amazon reviews

How to Get Amazon Reviews For Your Book: Top Strategies for Targeting Quality Reviewers

As a self-published author, having a portfolio of authentic positive Amazon reviews, right from the beginning, can skyrocket your book launch and make your book stand out in your market. And yet– it is one of the hardest things to get.

For any Amazon product, positive or negative product reviews can be the difference between success and failure. For books, this is even more so. There’s nothing more painful after going through the blood, sweats and tears of writing, publishing, and launching your book, to get very few to no sales because of your lack of reviews.

But where do we start to get Amazon reviews? Who do we ask? How do we get reviews that our audience will respect? How many people should we have on our launch team to guarantee a certain number of reviews for setting up promotional sites? How many reviews is enough?

In this post, I am going to take you through the step-by-step process for getting all the Amazon reviews you need for your next book launch and to continue to get reviews from readers and organic traffic after the launch is over. We will look at the ways to get legitimate Amazon reviews for your book so that you can reap the benefits of turning your book into a thriving long-term business.

Amazon Reviews and the Review Process

When you publish a book, there are essentially 6 things that score at making your book a bestseller.

They are:

  1. killer book cover.
  2. An irresistible book title.
  3. An amazing book description.
  4. Stealthy keywords.
  5. Targeted book categories.

And… Book Reviews.

When Amazon ranks your book, the ranking is based on the volume of downloads your book gets and, the amount of reviews stacked on the book’s review page. Amazon’s system is designed to take notice of books that are getting steady traction when reviews get posted.

This is why it is critical that when you launch your book you set everything up to get as many reviews as possible to get momentum going, increase organic traffic, and drive your rankings in the search engines. This means a higher percentage of people writing reviews for your book, not just at launch, but for months (and years) down the road.

The bottom line is, reviews carry big weight in the form of social proof that can drive your book to a bestseller and continue to bring in healthy passive income every month.

Why do reviews matter?

  1. The more reviews you get, the more visibility your book gets. This means more sales and potential organic reviews.
  2. You create a stronger relationship with your readers.
  3. A boatload of reviews adds credibility to your book and brand.

Book reviews for your book on Amazon are one of the defining factors that determine if a potential reader will click the BUY NOW button or not. In fact, if your book has less than 10 reviews, there is a strong chance that your book will get passed over. People want validation before purchasing, and the best way to make that decision is on the front of the product page: reviews.

Amazon Reviewer Guidelines

You can find everything you need to know about posting reviews on Amazon right here under the Community Guidelines. Amazon has tightened the ropes on reviews and as an author, you have to be aware of the tactics that are prohibited.

Here is what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Pay someone to leave a review.  This not only goes against Amazon’s terms, but it could get your book removed from the shelf and your account banned.
  2. Offer a free ‘gift’ in exchange for a review. No gifts allowed. This is still considered payment for a review.
  3. Join Facebook groups offering book review swaps. These sites are bad news. Amazon prohibits review swapping and is considered gaming the system. The Amazon algorithm can easily trace reviews back to these sources.
  4. Offer an Amazon gift card after a review has been published. It works like this: “You download the book and leave a review, and I will send you a gift card.” Again, this is against policy and is considered paying for a review.
  5. Leave a review for an author, then contact that person requesting they leave a review in return. This would be a form blackmail or trapping the other author into guilt. But this doesn’t work and if you receive any such email, inform the other author that you don’t work that way. I did this once and they just removed their review.

Most of these fall under the label of “incentivized reviews“, as there is a form of compensation in exchange for a review by Amazon sellers. Amazon has made it their mission to crack down on these on their platform.

Verified or Unverified Book Reviews

There are two kinds of Amazon reviews: verified and unverified. What is the difference?

According to Amazon:

An “Amazon Verified Purchase” review means they’ve verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn’t receive the product at a deep discount.

Product reviews that are not marked “Amazon Verified Purchase” are valuable as well, but we either can’t confirm that the product was purchased at Amazon or the customer did not pay a price available to most Amazon shoppers.

Verified reviews are favorable and are social proof that the reader did in fact buy the book and has potentially read through it before posting a review. A verified review shows up as a yellow banner that says “Verified Purchase.”

For unverified reviews, in most cases, the reviewer received an advance copy of the book and was possibly on a launch team to support the book’s release. While this is still a legit practice for garnering reviews for your book, if the majority of reviews are non-verified, this could affect your potential customer’s decision to buy or not.

Strategies for Scoring a Boatload of Reviews

There are many ways to get reviews but searching for reviewers to review your book is a time-consuming process. You could waste precious time chasing bad leads and end up with nothing for your effort. So where do you get reviews without spending hordes of time?

No matter how you do it, remember that it isn’t just about quantity but quality as well. While we can’t control what reviewers will say about our work, we can stay focused on writing great content that adds value in order to increase our chances of getting positive reviews.

To get Amazon reviews for your next book launch, or to add reviews to an existing book, consider taking action on these following strategies:

1. The Launch Team (Advance Review Team)

There are many ways to hunt down reviewers for your book. As we have seen, you can contact the top reviewers, target free book review sites, or reach out to book bloggers. These methods, while they may get you a handful of reviews, is time intensive and a lot of work.

I have found, after running over two dozen book launches, that the most effective way to get reviews fast on launch is through setting up a launch team. These are the people who have agreed to read your book in advance and follow up with a review immediately after the book is live.

When it comes to building a launch team, it is about building relationships over the long term. This is why, in order to run an effective launch team, you should focus on the relationship with your early-bird reviewers.

Here is a step-by-step process for organizing your team:

Step-by-Step Process for Setting Up a Launch Team

1. Start building your relationships early. Launch teams don’t just happen. They take work, months of outreaching, and asking the right people if they want to help launch your book when the time is right. You can generate interest by posting snippets of the book on Social media, sharing chapters of your work with your list, and promoting your cover to people.

Share your content and advertise your brand. Communicate with people in person and through online channels about your writing. Keep in mind the purpose for this is to make genuine relationships with people and not to just add them to your launch. And most importantly, to make friends with people who read in your niche, so that your book gets recommended alongside the other books they’re reading.

2. Create your list of potential reviewers. As you build these relationships with your fanbase, start making a list of people who express interest in joining your launch. If you have multiple books and have been through the publishing process already, take note of the readers who have left reviews already.

Contact them closer to the launch of your next book to get them on board. Set up an excel spreadsheet and keep track of the names of people who sign up.

Action Step: Contact people directly and invite them to the launch team. Keep track of early-bird reviewers in excel.

3. Set up an email template through your email server. Add everyone to the list. If you aren’t using an email server yet you can check out MailchimpConvert Kit or Mailerlite. Make it as easy as possible so you aren’t wasting time searching for contact information.

Send out a welcome email with a link to your book in PDF or/and Mobi form. You can create a folder in Dropbox and just include the link to a shared folder. Make it easy for them to access the material.

Action Step: Import your list of emails onto an email server list.

4. Send out the Welcome email. Ideally you want to send out your book at least two weeks before launch. This gives people enough time to read it through. In the welcome email I include details for the launch date and any other expectations. At this stage the book isn’t live yet so you will send another email on that day with the link.

For the book delivery, you can upload a PDF version as well as a Mobi version of the book. To create a MOBI, PDF or EPUB file you can check out the Calibre ebook management software. After you have all the files ready, you can create a shared folder in Dropbox and share the link with your team.

If any top reviewers agreed to leave a review, you absolutely want to message them to follow up.

Action Step: Create a welcome email template. Send out your welcome message to the team. Include a link to your book content.

