In this training, award-winning book and business coach, Ellen Violette, shares who Amazon #1 bestseller launches will work for, why do them, and the key elements that all launches must excel at in order for the launch to be successful.
Podcast on Amazon Promotions:
Complimentary Bestseller Book Consultation
3 Key Points
You can become an Amazon #1 bestselling author without spending months or years of prep work.
It is best to start your marketing before you write your book so that you don’t have to backtrack and make changes later.
You have to make sure that your book stands out from the crowd and the way to do that is to make it different from all the other ones on your general topic.
It’s Ellen Violette here for the Books Business Abundance Podcast and today I’m going to do a training on Amazon Bestsellers.
[0:09]}I want to start by saying that Most authors don’t start thinking about marketing their books until they have already written them. I hear this all the time. I’ve written my book and now I don’t know what to do. What should I do? Or, I don’t have a lot of time to market my book, or I wrote my book and I just want to get it out NOW!
[0:27] If you want to make it a bestseller on one of the big lists like USA today or WSJ or the NY Times, then you have to start months or years in advance.
Doing this means getting a lot of joint-venture partners who have lists to promote to their lists when you launch your book. And that can take months or years to build those relationships.
[0:51] You can also build a large social-media following, which also takes time.
And/or you can buy ads, which takes money and also the knowledge to know how to do them.
But, in this training, I want to talk about what to do if you don’t have the relationships, the social media or the budget or expertise to buy ads that work.
[1:11] You can still do an Amazon bestseller launch for any of these reasons. And if you don’t know all the benefits of doing them then be sure to listen to the podcast I did on Amazon promotions. It’s at:
But, to be successful you have to build the foundation for your book properly.
That really is the key, and that’s why I am able to get all my clients to #1 bestseller.
That’s why I like to start working with authors before they write their book if at all possible. But, even if they don’t get to me until after their book is written, there are steps we can take to make it work. But, it may cost a little bit more in time and money and certainly in energy, because we may end up changing the title and or the cover artwork and sometimes we have to change more. Occasionally, it’s just not something that’s selling, or the way they have written the book isn’t going to connect with any particular target market and it has to be scraped but that’s rare.
[2:20] And in order for your book to sell, it has to have a great title and c0ver but it also has to have one that is going to connect with your audience, both in the topic you choose, but also in how you describe your book in your title.
And there is an art and science to title writing. And I am really blessed to be good at this and I think part of it is because of my background in music, writing lyrics and writing hooks for lyrics.
[2:51] So first, great titles are usually short with longer subtitles. So, for instance,
21 Simple Strategies, How to Jumpstart Your Book Marketing Online, Proven Techniques for Quick Results and
Real Easy eBooks Workbook, A Step by Step Guide to Take Your Book from Idea to Bestseller (Just fill in the blanks)
Or, they are long, they have a twist or alliteration or something that hooks the ear of your reader. How to Crush it in Business without Crushing Your Spirit how Entrepreneurs can Overcome Depression and Find Success. Or, Talk so Kids will Listen, Listen so Kids will Talk, which is absolutely a brilliant title and that book continues to do very well.
[3:34] Once you understand the concept of a hook vs. an explanation, it becomes easier to write titles as hooks and subtitles as explanations. And it does take study. I know how to write great hooks because I was in the music business for many years and the basis of any song is the hook or in books, it would be the title. You want it to be memorable so that in the old days they would go buy it so now they fall in love with it so they will fall in love with the artist and go to the concert cause that is where the money is made.
[4:09] And then you need a great-looking cover. Some people have a great sense of design and others don’t. They have to learn how to have an eye for it. The cover has to use colors that go together. It has to convey the mood of the title. And it has to capture the reader’s eye, so it makes them want to explore further whether this book is for them. It also has to show up well in Amazon, and too many authors don’t think about that. They rely on a designer who doesn’t either.
I learned this very early on with a report that I decided to put in Amazon. I thought the cover was fabulous. It was The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make Authoring an eBook and How to Avoid Them. And it had a huge”7” on it, and when I got it into Amazon, all you could see was the “7”. You couldn’t really see the rest of the text. So you have to be careful, and you have to think about how it’s going to show up in Amazon.
But you also have to think about how is it going to be different from the other books? And a lot of authors have real trouble with this. They come up with a title and an idea, and they just starting writing without taking into consideration whether the idea is different enough to break through the noise in the marketplace. There are millions of books in Amazons so you have to figure out how you’re going to stand out.
Let’s say you write a book called How to be Happy. Now a lot of authors have done this because it’s a really good phrase; it gets a lot of clicks. At one time, there were 48 books on Amazon with this title. Last time I looked there were 7 or 8. People started using the title because it was a phrase that got a lot of clicks. But over time, they realized that nobody was going to buy their book if there were 47 other books with the same title, because a confused mind doesn’t buy, and how are you going to differentiate between 48 books on basically the same topic and have the same title or a similar title that hasn’t been differentiated enough?
