You have now decided to self-publish your eBook on Amazon. Congratulations! But I am sure that, like everyone else, you would love to be a successful author. But how can you achieve that? By using all the tools you have in hands, and give it a little bit of time. Success doesn’t come overnight, you have to make room for it.
I’ve asked 7 experts to give their best tips on how to nail it like a pro. From publishers to indie authors, they are the best in their fields. They even might have some gems for you, so let’s get started: what is their best advice to become successful on Amazon?
Will Entrekin: “Do it great”
The trick is I’m not sure most would consider me successful, and I’m not self-published. That said, if you’re going to publish a book on Kindle, my advice for success is do it great. Write great, edit great, design great, and publish great. If you do those things as you define great, I think you’ll feel successful about what you’re doing. I think the authors I work with would tell you something similar. Selling books and hitting rankings is obviously a hope, but they’re mostly not under writers’ control.
What can we control? Effort. Attention to detail. Dedication to craft. We can control whom we work with for editing, and who designs our covers. We can control the publishing button, and commit to pressing it when and only when what we’ve created is as good as we can possibly make it.
And if it is? Regardless of sales and ranking, I’d call that success.
K.M. Weiland: “Build an email list”
Start building an email list as soon as you can, since this will be your only assured direct route to dedicated readers. Give them content they care about to keep their attention: drawings, freebies, special deals, glimpses into your life. Then craft your book launches with care, since Amazon’s sales algorithms will treat you right if you can prove early on that you can generate sales. And most of all—have fun! Don’t let marketing be a chore; embrace it as a challenge. Your audience will sense that attitude and respond to it.
Kristen Martin: “Have a solid Author Platform”
In order to be successful on Amazon, or really in any marketplace where books are sold, it’s important to have a solid foundation for your author platform. There are many different ways to build and grow an author platform, namely social media, and I’ve found YouTube to be instrumental in my growth as a self-published author. In addition, as I connect with my readers and viewers, I always ask if they’ll write me reviews for my books on Amazon. Because I am offering value through the content I create via my YouTube channel, many readers and viewers are more than willing to help out and write a review. These reviews help to gain more exposure for your book. Build a strong foundation for your author platform, and your exposure will grow not only on Amazon, but in other marketplaces as well.
Rayne Hall: “Offer a sample”
Today, most books are sold online, and readers click ‘view inside’ or ‘download sample’ to see if they like the book. Many download and read several samples before deciding which book to buy.
The first pages sell your book, so make them as enticing as possible. Choose a compelling opening situation, polish the prose to the highest possible standard, and make sure the section is error-free.
Once the readers’ appetite is whetted, they simply need to find out what happens next, so they’ll click ‘buy now’ to read on.
Indie authors often miss this opportunity. I’ve seen books where the free sample consists of several pages of legal disclaimers, acknowledgements, dedications, promotional text, even blank pages… and nothing of the actual story or content. Naturally, readers click to the next sample, get hooked and buy that book instead.
Jeff Goins: “Get people to talk about your book”
Get a launch team of at least 100 people to read the book and agree to talk about it and leave a review for you. The best marketing you can do for a book is getting the book in the people’s hands and getting them to read it and talk about it.
Anne R. Allen: “Make it professional”
Remember your Amazon “buy page” closes the sale. Make it professional! Study the buy pages of bestselling authors to see how they do it.
Polish that product description until it’s irresistible. It’s a hook, not a book report.
You’ll also need a professional bio (3rd person, present tense, short and to the point). Skip the part about how you’ve wanted to be a writer since third grade and why you decided to self-publish.
Also, do your best to gather “editorial” reviews. If you can get an endorsement from a famous writer in your genre, it’s going to mean more than 50 of the ladies from your mom’s garden club saying “This looks like a nice book. I plan to read it one day.”
And skip the “from the author” statement unless you’ve got something earth-shaking to say. Most of the pros skip it.
Carrie D. Miller: “Choose the right categories”
If your book is not in the right categories, you won’t see the kind of sales you want. When publishing your ebook, you get to pick only two categories. Note: the categories displayed in the ‘Bookshelf’ are BISAC categories (Book Industry Standards and Communications) and won’t match the categories on the website.
So, what can you do to make sure your book gets into the categories you think it belongs? Ask Amazon to add them! It’s as simple as that. On two separate occasions, I identified several categories that I felt my novel belonged in but were outside of the two I selected in the ‘Bookshelf’. I used Amazon’s contact form and asked them to slot my book into those categories. They obliged each time and even went so far as to make suggestions! The old adage is true: it never hurts to ask.
Thanks to Will Entrekin, K.M. Weiland, Kristen Martin, Rayne Hall, Jeff Goins, Anne R. Allen et Carrie D. Miller for their participations! Don’t hesitate to have a look at their websites and to subscribe to their channels, they all are experts in their fields and you will learn a great deal from them.
This article ends the series about publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I loved writing it. Don’t hesitate to tell me which subject you’d like me to cover in a next article.
Do you have any advice on how to be successful on Amazon?
Feel free to tweet me @vdvestelle
This article is part of a series of posts about Self-Publishing on Amazon.
1. How to get your eBook ready for publishing
2. Do you really need an ISBN in digital?
3. What is metadata and how to use it for your eBook?
4. Making Money Writing with Kindle Direct Publishing