5. Send out your ‘Take Action’ email on launch day. Your book is live and it is time for people to step up. Contact the team on launch day as soon as the book is live. After hitting publish it should take 12-24 hours for Amazon to get it posted. In the email, include a link to your book. More specifically, a link to the review page so that team members can go straight to the page with one click.

6. Day 3: Reminder email. I wait 3 days and send out a reminder email. In this email I thank everyone who has left a review and thank people in advance who are still working on the book and haven’t posted yet.

7. Final Call: This is the last email I will send out. Similar to the previous email, reminding people the book is live and is ready for a review whenever you are. You can remind your team that book is at a special discounted price if you are launching it at 0.99 or it’s free.

8. Contact Your List: If you have a list, this is gold for getting paid downloads and possible reviews. You should contact your list on the first day the book is live and let people know that the book has just launched. Then, several days later, email them again asking if they had a chance to get into the material. You could add something of value here just to show subscribers how much you value their support. This is the email where I include a ‘leave a review’ invite.

It reads like this:

Hi there…

I have a quick favor to ask you…  

Amazon uses reviews to rank books AND many readers evaluate the quality of a title based solely on this feedback from others.

To put it simply:

Reviews are very important to an author like me!

So, if you’ve enjoyed [Book title here], or even if you’re still working through it, could you take a minute or two to leave a review? Even a sentence or two about what you like really helps!

Here’s a link of where you can leave a review:

[My Book Title] Book Review

I really appreciate you taking the time to check out the book and I look forward to seeing any feedback you may have in the review section.

That is it!

These are the steps I use to communicate with my launch team. Generally speaking, if you want 100 reviews for your book, you should aim for at least 200 people. That is a lot of emails but, what I have experienced is that, on average, you are batting a 50% success rate. What happens to those other 50% who don’t review?

They…

  1. Didn’t like the book.
  2. Forgot to review altogether.
  3. Didn’t read the book.
  4. Couldn’t be bothered to review.

If you can get 20+ reviews on launch after one week you are looking very good. This is enough to get momentum moving and the Amazon algorithm will see that your book is doing well.

2. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers

There is a list of top 1000 reviewers on Amazon. These people review everything via the Amazon vine program, although certain reviewers target books specifically. If you can get an Amazon Top Reviewer to look at your book, this is well worth it. Check out the Amazon Top Customer Reviewers list. This is a time-consuming process but, if you can get 2-3 reviewers to agree to a book review, you’re all set.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Go into the reviewer’s profile and check the books they have reviewed. To be specific, you want to check for books in your genre. If you wrote a book on weight loss and the reviewer has written most of their reviews for romance novels, it’s a good indication what they favor. Target the reviewers interested in your topic.
  2. Check for contact information. Due to the large volume of spam and requests for reviews, most top reviewers have removed their personal email. If they have a website set up, you can send a direct email to request a review.
  3. Wait for a reply. Most reviewers, from my own experience, did not reply. I would recommend targeting 20 reviewers and wait one week. You can then resend the request again.

This is a time-consuming process but, if you get a top reviewer to agree to a review, keep that person’s contact information in an excel file. Then, when you launch your next book, you can reach out to them again and again.

3. Book Review Sites

There are a number of sites out there that will find reviewers for your book. This is not the same as buying reviews for your book which, I’ll restate again, goes against Amazon’s review policy and should be avoided. In fact, Amazon has taken action against over 1000 sites on Fiverr that were selling incentivized reviews and fake review services. Yes, avoid.

Review services however can speed up the process and find reviewers for your book. One of my favorites is BookRazor. It is a paid site but they promote a system of honest reviewers for your book by providing a contact list of potential readers.

There are many other sites you can check out as well, and many of them are free while some are paid:

4. Include a Kindle Book Review Request Page

Here is a tactic that works well. Did you know that you can include insert a request in your book for readers to leave a review? It’s a great way to invite people to review your book. I have a page at the back of my books that looks like this:

What Did You Think of [Your Book Title Here]?

First of all, thank you for purchasing this book [Your Book Title Here]. I know you could have picked any number of books to read, but you picked this book and for that I am extremely grateful.

I hope that it added at value and quality to your everyday life. If so, it would be really nice if you could share this book with your friends and family by posting to Facebook and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this book and found some benefit in reading this, I’d like to hear from you and hope that you could take some time to post a review on Amazon. Your feedback and support will help this author to greatly improve his writing craft for future projects and make this book even better.

You can follow this link to [Book link here] now.

I want you, the reader, to know that your review is very important and so, if you’d like to leave a review, all you have to do is click here and away you go. I wish you all the best in your future success!

When you do this, you want to have a link directing customers right back to the review page on Amazon. Make it so easy for them that it requires as little effort as possible. Many authors will include a cute ‘cat photo’ or even pictures of their kids begging asking for a review. This strategy can work well if you sell a large volume of books during the initial launch phase. But remember it takes readers time to go through your book and so, if you don’t see the reviews appear in the first week, you might get them trickling in weeks or even months later.

5. Relaunch Your Book

You can relaunch your book if book sales drop and the reviews stop coming in. When you relaunch your book, you can put together a new launch team, and even add a new chapter to the book to generate a renewed interest in your book.

I have tried this strategy several times in the past year and, by relaunching the book, adding new value to the content, I put together another small launch team of 30-40 people. This brought in another 20+ reviews for a book that was suffering from lack of sales and poor rankings. It happens, so we have to stay on top of keeping the book active.

Dealing with Negative Reviews

Getting positive reviews on your book is a great feeling. In a perfect world, we all want to have just the good stuff when it comes to our review platform. But alas, there will always be that dissatisfied reader that was expecting something much different than what your book was offering. Readers will leave a negative review for various reasons, and in most cases, there is nothing we can do.

But first of all, receiving a negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can lend to a book’s credibility. Look at it from a reader’s perspective. If a book has 100 positive 5-star reviews, although the reviews may be legitimate, we know that not every book is perfect. Having a load of good reviews and nothing that is under three stars could create doubt for the browser, just as having a book with only a handful of reviews turns browsers the other way.

While negative reviews aren’t all bad, there are steps we can take to reduce the amount.

So how can we prevent our book from getting a lot of negative reviews and turning away potential book sales?

Here are four areas to pay attention to:

  1. Book quality: the single biggest reason a book will get panned by negative reviews is poor quality. This is credited to sloppy editing. A book that is not up to the quality expected by readers will get hit with a high amount of bad reviews. Then, it could get pulled off the shelf by Amazon until the author upgrades to better quality. Make sure your book is up the high standards people expect. Always respect your readers. The book business is like any other business, make good products, and your customers will love you.
  2. Inaccurate description of the book: make sure that your book description, title and cover all point towards the theme of the book. If your book is titled, “How to become rich in 21 days” and, after reading through the book the reader isn’t rich, well, they bought the book because of the promise you made. So, if reading a book delivers a negative outcome for your audience, someone is going to shout about it in a review.
  3. Your book is a sales pitch for your other products. If there is one thing that readers don’t like, it is being hit up with offers and the push to check out other services or products in the book. This could come across as spammy and devalues the content that the readers paid for. While your goal may be to use the book to attract customers for your online business, you want to avoid any sales pitches in the book.

Writing and Submitting a Review

Writing a review for a book you like is a great way to drive potential readers to the title. If you read a great book recently and you want to tell people about it, you can take a few minutes to write up a positive review.

Writing a review is easy. Just go to the book’s front page and, under the heading Customer Reviews, you will see a button for write a customer review. Click on that and you will be taken to a page set up for ‘Your Reviews’ where you can write reviews for your purchases. What you do is:

  1. Select the rating of the book from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the best score.
  2. Write your book description in the box provided. Keep in mind that if you leave this page before submitting your review, you’ll have to start over again. I would recommend writing the review first in Word or Evernote and then copy and paste.
  3. Create a headline for the review.
  4. Hit submit. Your review will go live within a couple of hours, although it could take up to 24 hours.

