Becoming a bestseller is almost every author’s dream. However, not every author is able to achieve it. Ever stop to wonder why? Let’s assume you have a book that’s well-written, properly edited, and correctly formatted. But something is still holding your work back. What gives?
The biggest cause for this probably lies within your book marketing. I’ll define book marketing as “all the actions taken to get your book in front of the appropriate audience.” And here’s some good news: When you combine a great book with the right book marketing strategies and tools, you can give yourself a great chance of maximizing your potential and obtaining that orange Amazon ribbon.
Here are three book marketing lessons that will give you a huge head start.
Keyword and Category Choices are Paramount
When you first self-publish your book on Amazon, you’re immediately confronted with a few huge decisions. Decisions that, if you’re not prepared for them, can act against you in your quest to become an Amazon Bestseller. These decisions are your keyword and category selections.
What are Amazon keywords? You know that little search bar at the top of Amazon’s pages? The word or phrases typed into that box are keywords. When a customer searches for a set of keywords (i.e., “best young adult sci fi”), books with that particular phrasing will appear in the search results. That’s why it’s super important to make sure you have the right keywords assigned to your book. Failing to optimize your keywords could cause readers to miss your book and for you to miss out on potential sales.
As far as categories go, they’re somewhat similar to keywords. They help shoppers find your book particularly through open browsing, and choosing the right ones is key. For instance, if you were to write a children’s book about disabilities, you wouldn’t want to list it with the cookbooks.
That’s obvious, but here’s a tip many people don’t know: You can actually put your book in up to 10 different categories (here’s how).
More categories can mean more exposure. And since bestseller status is based on categories, the more that you’re in, the more opportunities you have — which increases your chance of becoming a bestseller.
AMS Can Supplement Your Organic Amazon Traffic
Whereas the strategies I just taught you can help you get free traffic to your book, it might not surprise you to find that those who also run effective advertising campaigns have a much better chance at becoming an Amazon bestseller. But are AMS ads right for you?
AMS ads can be a bit tricky. They aren’t as simple as set-it-and-forget-it. You need to be able to dedicate time and patience to them in order to maximize your gains. If not, you could just be losing money on advertising costs.
But that’s not to say they aren’t worth it. With a little research, planning, and hands-on practice, your AMS ad campaigns can be your greatest assets when it comes to gaining bestseller status. For example, if you’re a food blogger with a slow cooker cookbook to sell, imagine showing up in the sponsored spot when your ideal reader searches for “slow cooker cookbook,” “crockpot cookbook,” “slow cooker recipes for beginners,” and dozens of other keywords? It’s a big leg up.
Now, there are two different types of ads you can currently run. Sponsored display ads and lock screen ads. Both of which have pros and cons. In order to find out more about these two, check out my free course on the subject where I breakdown each type of ad in explicit detail and show you how to run them.
You Need to Convert Attention into Book Sales
You’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, so you’d better make it count. Your book makes its first impression in a couple of ways.
The first piece of your book your potential readers will see is your cover. I bet at first glance your cover looks amazing! Right? You wouldn’t have used it if it were bad. But what if it could be done better? Your best bet for testing this is usually to ask a few people with unbiased eyes give you an honest opinion. Ideally, you’re looking for people who would be interested in a book like yours. Show them a list of covers with yours and a few competitors. It’s best if they don’t know which is yours, so consider blurring the authors’ names. Ask your friends which covers really get their attention in a good way. Ask what they like about the covers they choose (the bright color, the large font, the cool picture? etc). See if there are any takeaways you can apply to your own cover.
Another first impression you may want to clean up is your blurb—or book description. You may be getting great attention with your cover, but a poorly written description can easily demolish all that good energy. A few simple changes to your blurb can make or break your chances at being an Amazon Bestseller.
No matter what genre you’re writing in, the key is to think about what your ideal customers are looking for and speak to those needs. I’m a big fan of how the description for Meet Maya Cat, a picture book about disabilities, shows how the book will be both entertaining and educational:
Written to normalize physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities or conditions of all kinds, this book can open everyone’s eyes to the idea that every life deserves love and acceptance. It encourages children to treat others as they want to be treated, and encourages inclusion through the metaphor of a silly little cat.
When a higher percentage of your viewers actually click purchase, you give yourself a much better chance of becoming a bestseller.
Expert Book Cover Design
Work with an experienced book cover designer to make your book stand out from the crowd
Be Persistent and Vigilant
Normally, becoming a bestseller isn’t something that’s just going to happen overnight. It takes research, patience, and even a little bit of luck. But if you’re book well-written and you market intelligently, you absolutely have a fighting chance.
If you’re looking for a new book cover, you may want to consider utilizing a free book cover maker such as Krita—or hiring a pro if your creativity doesn’t extend to cover art.
And when it comes to keywords and categories, a tool like Publisher Rocket could help. Publisher Rocket is a book marketing tool I created to help self-publishing authors to optimize their keyword, category, and AMS potential.
By utilizing every possible advantage to get attention and convert that attention to sales, you can definitely boost your book’s ability to become an Amazon Bestseller.