What it made them think or do differently.
- How it helped.
And there is nothing wrong with a few 4 star-er in there amongst all the 5 stars!
But remember, it’s not all about getting up there on launch day… staying up there should be your long term goal. However, that is a whole ‘nother topic
Suffice to say, it helps to begin with a bang!
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