One point to note here is that, with Amazon’s policy for posting reviews, you have to have an account that has made a purchase of at least $50 using a valid credit or debit card.

Your Checklist for Getting Reviews

  1. Set up a launch team for your book. Send your team a PDF/MOBI file and follow up with email right up until launch. Follow up with several reminders after the launch.
  2. Include a ‘Review Request’ page at the back of your book. Insert the link taking customers directly to the review page. Make it so easy they don’t have to search around for the book on Amazon.
  3. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers. Send a personalized email to each, targeting the people who review books similar to your genre. Wait at least two weeks before following up.
  4. Contact people in your business. This doesn’t include friends and family. Contact professionals in your field who would be willing to read the book with the possibility of leaving an honest review.
  5. Hire a site that specializes in finding honest reviewers for your book. I recommend BookRazor.
  6. Relaunch your book. Add more content, a new book cover, or make it appealing for people to join your relaunch of an existing book. You can relaunch a book as many times as you want.

There are a lot of strategies out there to get reviews for your books, most are legit, and some are not. As an author, make sure you are aware of what Amazon considers to be authentic reviews when it comes to gathering reviews for your next book, and steer clear of anything it considers to be “incentivized reviews”. If a site promises to get you positive reviews in return for cash, stay away. It isn’t worth it, trust me. Keep hunting and adding reviews to your book.

Book reviews are the secret sauce to adding value and credibility to your work, boosting sales and making your book stick on the bestseller lists. Don’t skimp out on them.

kindle advertising

Kindle Advertising 101: Get Your Book in Front of Amazon Shoppers at Will!

Publishing your book on Amazon is only the first step.

The next part, and it’s the hardest, is getting that book in front of the right readers at the right time.

There are more ways to market your book than there are TV shows on Netflix, but there’s only one that can:

  • Give you results instantly
  • Is easier to use than most other platforms
  • Is targeted at where your audience are when they are in a shopping mindset

And that’s advertising on Amazon.

Thanks to Amazon’s own advertising platform, authors can now create ads that show their book to the right people either in the search results, or on the product listing of another book.

It might sound difficult, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to setup your very own Kindle advertisements in less than 10 minutes.

The best part about this book-marketing tactic is that not only can it help you with your initial book launch, but it can also help to revive book sales of previously published books as well.

What are AMS Book or Kindle Advertisements?

First let’s define what they aren’t, because quite a few authors can get confused by the term “Kindle ads” which is used interchangeably by book marketers and consumer blogs.

When you purchase a new Kindle from Amazon, you have the option to purchase a standard Kindle e-reader or one with “Kindle special offers” for a lower price. For the special offers version, when your Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage or Kindle Touch is in sleep mode, your screensaver displays targeted and relevant ads. There’s also a persistent banner of ads at the bottom of your home screen on your device. On your Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD these ads come up on your lock screen and also in your notification bar. Consumer blogs sometimes refer to these as “Kindle ads”.

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That’s not what I’m talking about here. In this article I’m talking about advertising across the whole of Amazon. Specifically, I’m talking about using Amazon Marketing Services. Also called AMS for short, it’s a platform where you can tell Amazon that you want your book to show up in certain search results, or on the sales page of another book on Amazon.com, and that you’re willing to pay them some money for every person who clicks on your ads.

Book marketers call these Kindle adverts, as we use AMS specifically to advertise our Kindle eBooks. Your advert appears everywhere your target buyer is on the Amazon platform. You can purchase ads that show up on your audience’s Kindle device if you so wish, but they have to meet Amazon’s policies.

Back to AMS, the amazing part is you only pay Amazon if someone clicks on your ad, and you’re in control of how much you pay. You can set your own price which is usually somewhere between .02 cents to .35 cents per click.

And that’s it. After setting it up with Amazon, AMS will start showing your book to their shoppers on your terms.

What Type of AMS Ads Can I Create?

AMS offers two types of ads. This allows you to choose where exactly your ad will be displayed to Amazon customers.

Sponsored Product Ads

If you want to show up in Amazon’s search results for a particular keyword, you should choose a sponsored product ad. If, for example, you choose the keyword ‘gardening book’, and someone searches for this phrase, they may see your ad alongside the other search results.

This type of ad is a great way of attracting the attention of people who your book would be suitable for, but who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.

Product Display Ads.

If you’d rather your ad shows up for a particular product, rather than in the search results for a keyword, you should choose a product display ad.

Amazon allows you to specify particular products, or particular types of products, that your ad will show up alongside. If you know you offer a superior version of a competing book, you can advertise in this way to persuade buyers to choose your title instead of, or along with, their original search.

Now that you know the way that AMS operates, and the basic types of ads you can choose, let’s take a look at how to get started by creating your first campaign.

Let’s Create an Kindle Advertisement.

The only basic requirement for advertising with AMS is to have a book published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The book doesn’t need to be part of the KDP Select program.

To get going, log into your KDP dashboard. Choose the book that you wish to create an ad for and click ‘advertise’.

The exact steps you need to follow differ depending on whether you choose a sponsored product ad or a product display ad, as you will now see.

(Pro Tip: though anecdotal, many authors have reported better results from Sponsored Product Ads, so that’s a good place to start).

How to Set Up A Sponsored Product Ad.

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  1. Choose a name for your ad campaign. It can help with tracking and monitoring, particularly if you have multiple campaigns, to choose a unique and specific campaign title.

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  1. Select your daily budget. This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay on any given day. Generally, it’s better to start small and scale up based on results.
  2. Choose whether you want your campaign to run for a fixed time or to carry on indefinitely.
  3. Select between ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ targeting. It’s better to pick the manual option, as you can choose the exact way to advertise your work, rather than relying on Amazon’s automated choices.

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  1. Choose the keywords you wish your ad to show up for. A lot of authors make the mistake of choosing a low number of keywords. To have the most success possible, the higher the number of relevant keywords, the better. You can pick from Amazon’s suggestions of keywords to target or enter your own.

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  1. Select the default amount someone will pay when they click on your ad, known as ‘cost per click’, or CPC. This amount will apply to all keywords initially, but you can make adjustments later on.
  2. Pick an effective 150-character elevator pitch for your ad. You need to write something that is attractive and engaging in order to have the best possible chance of someone clicking on your ad.

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  1. Select an existing credit card linked to your account. If you haven’t already done this, you need to add one at this stage.

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  1. The final step is to click on ‘Launch Campaign’. Amazon will review your ad to ensure it complies with their requirements and get back to you in 1-3 days. As soon as Amazon approves, your campaign goes live!

How to Set Up A Product Display Ad

  1. After clicking the ‘advertise’ option on the book you wish to create a campaign for, select the ‘Product Display Ad’ option.

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  1. Amazon offers two choices for Product Display Ads – ‘by product’ or ‘by interest’. ‘By product’ allows you to choose the exact products you want your ad to show up for, whereas choosing ‘by interest’ allows Amazon to select products for you on the basis of a theme or topic.

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  1. Decide whether or not to allow Amazon to associate your ad with similar products to the ones you have specifically selected. This is a good way of associating your ad with products you haven’t specifically heard of, but that have been bought by customers in your target audience.

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  1. Title your campaign.
  2. Select an overall budget as well as a CPC (cost per click) amount. Product Display Ads have an overall budget that gets spent over a longer period of time, so don’t be scared off by the larger numbers. That’s not what gets spent daily, just the pool that the ads are drawing from.

