Monday, October 20, 2014

On Monday, October 20, 2014 by Vicki Lesage in ,
I don't mean to brag, but there's no other way to say it: My book, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller! After doing a little happy dance, I figured I should share my success story to help other authors, whether you're self-published or traditionally published.

How to Become an Amazon Best Selling Author
Photo credit: loranger / Foter / CC BY

What does it mean to be an Amazon Best Seller?

While there are no strict guidelines, it's generally accepted that you can call yourself an Amazon Best-Selling Author if at least one of your books has reached the #1 spot in any of its categories. The book is an Amazon Best-Selling Book if it reaches #1 in any of its categories.

In my case, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer reached #1 in Humor Essays so that qualifies my book as an Amazon Best Seller and me as an Amazon Best-Selling Author.

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer #1 Amazon Best Seller
See that nice orange banner on the right? #1 Best Seller!

- Your book only has to reach the ranking, it doesn't have to sustain it for a certain period of time. Some books only reach #1 for a few hours. Mine held its spot for several days.
- If your book is in a super duper sub-category, like Mysteries & Thrillers > Mysteries > Cat Mysteries > Mysteries Where The Cats Wear Glasses and Smoke Pipes you can reach #1 pretty easily but it's not quite as big of an accomplishment as reaching #1 in a larger category. You might not want to brag unless it's something really worth bragging about. Then again, I totally understand your excitement!

Here are the highest rankings my book achieved:
All Kindle eBooks: 306
All Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs: 12
All Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs: 5
All Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment: 2
All Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Humor: 2
All Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Humor > Humor Essays: 1

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer #1 Amazon Best Seller in several categories
Amazon only shows three categories on your product page, but you can click through to the other categories to check your ranking yourself. And be sure to take a screen shot for posterity!

In addition to reaching #1 in my subcategory, it reached pretty high in other categories, too.

Benefits of Being an Amazon Best Seller

I moved more copies during that week than I did in the prior 4 months since its release. How many? Well, just like her age, a lady never tells. But in your case, depending on your category you'll probably need to sell at least 300 during one week to move significantly in the rankings. I was closer to 1,000.

And the reviews have already started to roll in, just another side benefit of getting your book in more hands.

Another side benefit? Increased sales of my first book, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl. That surprised me because I would have thought people would read Potty Trainer before springing for Party Girl, but I guess since you could get both books for less than $6, people didn't over-think it.

I Want To Be an Amazon Best Seller

Now, how do you copy my success? Here's a rough guide:

1. Write an awesome book, have it professionally edited, design a great cover that represents your genre, and snag at least 10 reviews. (We can help with certain author services and there's a wealth of information online to help you with that as well, but that's way too much to cover in this post.)

2. Reduce the price to $0.99 for one week. If you're in KDP Select you can use their Kindle Countdown Deal feature which is super easy and retains the higher royalty rate even during the price promo.

3. Submit your deal to as many sites/newsletters as possible that feature bargain ebooks.

4. Announce your promo on your website, blog, social media, newsletter - anywhere you can think of.

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer #1 Amazon Best Seller in Humor Essays
When you reach #1, your book will be the first one people see when browsing in your category.

The key is to temporarily reduce your price so that you have a reason to be included in the deals emails, thus getting your masterpiece in front of new potential readers. If your book does well enough during the promo, your ranking will skyrocket, leading to the following benefits:

1. Bragging rights for your Amazon ranking
2. Increased visibility of your book, leading to even more sales
3. Increased sales even after your book has gone back to full price

How Do I Become an Amazon Best Seller?

Anyone can use the steps I outlined above. Anyone has the potential to succeed, especially if you have a great cover and a well-written blurb.

But the REAL secret is WHERE to submit your book deal. Unless you have a huge following of your own, promoting to fans on your site and social media will only result in a trickle of sales. Submitting to the right book deals sites and newsletters is key.

How to Become an Amazon Bestselling Author
Nice name, huh? And not many people have it.

Book deals sites/newsletters can be categorized into the following:

- Waste of time: Free site/newsletter but relatively no audience
- Waste of money: Paid site/newsletter but relatively no audience
- Risky use of time: Free site/newsletter that seems to be a good bet
- Risky use of money: Paid site/newsletter that seems to be a good bet
- Good use of time: Free site/newsletter with big, active audience
- Good use of money: Paid site/newsletter with big, active audience

One of the problems with these types of promos is that since you're looking to maximize sales in a short period of time (in order to have the best chance of reaching #1), you're tempted to submit to as many sites/newsletters as possible to increase the payoff. I get that. The problem is, it's really hard to measure the success of each site/newsletter when they're lumped together. Some crappy sites might be taking the credit of a surprisingly effective site simply because they both featured your deal at the same time.

How do you know which ones are worth your time and money? You don't. Not unless you go through a lot of trial and error (and wasted time and money).

I have two recommendations:

1. Give it a shot! As an author you're probably a reader, too. Submit to the sites/newsletters that you use yourself. Track the results as closely as possible, which is easier if your ads are spaced out, but if your ads are spaced out too much then you might not see as large of a spike (which is what will get you to #1). If you try this, feel free to leave a comment and let us know the results (and feel free to include a link to your Amazon book listing for a little free promo for you).

2. Try our Promo Lite service. We've done all the research so that we can get the most bang for your buck on the most effective sites. We use it for our own books (see my book up there?) and for our clients. The minimum number of books we've sold through it is 300, so it pays for itself. But you could easily sell 1,000 or more, depending on your genre.

Regardless of which option you choose, one thing is for sure - if you have a great book, you should definitely try a price promo to increase visibility and sales for your work. Worst case, you'll get a few extra sales. But best case is your sales and ranking will skyrocket, earning you the title of Amazon Best-Selling Author. Not bad, huh?