[6:04] So, you have to figure out how your book is different from the other books on the market on the same topic.
So for instance, let’s say you write a book about reflexology. Is it a book on reflexology for toddlers? For teens? For adults? For pets? If you looked it up and saw that one of these groups was not cover and was not getting what they needed, that would be a good book to write. But, if you wrote the book first, and you didn’t write it for that group, then now you’re trying to differentiate it another way, and that can be more challenging. But, as I said, it’s not impossible.
[6:44] So you can see how you would be ahead of the game if you did that research first and wrote the book for the market that was hungry for it.
And you also want to look for domain names-that’s another issue because the more books that are on Amazon, the more titles are taken, the harder is it to get a domain name that is going to be easily identifiable to the reader, and you always want to get a dot com. Sometimes, when it’s not available, people will go to dot net or some other dot, and you don’t want to do that because what you can end up doing is marketing for the person who has the dot com because it where people are naturally going to go first, so you want to avoid that.
[7:25] One great way to understand the idea of differentiation is using the Blue Ocean Strategy. Most books are written for a red-ocean strategy. Well, it really isn’t a strategy, they just don’t know any better. This is where the sharks are, so there is blood in the water, so there is a lot of competition in a red ocean. It’s also where the best target market is for any given topic. The blue ocean is just outside the red ocean. There are no sharks there, the water is still blue but it’s appealing to the same target market, so you can make a lot of sales and be different.
That’s how you want to think about your book. And when you think it that way, it makes sense to figure this out before you write your book now that you know this.
There are several other books on book marketing, but I didn’t see any to help the overwhelmed author who has just finished their book, doesn’t have a clue what to do next, and wanted some quick and easy strategies to start marketing their books, so that’s the book I chose to write.
[8:46] Now when someone comes to me and their book is already written, then we have to come up with a great title, a great cover and look at what is different about their book and convey that in the title and/or subtitle.
[8:57] For instance, I once had a chiropractor come to me who had written a book on healing back pain naturally. And when we looked at other books on Amazon, I saw a book by another author on healing back pain naturally. I pointed it out to my client and said, “What’s the difference? They look exactly the same to me.” He told me that the other book was from the go-to-guy in the field, but that his book was very different. And he explained to me how it was different. So I told him, people don’t have Cliff Notes when they go to see your book and his book. So, I told him that he needed to change the title of his book to make it very clear how his was different, so people who wanted what he had to offer would see the difference in the two books instantly and choose his book over the other one.
It’s absolutely imperative that you are clear about what your book is about and then that you are able to articulate it to your audience.
[9:53]} Many times an author will come to me with a book already written, and it clear to me that the title isn’t working because I don’t immediately understand what it means. So I’ll ask them, and usually they will give me a five-minute explanation of what it means. At the point, I have to tell them that when potential buyers go to Amazon, they’re not there to explain it to them as I explained earlier.
So, it has to be absolutely clear, and sometimes, because the author has written the book, it’s clear in their own mind, but it’s not clear to anybody else.
And it has to be clear, immediately clear, to everyone who sees it, not just the author or it just isn’t going to excite your readers, because they are not even going to know what it is, and they are going to be confused and they’ll leave.
[10:42] I do want to point out though that sometimes there are titles that are not clear, they are explained in the subtitle,
Like Blink, The Power of Thinking without Thinking
Or Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, which was sailors, when as soon as they left the land, they couldn’t tell where they were. But those are examples where you can get away with that.
[11:12] Now once your book is written, edited, formatting, and ready to publish, Amazon lets you list 7 keywords and 2 categories. But you can request more categories by contacting Amazon/Kindle. But if you go to the page, KDP.amazon.com to publish your book, you’re only going to see two categories.
You want to think about what are the best keywords that people would most likely use if they were looking for this book. And it’s really good to do this first because you can think about that when you’re writing your title.
You can find this out by asking if you have an email list or in social media. If you have a budget, you can create a poll and pay for an ad, and ask that way.
[11:53] I have a two-step process I use that I walk my clients who go through in my Crushing Kindle Marketing and Visibility study or hire us to do the publishing and book launch for them.
[12:04]} You start by brainstorming what you think people would look up, and then you verify but seeing what they are actually looking up by using Wordtracker; there are other ones that are similar and then I double-check in Amazon, and I have a whole process for doing that.[12:19] You can, under any given keyword, see whether there are bestsellers or not, and this is an easy way to get started figuring it out.
It’s also important to write a Kindle description that sells your book to your potential readers. This is your sales copy. So, you have to treat it that way.
And it’s not only important to write good copy, but it still doesn’t sell because the layout is terrible. So, it has to be laid out well.
[12:48] No matter how good your copy is, nobody is going to read it if you have a wall of copy that goes on for a mile. People have too short of an attention span.
You have to separate the sections. Use bullet points. And leave white space.
[13:05] The look and feel of the book and the page are as important as the text. So, keep that in mind because too many people spend so much time on the text and then they’re in a hurry, and they don’t do anything else right.