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  1. Produce the copy for your ad. The 50-character limit for the headline and 150-character limit for the body necessitates succinct, impactful copy.
  2. Select ‘Submit Your Campaign for Review’. Amazon will get back to you within 1-3 days depending upon whether your campaign meets their guidelines.

How to Get the Most From AMS

You can skillfully use AMS to reap benefits beyond increased book sales alone (although they are, of course, awesome.) There are three advanced approaches to AMS that allow you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Promote Other Versions of Your Work

Offering multiple formats of your book effectively allows you to get several adverts for the price of one. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your book’s Amazon sales page. If you offer various formats, such as a paperback from CreateSpace or an audiobook for Audible, browsers will be exposed to those options and this leads to more sales.

Introduce Readers to A Series

If you’ve ever become hooked on a book series, such as Harry Potter, you know that reading the first book alone is never enough. Readers who love the story and characters in the initial installment can’t wait to get their hands on the next editions.

If you use AMS ads to draw a browser’s attention to the first book in a series, you stand a great chance of creating a fan who will willingly buy the other books in your series without further prompting.

Nathan Van Coops even goes as far to use AMS to promote the first book of his series In Times Like These, which is permafree. The amount of money he ends up making from the subsequent book sales, and other forms of book, outweighs the ad cost for the free book.

Get More Email Subscriptions

If your book offers a content upgrade like a free book, or checklist, then AMS can help to increase your email optins by increasing the number of people who get your book.

Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, used his book ‘Will It Fly?’ to generate email optins. By offering a free course to go along with his book, Pat saw 33% optin rate. Although Pat has a large following, AMS has allowed him to increase his reach, create continuous sales, and grow his email list daily.

Market Other Products & Build Blog Traffic

You can use AMS to create funnels towards other products and services you offer apart from your books alone.

Some books encourage readers to visit the website or blog of their author. If you advertise a book which has this purpose, you can drive relevant customers to your external work that may never have otherwise found it.

Ryan Cleckner’s  ‘Long Range Shooting Handbook’ is a perfect example of this concept in action. By advertising it through AMS, he drives more people to his book, which in turn drives traffic to his post on how to get an FFL. This results in increased sales for his courses – all for the price of an AMS click.

How to Improve Your AMS Ad Skills

AMS book advertising can be a wonderful skill for authors to use in order to sell their previous, current and even future books.

And while I strongly believe that AMS is a great opportunity, the more you know, the better your ads can be. The better the ads, the more profit you’ll gain.

So, to help you improve your AMS book ad skills, here’s a completely free course on AMS that will not only show you what we discussed above, but will also go deeper into creating profitable long term ads, that will continuously bring you book sales.

Kindle Advertising Summary

Hopefully by now you understand the immense potential of AMS and why I love it so much. After all:

  • Only AMS lets you advertise to the most relevant and profitable people possible – interested Amazon customers.
  • Setting up a campaign is quick, easy and affordable.
  • You can show your ad in Amazon search results through Sponsored Product Ads.
  • Product Display Ads allow you to reach people interested in particular products.
  • AMS can generate income through more than just book sales. You can increase traffic to your external offerings and generate additional revenue as a result.

As with all advertising platforms, earlier adopters often have better results. If you delay getting started, you will have increased competition, your conversion rates will go down (as shoppers get used to adverts) and prices will go up. You’ll have a tougher time if you delay taking action.

If you want to delve deeper into the best strategies and tactics for Amazon advertising, check out my free Kindle advertising course. It contains hours of high-quality video, as well as notes and quizzes, to help you understand the full potential of AMS and put the best ideas and strategies to work for your books.

I’d love to hear your experience with Amazon Marketing Services in the comments!

sell more books

How to Sell More Books on Amazon

“To reach more readers and take your sales to the next level, you must proactively market your book”.

— Mark Coker

After months of effort and thousands of dollars, you finally finish writing your book. You upload it to the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and you eagerly await the thousands of sales that you’ll get upon pressing “publish”.

Yet a week later you see that you’ve only made… a few sales.

Dejected, you realize this isn’t your ticket to passive income. Making money from your book isn’t as easy as they say, but it doesn’t have to be impossible if you set your book up for success right from the start.

That’s exactly what this post will show you how to do: sell more books on Amazon.

There are no hidden gimmicks or secret formulas to making money from your writing. You don’t have to be a marketing genius either: when I started out book publishing, I struggled for the first year to break the hundred dollars a month mark. Yet, with troubleshooting, testing, and learning from the people who were making five figures a month, I finally started to see results.

If you’re a writer wanting to make money from your book (and who doesn’t, right?) this post will help you navigate through the trenches of bookselling.

Is it easy? No, like anything worth having in life, there is a lot of work involved. We have to do things right and set our efforts up for long term sales. As a self-published author, you should know as much about marketing your book as you do about writing it. While writing will get your book published, promotion and marketing is what will get you sales and more readers.

To sell lots of books, whether via kindle, or print, you have to focus on two important parts: your book production, and your book launch strategy

Every decision you make about your book, right from the beginning, will be made with the intention of getting it into the hands of your audience and bringing new readers into your brand.

How much effort will you need to invest?

This depends largely on your goals as an author. If you are doing this part time and you just want to recoup your expenses for the cost of publishing your book, your marketing strategy will be much different than author who has a goal of earning a full time income.

In this post I will run you through the essentials of marketing, packaging and promoting your book in order to maximize book sales and earn your money as an author. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid well for what they love to do?

Regardless of what your book selling goals are, there are seven elements that must be met if your book is going to even stand a chance in the marketplace. Remember: you’re competing with millions of other books and that there are around 4500 new books published every day.

That’s a lot of books.

But not to worry. If you follow the criteria below, you will jump to the top of the heap where the top 5% of authors making money are hanging out.

Selling your book begins, not when your book is published, but from the very moment the idea pops up in your head, before you even put pen to paper.

The 7 Essential Elements of Your Book to Get More Sales

“Thirty seconds. As an author (or publisher) that’s about all the time you have when talking to someone to generate interest in your book.”

— Sarah Bolme

You may be thinking right now: “Wait, where are the promotion strategies? How can I sell thousands of books a month?” We will get to that. However, before you begin to think about selling a truckload of books, you must first engineer it from the ground up to prepare for future sales. You must make your book appealing enough to the reader to catch their interest.

When it comes to selling a book, you have a short window to convince someone that your book is the best investment they are about to make. You can do this right away by sticking with the 7 essentials we’re about to show you.

1. An Awesome Book Cover that Gets a Second Glance

Someone once said: “You can never tell a book by its cover.” That might have been true back in 1946 but in today’s world, readers DO judge by the cover and they will buy your book based on the front-end window dressing. The principle here is simple: If it looks good, it must be valuable. Most books get three seconds to sell a reader. If you want to sell more books, have a cover that grabs attention and gets your browser to take the next step.

For cover designers we can recommend a few sites here:

2. An Intriguing Book Title and Subtitle

Your cover is what grabs the reader’s attention, but your book title is what makes the sale. It will depend largely on the theme of your book but taking time to craft a title/subtitle will be a deciding factor for potential readers to buy… or not.

The title is the hook that draws readers in and the subtitle is your elevator pitch that tells them what they can expect to gain by reading this book. Will they lose weight? Become better at saving money? Run a full marathon in under six hours?

Brainstorm as many possible titles as you can for both the main title and subtitle. Although the title can make them guess what the book is about, the subtitle is what sells it. Good books that sell often have great subtitles that gives browsers a stronger idea of what is behind the cover.

Check out these great titles for inspiration:

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

Relaunch Your Life: Break the Cycle of Self-Defeat, Destroy Negative Emotions and Reclaim Your Personal Power by Scott Allan

How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism by Stephen Guise

Break Through Your BS: Uncover Your Brain’s Blind Spots and Unleash Your Inner Greatness by Derek Doepker

Book Launch: How to Write, Market & Publish Your First Bestseller in Three Months or Less AND Use it to Start and Grow a Six Figure Business by Chandler Bolt

3. Book Reviews & Book Launch Sales Volume

If a book browser is sold on your cover and the theme resonates with a subject they want to know more about, a quick scan of the book reviews will be the final selling point for most.

A book with less than ten reviews, or no reviews at all, may get passed over in favor of other books with a strong review ranking. Tattoo this inside your skull: Reviews sell more books. Getting reviews is an ongoing marketing strategy you should always be working on.

The Amazon algorithm is strongly linked to book sales and reviews. A book that sells well within the first two weeks combined with a set of high ranking reviews will get your book higher up the sales ranks of new releases during the launch.

This also sets you up for an effective long-term strategy. If you want to maximize the amount of sales you get over your book’s life span, then focus everything you have on the first 2-3 weeks. If you get lots of sales and reviews during this critical period, your book is set for long-term growth and will perform better than most competitors.

Reviews are a lot of work but they’re worth it. Aside from the cover, the reviews you get will make or break your sales. Focus your efforts on building a strong launch team of early reviewers who will receive a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.

To stack up on reviews during your launch you can:

  • Provide a request to review page at the back of your ebook with a direct link to your book’s Amazon review page.
  • Invite people to join your launch team and provide early reviewers with a copy of your book to review 2 weeks before you publish.
  • Scroll through the list of Amazon’s Top Reviewers and request a review.

4. A Killer Book Description

Amazon allows authors to include a lengthy book description on the author page, don’t ignore this. While your book cover, title, and reviews are enough to make the sale, a solid looking book description adds that “heft” factor to the quality of your product.

Your book description will be a sales page that lists the benefits of the book. It should have a mixture of various font style and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book. We recommend using the free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool at Kindlepreneur.com. This saves time in messing around with nasty HTML coding.

For some great examples for book descriptions check out these titles:

The Art of Everyday Assertiveness: Speak Up. Say No. Set Boundaries. Take Back Control by Patrick King

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone: How to Live Fearlessly, Seize Opportunity, and Make Each Day Memorable by Peter Hollins

The Critical Mind: Make Better Decisions, Improve Your Judgment, and Think a Step Ahead of Others by Zoe McKey

5. Amazon Keywords

What use is a treasure hunt if there are no clues? If nobody can find your book, then what use was there in writing it? In order for people to buy your book, they’ll need to find it, and this is where keywords come in.

Researching and implementing the right keywords will play a big part in driving traffic towards your platform. Regardless whether you blog, have a website or you sell products online, setting up your keywords is a critical strategy. But where do we find these keywords? How do we know what keywords are the right ones?

Finding the right keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results, which means it’ll turn up in front of your customers as they search for the relevant keywords. High rankings means more visibility which leads to greater book sales.

There are three tools we recommend for researching relevant keywords for your book. They are:

Using the right software, you can get results for the number of times your keyword is searched. Google also shows you related searches and the competition that particular word has. What you are looking for is a word that has good search volume but not high competition.

Another tactic is to search for your book’s title and keywords by using Amazon’s search bar. Check the suggestions that drop down. Imagine what your readers are searching for when they are looking for your book.

You are allowed to include seven keywords, or short-tail phrases, in your book. Most people, when they search in Amazon, are more likely to type in a short tail phrase instead of a single keyword. You want to be specific with your search. Specificity narrows down the choices and makes your book more searchable.

For example, if you are looking for a book on losing weight, and you are over 50, type in losing weight after 50 and you will target the books related to your short tail phrase. Readers search this way. When you eventually become a successful author (touch wood,) then people can just search for your name, go to your Amazon author page, and buy your book. However, that comes later, once you’ve built your brand. Until then we’ll need to make your book easy to discover.

6. Professional Editing

A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews. Period. While it is perfectly fine to have negative reviews on your book, you don’t want those reviews to be about the writing quality. It is an instant turn off for book buyers.

By poor writing quality we’re not talking about the occasional error (which can easily be corrected,) but a book filled with bad grammar, misspelling and a sloppy appearance. Would you buy a car with the doors falling off? Of course not, and a reader will not read a book that hasn’t been properly edited.

You can hire a great editor through Upwork or Freelancer. Ask other authors if they can recommend someone. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book but trust me, you don’t want to cut corners with this.

7. Pricing Your Book

One question that I often get from authors is: “How much should I price my book at?” This is a tricky answer.

Yes, yes, I know you want to maximize your profit, but you’ll also not want to scare away potential readers because of an overpriced book. Also, remember that for any book priced $1.99 or 0.99 cents, the royalty is just 35%, while books priced between $2.99 – $9.99 net 70% royalty. The sweet spot for many books is $2.99 – $5.99.

Price your book accordingly and by that, I mean, take into account the size and quality of your platform. Established authors with a strong following can charge more, and books priced slightly higher than the norm may do well if they are packaged well (quality cover, large volume of reviews etc.)

You could start pricing your book at $2.99 and move it up $1.00 a week, testing the boundaries until you notice a significant decrease in sales. You might sell less books at $4.99 but if your book has all the best elements mentioned in this section, and you market accordingly, the perceived value of your product will stand the test.

As for paperbacks, most indie authors are averaging a sales price between $9.99 and $12.99. Remember that you need to take into account the printing costs, but your royalties can do better per sale based on the higher price of the book at a 60% royalty rate.

These are the core essentials of any book. Even if you are not a good marketer, you can sell more books if you get these steps right.

Now, let’s take a look at some more advanced marketing strategies that includes book promotions and building an author brand.

The Permission Marketing Plan

“Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers. It’s not just about entertainment – it’s about education. Permission marketing is curriculum marketing.”

— Seth Godin

Now that we have looked at the basic elements you need to sell your book, it is time to get into the initial marketing. Generally speaking, most authors are not marketers. But you don’t have to be to sell.

Following the above steps will place your book in the top 10%, but it’s time to enter the pro leagues by using a solid marketing plan. This is where you can start making some real money.

Mind you, these strategies represent the infrastructure of a long-term book business. If you’re looking to make a quick buck they won’t help, but if you’re looking to lay the foundation for setting up passive income and drawing monthly income from your books over time, they’ll help.

First, understand this, to create sustainable income from your books, you can’t just tweet your way to sales, or send out weekly blog posts. To sell lots of books you need one thing: traffic. 

How to get traffic? By invitation. How to invite people to buy your book? By giving stuff away and providing so much value that they can’t possibly say no.

We do this by setting up an email list of raving fans.

With an email list, you can create a sustainable platform of fans that are eagerly anticipating your next book release. Picture this: in the buildup to launch day you have 1000 impatient readers yearning to grab your book. They’re counting down the minutes. You click “publish” and send out an email to your list. They instantly buy it, and your book skyrockets up the bestseller lists, leaving you in the top of your category, the Amazon top rankings and in search engines. How great would that be?

An email list of raving fans is worth its weight in digital gold, but building it takes time, patience, and a lot of work. You need to be strategic with your list and deliver valuable material that they need. Consistent engagement builds your list and becomes the foundation for your author brand.

Without an active email list, you’ll be relying heavily on luck and organic traffic. Although you can still do well without a list, you’ll work twice as hard to get your book into the top search engines.

If the money is in the list, you want to start building your list right now. You can do this by first offering an incentive inside your book. Do you have something of value to provide readers to entice them to sign up? If so, offer it now and begin list building.