[13:19] Once, you’ve got everything in place and you publish your book, you need reviews. And the reason you need to get reviews is that one of the reasons I love doing Amazon bestseller launches is that there are all these announcement sites and I’ll talk more about that in a minute. But, before you can use a lot of them, you ‘ve got to get reviews (4- and 5-star reviews).
The best way to get reviews is to ask for them. You can ask at the end of your book.
You can create a beta group of readers and you ask them for feedback before the book is done or right when it’s done but not formatted..actually is the best time, and you offer to give them a free copy of your book in exchange for feedback and ask them if they would also be willing to write a review when the book is live.
You can ask Amazon reviewers to review your book and I have a free report on how to do that at http://ellenlikes.com/amazon-reviewers
[14;18] Once you have at least 4-6 reviews, you are ready to officially launch your book and not before, because you have to get a lot of downloads on a free launch and sales on a paid launch in order to get to #1 bestseller status.
But, if you haven’t spent months or years getting ready for your launch, it can be difficult to get to #1 in paid. One way to do it is to accept pre-orders. You can only do this 3 months in advance or less in Amazon. And you have to be absolutely sure that you will be ready ten days before your launch date, so you’ve got to get it in ten days before. And also if you don’t, you will lose all your pre-orders, and you won’t be able to use the pre-order strategy for a. year.
The other way, which is what I recommend for most authors because most haven’t got three months in advance, or they are not confident enough to know that it will be done in time, so we do what’s called a “hybrid launch”.
[15:18] This is where we do the launch free for two days, and then we discount it for a week to ten days after that. A lot of authors turn up their nose at this because they don’t want to give their book for free after they’ve done all that work, but I am going to show you why that is not a good mindset to have.
[15:35] First, when you put your book in KDP Select and offer the book for free, once it is no longer free, the minimum price you can charge is $2.99 and get a 70% royalty. You also have to give Amazon a 90-day exclusive, but then you could take it out.
When you offer it for less than that, it’s not in KDP select you only get a 35% royalty. So that means you get $2.00 (royalty) a book after your two free days, but if you charge less, and we usually do .99 ( when not in KDP) you only get about 35 cents a book. So, you have to sell a lot more books at .99 than you have to sell at $2.00 (royalty, $2.99 retail) to even make the same amount of money.. And I’ve done both and tested it out. I didn’t sell as many books on the free one going into the paid one, because since they were free to start, we gave a bunch of them away, but because the royalty was $2.00 a book, we made just as much money and the reason I like the free first approach better….it allows the author to give value by offering the book for free first, knowing that some people will not see it and others will see it and get distracted, forget to get it for free and will then buy it on the discount.
[16;57] This happened to me just last week! I missed the free days, and I knew it was going to be free because it was the book a friend of mine was launching for friends of hers, and I was coaching her through the process! I can’t believe it, but I still missed it!
And that way, potential buyers can’t be angry that they missed it. It’s on them because you made it free first. And they are more willing to make the purchase. Plus, we always offer extra bonuses during the launch to create urgency because that also gets more people to make the purchase during the launch and that helps you keep the ranking up.
[17:28] Also, one of the benefits of free launches, which I mentioned earlier, is the ability to use the announcement sites; they will announce your book launch to their audiences. And a lot of these sites have huge numbers of followers because they have been growing these lists for years, and you can get in and leverage their lists. (And many of them are free to use.)
That’s why you don’t need to have the relationships in advance to do an Amazon free launch. You don’t need to have a big social-media following or even any social following if you do it right and you don’t need to buy ads. You can use the announcement sites. Now there are sites where you can also announce paid books but 1. A lot of them are not free and 2. There are not anywhere near as many of them.
[18:07] Now another thing is and this actually works really well for fiction books too or non-fiction if you’re writing a lot of books, you can do a free one for five days, and you just do it to get a bunch of readers so that you have them for your next book that you’re charging for.
[18:22] So now here’s another cool thing about book launches, once you learn how to do them, it’s a strategy you can use over and over again. You can relaunch the same book in six months or a year, now you don’t make as many usually-you don’t make as many sales or get as many downloads the second time, but you can still get quite a few. And you can use the same strategy on subsequent books.
And each time you launch a book or promote a book, Amazon shows all your other books, so when you promote one, you’re actually promoting all of them, and you’ll end up selling the other books as well. It’s a really cool strategy.
[18:59] Unfortunately, I see so many authors do it once and never do it again, and it takes a lot more effort to keep learning new strategies than it does to use one that you’ve learned again and again.
[19:14] So, that’s what I wanted to share about doing Amazon bestsellers.
If you have a new book that you’d like to launch or an existing book that you’d like to promote and you are willing to do the work to make it happen, you are welcome to set up a complimentary Bestseller Book Consultation at: http://ellenlikes.com/scheduleconsult where I will give you feedback on what I think your book needs to be a bestseller and if that resonates with you and you’d like to see if we’re a fit and how I can help you move forward then I would love to talk to you. .
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