But remember: People are giving you permission to email them. This is the beginning of a relationship with your readers. Value that relationship and you will have started the foundation for a business. Write for your readers and you will never have to worry about selling more books. Your readers will help you to market your book and they will always be your best customers.

You can start by signing up with an email subscriber service. There are several to choose from:

Mailchimp: This service is to free for up to 2000 subscribers. However, there is no support until you pay a monthly fee.

Mailerlite: a nice platform, very simple with easy-to-navigate features.

Get response: Also, simple to use and industry standard.

Convert Kit: Loads of features and everything you need. A cheaper alternative per subscriber compared to MailChimp and Aweber.

Once you have a comfortable list that you are engaging with regularly, it is time to focus your core efforts on providing value to that list. The subscriber gave you permission to email them, and now it is your responsibility to follow through by building that relationship.

Action Task: Sign up with one of the email subscriber services recommended. Spend a few hours and come up with ideas on two things:

  • How to provide so much value up front that your reader demographic will be eager to join your list?
  • What type of content can you regularly write to engage your list and build a relationship with them?

Look to newsletters you’ve signed up for inspiration.

Run Book Promos Every 3-6 months

You’ll find that, even the best books out there drop in rankings over an extended period of time. This is where we can keep things fresh by running promotional campaign for the book every 3-6 months.

Here is how you can do this.

Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days. You can adjust the price by going into the KDP dashboard. It takes Amazon anywhere from 6-24 hours to set this up.

Stack multiple book promotional services for each day for the week your book is set at the promotional price. Setting up book promos does cost money but it gets your book rankings moving up again and gives the book a fresh kick. You can set up promos with the following sites:

BKnights [Fiverr] You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. You won’t get a ton of downloads but on average 12-25 depending on the book.

Robin Reads. [Requires 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating] Takes a couple days to get approved [$55].

BookSends. Requires average 5 reviews at $40.

Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction.

Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10.

Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29.

Book Runes. Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25.

eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10.

Booksbutterfly. Various promo packages with guaranteed paid and free downloads.

This is an opportunity to set up a small support group to read the book and leave a review during the promotion period. This boost in downloads and new reviews boosts the rankings of your book. If you have multiple books, it’s an opportunity for traffic coming into your platform to be introduced to your book library.

Create a Library of Books and Build Your Brand

It’s really hard to make money from just one book. Which is why I recommend writing and publishing a lineup of books that your fan base can’t wait to read. Writing multiple books is a long-term strategy that can build a profitable book business over the course of several years. Remember, you’re in it for the long-haul.

Can you imagine if you had ten books for sale and each one is set up for success to bring in an average of $1000 a month? You can do this with a strategic plan for your author business.

Publishing new content regularly builds your email list and pushes your Amazon Author Ranking up the charts. By putting out a new book every 3-4 months, you are creating new content that keeps your author platform sizzling with activity.

In addition, it is easier to promote several books at the same time. You can set up a book bundle and have your books available in multiple formats including audiobooks and paperback.

Action Task: Block out 30-minutes a day for the next 30 days. Come up with ideas for at least ten books you want to write. Do a mind map followed by an outline for each one. Then, set out to create a publishing schedule for each book.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • How long is each book?
  • Am I targeting a general audience or a specific niche?
  • What is the estimated profit potential for this book?
  • How can I put out a new book every 3-4 months?
  • What is my featured lead magnet to start building subscribers email list?

Here are a few authors creating a library of books and doing very well with their platform of consistent releases:

Patrick King, Social Interaction Specialist

S.J. Scott, Develop Better Habits

Martin Meadows, Self-Discipline and Grit

Peter Hollins, Human Psychology

Zoe McKey, Communication and Personal Development

Oh, and let’s not forget Stephen King, who has published over 65 books with 350 million copies sold since Carrie was published in 1974.

Wrapping It Up

If you want to sell more books and earn money as a paid author, write and publish books that sell. Target a specific audience and write your content for that fan base. Build a brand around your work and market your writing accordingly.

Stick to the essential elements of book publishing and be sure to write a book that engages your readers interest, provides them with entertainment [fiction] or life lessons [nonfiction], and invest your time into creating a series of books that have impact and branding appeal.

This sounds simple, and it is, but it isn’t easy. Selling books and making money is a long-term strategy. There are hundreds of ways to promote your book and brand. But you don’t, and can’t, do everything. Focus on the strategies that will have the long term results you want.

Now, I’ll leave you with a list of additional marketing and promotional strategies you can consider to build your brand and promote your work.

20 Ways to Promote Your Work and Build an Author Brand

  1. Create a book trailer and post the video on YouTube or Vimeo.
  2. Set up an Author Page on Facebook and have readers sign up. You can take this a step further and create a private facebook group where you share some of your best content and insider information with your tribe.
  3. Create an author website. Use this to promote your books, blog about content in your books, and keep readers engaged through online discussions about your work and mission.
  4. Set up a professional author email. For example: [email protected]
  5. Get professional author pictures taken. Post these to your website, social media, and the paperback copy on the back.
  6. Approach foreign book publishers and try to get your book translated into other languages. Nowadays many authors are translating books into Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish.
  7. Get video testimonials for your book. Post to YouTube and your website.
  8. Send your paperback to fans and ask them to take a photo holding up the book. Use this as a promotional tool by creating a landing page for your book. Additionally, you can create book pages for your books on your website [Note: We strongly recommend you have an author website].
  9. Run a book giveaway on Goodreads.
  10. Write a series of blog posts related to your books and overall branding theme.
  11. Guest post blog for well-known sites and drive backlinks to your website or Amazon author page.
  12. Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.
  13. Set up a URL forward that sends people to your Amazon author page. When you promote your books, you can use this URL as your main website even if you don’t have an actual website yet.
  14. Continue to pile reviews onto your book. This should be an ongoing marketing strategy. Aim for a goal of adding two new reviews per week.
  15. Set up an AMS ad for your book. You can check out this free course right here: Book Advertising: Free AMS Advertisement Course for Authors
  16. Create free content (checklist, mini ebook, or audiobook) and give it away for free inside your book.
  17. Create a virtual bundle of your books when you get several titles published.
  18. Create a course based on your book. This has the potential to be a strong upsell. Take a look at Udemy and teachable for launching your course to these platforms.
  19. Create an email autoresponder series for subscribers.
  20. Create a SlideShare presentation using the best material from your book.
PR for authors

How to Promote Your Book: 5 Strategies You Need to Try

Do you have dreams of becoming a best-selling author, but feel like you know way too little about promoting a book? We get that it is not an easy task to form a promotion plan; in fact, it can be as much work as writing a book!

But as a writer, once you’ve finished writing your book, you must have a promotion plan. Without one, it will be hard to sell many copies because no one will know about your book!

Even if you have a publisher, you should still develop a promotion plan because you might find out that they barely help market your book until you’ve already sold a certain number of copies.

Today, we’re going to show you how to get your book into the hands of more people using these strategies.

This guide will cover:

  • TV interviews
  • Radio/podcasts
  • Local bookstores
  • Press interviews (digital and printed)
  • Social media

Let’s get started!

Promoting Your Book Through TV Interviews

Scoring a TV spot is an absolute dream come true, think of all the free promotion! But as you can imagine, it is not easy to land a TV interview because many others are competing for the same thing.

Here’s our strategy to help you land an interview on TV.

Pitch Thoughtfully

To truly stand out from the masses, start by building relationships with hosts and producers of the shows you’re interested in. Fostering relationships first is an essential part of the pitch because it will help them better understand you and develop chemistry between you. This is a crucial element for a TV interview.

Keep it Short

Everyone’s busy in the media world! Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitches so you must make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.

Know Their Audience

Make your book relevant to their fans, —don’t force them to connect the dots.

If the TV program leans towards entertainment, share a funny story to show that you will be fun to interview. It’s okay to be silly and comedic – let your sense of humor shine through.

If it’s a serious program, show that you’re there to discuss an important issue and that the conversation will be held in high regard. Be serious with your tone of voice, and also cite quotations and statistics to further expand the depth of the topic.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a very convincing pitch that will get producers to book you on their next available time slot.

How to Shine During Your TV Interview

Hooray! You’ve landed a TV interview! Now it’s time for the real prep to begin.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Remember, your goal is to have a natural dialogue with the host and not sound robotic. Rehearse your talking points to reflect a natural back-and-forth conversation.

Do Your Research

Your goal is to understand your audience so you can connect with them. The show will have detailed demographic information available so it’s up to you to tailor your content with this knowledge.

To get to know your audience, here are a few starting points to consider:

  • What’s their age range?
  • What are their interests?
  • What’s popular or trending with them right now?

With this information, you can forge a natural connection that’s most suitable for the viewers.

Be Present

During the interview, expect to be full of nerves, but don’t let it lose your focus! Stop thinking about the next line, and remain present in the moment. Be a good listener and remember  that you’re having a conversation. 

For example, if the host asks a question that’s unexpected, don’t panic! Instead, go with the flow and enjoy the conversation. Try to link the conversation back to your book with short anecdotes relating to the topic. This will keep audience members engaged and create more interest in your book.

If you take your time and pay attention to the host, the conversation will flow smoother and everyone will benefit. You’ll seem more confident and upbeat, rather than full of nerves.

2. Radio and Podcast Interviews

Radio shows and podcasts are a terrific way to share your voice to your potential readers. With over 90% of Americans listening to the radio as well as the exploding popularity of podcasts, it’s well worth the effort to appear on these platforms.

To get started, local radio and podcast shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. They also love their community and will favor locals more so than anyone else. Mentioning that you’re a local will be an advantage to your pitch especially if you include the locations of your future book signings at local bookstores.

If you can’t find a local show, finding one with a very specific topic relevant to your books audience will be easier to get on initially then a huge, massively popular show. If you start small you’ll have an easier time getting booked, and then you can use that initial show to get booked on bigger shows in the future.

How to Shine on the Air

Here are some tips for giving a killer on-air performance once you’ve booked your first interviews.

Be Enthusiastic

Even though the audience can’t see you on the radio, they can hear and feel your energy.

Pique your listeners’ interest by doing the following:

  • Always smile so you speak in a happier tone
  • Sit up straight
  • Walk around when talking (if possible with your mic setup)
  • Aim to add 10% more energy to your conversation than normal

By acting energized and engaged, the listeners will feed off your vibrant energy and will further enjoy your guest appearance.

Make the Host’s Job Easy

Don’t be discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy schedules, it happens more often than you might think. 

Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book, don’t quiz them.

Make their jobs easy by educating them about your material. You’ll connect better with the audience by sharing your knowledge.

Prepare a List of Questions

It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host.

Here are some simple questions to offer:

  • What made you write this book?
  • How’d you come up with the book title?
  • What kind of person would love to get their hands on this book? (this is an EXCELLENT question, especially if you know their audience well)

Busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate the extra effort and may even work from your list of questions.

3. Local Bookstores

Avid book buyers love their local bookstores. And since they are your target audience, you should grow your fanbase by making an appearance!

Here’s how you can make an appearance at the local bookstore.

Schedule an Appearance

Book clubs love to meet new authors, and local bookstores are more than willing to feature guests that will get their readers to the store. It’s a win-win combination and all it takes is for you to book an appearance.

Here’s how you can pitch to local bookstores:

  • Google several bookstores around your area
  • Find their contact email
  • Craft your pitch by including what your book is and why it will benefit the local bookstore

Pitch to as many local bookstores as you can handle. Again, you can start as local as a library and work your way up. This will surely attract bigger bookstores to book you as soon as possible.

Cater to your Audience

You’ve booked an appearance! Now you must plan your act and deliver what your readers want.

Here’s what book clubs want in a live appearance :

  • An entertaining or thought provoking presentation of your book
  • Live reading or a few short stories
  • Live Q&As about you and your book
  • Book signings
  • Free books (or codes for free ebooks!)

Booking several live appearance will guarantee a boost to your fanbase, and will get fans to organically market your book by word of mouth! This is one of the most effective forms of book marketing (and it’s also free).

4. Print Interviews and Guest Posts

Publications are alive and well. Many also have huge digital presences, so don’t look over this form of media when creating your promotion strategy.

Instead, find publications and blogs that your target audience reads frequently and reach out to them.

Here are some tips to land a guest post or print interview:

  • Browse publication websites to see if they allow guest submissions or interview pitches.
  • Search for a contact page and find a way to send a cold pitch
  • Pitch to journalists through LinkedIn
  • Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where you can contribute to exclusive stories that reporters and journalists are in need of

Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, following these steps will get local publications and blogs excited to share your new book.

How to Shine in a Print Interview

You scored a press interview! Now practice how to sound like a pro author with these steps (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)

Sell Yourself

Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. In this platform, it’s okay to be more direct and sell yourself. Hit on the best selling points of your book to get readers interested. 

Plan Your Hooks

You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience.

Here are some questions to think about when planning your hooks:

  • What makes your book special?
  • Who is this book perfect for?
  • Will be this be useful?

Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book before you do the interview. Then, make sure you talk about it.

Don’t Let Hard questions Throw You Off

Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you off. You can never be 100% prepared. All you can do is listen to the question and answer as positively as you can.

Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need before you answer. Use it to your advantage.

Write a Great Guest Post

If they want you to write a blog post for their site instead of interviewing you, be sure that you make the post the best it can be. It might be tempting to skimp on the article since you’re giving it away, but the better you make your guest article, the more book sales it will drive for you.

5. Social Media

Social media needs no introduction, and you’re missing out on sales if it’s not included in your book promotion. Optimizing your social media platform can be challenging, but we’ve figured out the best methods to promoting your book using social media.

Here’s how you can incorporate it into your promotion strategy to maximize your book sales.

Create a Facebook Page

To get more recognition for your upcoming book, you must have a Facebook page. It’s a great way to show social proof, and it makes it easier for new potential fans to find your book.

Here’s what to include in your Facebook Page:

  • Include a great photo of yourself
  • Show a high quality image of your book cover
  • Add a short bio that describes you and your book
  • Show a book trailer that visually highlights the selling points of your book

We find Facebook to be one of the best platforms to reach your audience. But if you’re serious, we also recommend building a website with email capture for sending promotions and updates. That way fans from Facebook can be directed to your page, and see your latest updates.

Get Your Fans Involved

Social media is a great tool for featuring your book, but it’s also a great way to interact with your fans. Fans are more than willing to post about books that they love, so don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance!

Here’s how to get them involved:

  • Ask them to submit book reviews through Amazon.
  • Ask them to share your book across all social media platforms
  • Ask them to spread the book in their universities or organizations

Dedicated fans want to see more of you, and love it when you interact through social media. If you also include rewards to sweeten the deal, you may potentially have yourself a full operating social media team that may get you on the front pages of any social media platform!

If you ever want to become a bestselling author, you have to take ownership of your promotion efforts. Use this advice to get your book into your audience’s hands, sell more books, and becoming a bestselling author in no time.

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book self-publishingschool

Book Marketing: How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book

Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell. Even if it’s the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public. This is why your book needs good marketing tactics to back it up.

Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base. And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.

We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.

But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it. It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.

Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t for marketing your book. We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.

We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team

The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team. The ideal launch team is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish! Here are the 7 steps to get started:

Step 1: Size

The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.

Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product. They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.

If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.

How to Find Followers

If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.

You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members in your yoga class.

Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!

Step 2: Recruit

Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level. The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY. One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.

To begin recruitment, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:

  • Why are you interested in supporting my book?
  • What part of my book speaks to you?
  • What specialized skills can you contribute?
  • What’s your available time commitment?
  • Who are influential people you can reach out to?
  • Why would these influential people be interested?

To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section.

You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.

Step 3: Record a Welcome Video

Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help. Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!

This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey. Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire

Step 4: Establish a Communication Style

Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.

Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:

  • Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
  • Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
  • Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.

No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well. Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!

Step 5: Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments

You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching your book.

It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it! They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.

Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments. Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team to do:

  • Share snippets of content from your book across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Add their reviews to Goodreads
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Record a testimonial for your book
  • Buy extra copies to give to their friends
  • Give you more marketing ideas!

Step 6: Utilize Talents

Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.

To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:

“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”

Step 7: Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”

Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution! Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.

And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)! Which brings us to…

Pricing Your Book

One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.

To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch. But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:

  • If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
  • For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.

Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.

Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price up $1 per week until sales stagnate.

Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections. Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.

Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.

Build Your Book Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.

Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published. When it comes to marketing your book, the sky’s the limit. You can:

  • Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
  • Post blogs about your upcoming book
  • Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
  • Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
  • Include sample chapters from your book
  • Link to video clips about the book on your website
  • Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online. If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

Action Step: If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To setup your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.

Build Your Email List

There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell. These people are essentially your customers.

Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

If you are serious about promoting and marketing your current and all future books, building your list should be top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market. These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer? Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example. Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

Guest post blogging on an influencer’s is another way to market your book. For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with, and post your content regularly to these two sites.

For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos. After a few months you could build up a library of content, engage with new subscribers and even create a course out of your videos.

With Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.

With Twitter you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.

We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it, and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

Get on Bookbub

Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book promotion. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

But is it worth it?

Yes. Definitely.

For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

Action Step: Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

Interviews and Podcasts

A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.

Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).

Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit. If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.

Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!

Action Step: What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.

Book Clubs

Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups. You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book.

You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers. There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teach what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.

Action Step: Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.

Write Another Book

Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece. Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

With every new book you put out there you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems. Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].

Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great marketing guru as well as an amazing author.

No matter which marketing tactics sound best for you, remember that choosing a few key strategies and executing on them regularly is crucial to increasing book sales.

Let these strategies be your secret weapon to a successful book launch, and you’ll be on your way to being a bestseller in no time!

Write a Book That Sells

Find a Book Idea That Sells: 3 Things You Must Check Before You Write Your Book

If you’re about to write a book, and you want a book idea that sells, there are three things you absolutely must check before you spend a minute writing your book.

Researching these three things will help you write your book more confidently because you’ll have firm reason to believe readers will love and buy your book.

Once you have your book idea, and before you begin writing, you need to check that there’s:

  1. People looking for your book idea
  2. People willing to pay for your book idea
  3. Competition you can beat

There are two ways to complete each of the following steps: an easy, low-cost way and a time-consuming, free way. I’ll explain both. No matter which method you choose, just choose one of them so you can embark on your book writing journey with confidence.

1. Are there people looking for your book idea?

Before you spend weeks, months, or years laboring to create your book, smart authors validate that there are people searching for your book idea on the internet first.

The free method is to type in www.KWFinder.com and use their free tool that currently allows you 3 searches per day, and type in your book idea. One piece of information this site gives you is the average times per month people type and search for your term. The higher the number, the more people actively are looking for the information you’re thinking of writing about.

This tool does not tell you how many people are searching for your idea on Amazon, however, which can make your results a little dicey. Sometimes people are just looking to learn free or quick information, and not actually looking to read an entire book.

When people search for a topic on Amazon, however, they are there to buy something. That’s why doing this research using a software that specifically gives you Amazon data is the best option.

Enter KDP Rocket. When you search for a book idea using KDP Rocket, it gives you the estimated number of times people search for your idea on Google and on Amazon each month. And there’s no limit to how many ideas you can search per day.

Here’s the results for my fictitious book idea about ‘habits’:

Once you’ve verified people are searching for your book idea, the next step is to make sure they’re willing to pay for the information.

2. Are there people willing to pay for your book idea?

Unless you’re planning to give your book away for free, this step is crucial.

If you don’t have KDP Rocket, you’ll want to head over to Amazon.com and search in the Kindle Store for your writing idea. Look at the search results that appear on the first page. For each book, scroll down to find the Amazon Best Seller Rank. You’ll probably want to create a spreadsheet now if you haven’t already to keep track of the numbers.

Once you have the Best Seller Rank for each, you should put each number into the Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator. The calculator will tell you how many books are selling each day. If you multiply this number by 30, you’ll get the estimated money per month that book makes.

Kindle Best Seller Calculator

If you do this for all 14 of the books that show up on the first page of your search, you can find the average your book idea makes per month. This will give you an idea if it’s profitable enough for you to pursue.  

If you’re looking for the fast and easy way, you’d already have this information right at your fingertips from doing step 1 (verifying people are looking for your book). By clicking ‘Analyze’ on KDP Rocket, you can immediately learn the average earnings per month.

Book Idea Rank

Wow, ‘habits’ is a money-maker! Look at that second column!

So people are looking for your idea and they are willing to pay for your idea, but can you compete with the big dogs?

3. Can you beat the competition for your book idea?

Terms like ‘habits’ are popular and profitable, but the competition is intense. You may have noticed the column called “Competitive Score.” This gives you a score between 1-100 on how hard it would be to get your book to appear when people search for your term. A 1 is easy-peasy and 100 is near-impossible.

I’m guessing like me, you’re not a famous author, so you’ll want to find book ideas that have lower competition. Scores in the 20s or below are my usual target.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write a book about habits. This just means you might have to keep searching to refine your idea to be more specific so you can better compete.

When you search in the Kindle Store for your idea, you’ll want to take note of the number of results that appear.

KDP3

This tells us there are 8,055 other books that rank for the term “habits” on Amazon.

Next, click on the top 3 results and write down their Amazon Best Seller Rank. Find the average of these 3 numbers to find the average Best Seller Rank of the top 3 books. You should aim to get your book to rank #1 since it gets the most clicks, and definitely be able to compete with the top 3.

Then, look at the book covers, book descriptions, and reviews. Give each book a score 1-100 based on your opinion of its professionalism, design, clarity, and happiness of reviewers. If it looks like a book you could easily beat, it’s a 1. If it’s perfect and virtually unbeatable, give it 100.

Having all these numbers in an excel spreadsheet will help you analyze the competition of your book idea.

If that seems like a lot of work, or you don’t know how to score the competition, you’ll love what KDP Rocket can do for you.

When you click on the ‘Analyze’ button to discover how much money the book idea makes, a Competitive Score was also automatically generated.

Book Idea Research

For ‘habits,’ the competition is 73…pretty tough.

Rocket will also give you a bunch of other recommended terms to consider, so by simply scrolling down, I found ‘healthy eating habits.’

KDP Rocket Results

Lower competition…but people aren’t paying for that idea.

How about ‘how to break bad habits’:

KDP6

See how you can still write about what you’re interested in, but simply checking the popularity, profitability, and competition can help you refine your idea from an “I hope this works idea” to “Let’s write this book already idea!”

Book Idea Validated

Once your book idea passes these three checkpoints, then you’re on your way to confidently writing your book. Now you have reason to believe it won’t be a waste of your time and you can proceed with more assurance that you’re writing a book that will sell.

To learn more about how this product can help you profitably launch your book to success, check out KDP Rocket here!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!