Picking the right market, especially in Kindle, is half the game. There’s a balance that you have to strike between finding a niche that you can dominate, and selling enough books in that niche each month that it matters. The best way to assess market size is by looking at “Amazon’s Sellers Rank”
figures. (This figure can be found under every book).
There’s a Kindle Sales Rank Calculator over at: http://www.kdpcalculator.com …that will tell you, with pretty decent accuracy, how many books are being sold in Amazon for any title at any given time, but here are some general “rules of thumb” so you can get a sense of how “Sellers Rank” can help you determine sales volumes.
Based on my research, books with a Sellers Rank of 1000 to 3000 average 20 – 30
sales per day.
Books in the 10,000 Sales Rank range tend to sell 3 - 6 copies per day, and books in
the 30,000 range only sell 2 – 3 copies per day.
Again, for more accurate estimates you can use KDPCalculator.com …just remember that any number is an estimate, at best, because Amazon keeps their data proprietary.
Either way, if the top books in your category all have a Sellers Rank above 30,000,
that’s probably a market that will be fairly easy to own.
The KPD Select Program
Amazon has a program called the KDP Select program that I found to be a very useful tool in the promotion of Kindle books. You can choose to enroll your book in KDP Select as the very first step in the upload process…
But this program is not without its “gotchas”…
#1. Amazon requires 90 days of exclusivity for any ebook you enroll into KDP Select. In other words, you can’t sell or give away your book on any other site (including your own) for a full 3 months. That means you have to wait to publish your book on other channels such as Apple,
Barnes and Noble, Android and Sony. This is definitely a bummer, but as you’re about to see it’s a sacrifice worth making…
#2. Amazon Prime members are allowed to borrow your book without purchasing it. This sounds bad, at first, but fortunately they do pay you for these free “Borrows”…
Currently this fee is ranging between $1.40 and $1.70 per book borrowed, which is certainly better than a sharp stick in the eye. In addition to the extra money, Amazon also allows KDP participants to give away their book for free for 5 days every 90 days as a promotion.
Here’s the big zinger. Amazon counts those books that are downloaded for free as sales, and allows reviewers from those sales to be listed as verified purchasers in the reviews. In other words, you can let people download your book for free and then give a review of your book as if they paid money for it. These reviews go a long way with Amazon buyers.
There are really two goals that you should keep in mind if you decide to make a free promotional run on your book.
#1 Downloads – The sheer number of downloads a book gets seems to make a big difference in how well it sells after the free download period. Based on research, you will sell between 3% and 5% as many books in the 1st month after a free promotion as you gave away, and that number tends to hold for 3–4 months. In other words, a book that you give away 10,000 copies should sell between 300
and 500 copies the next month. And the really good news is that by the time the book sales begin to slow, you’ll have another 5 day giveaway period to re-promote it…and the cycle continues.
#2 Reviews - Reviews sell books.
7 Proven Promotional Ideas
Now let’s talk about how you actually promote your book both during the free promotional time and after the book is in paid status. Remember, the number one objective is to give away a lot of books and there’s no better place to do that and on freebie sites.
1. Freebie Sites
One of the easiest ways to “juice” your Kindle downloads is to offer your book for free on one of the many “freebie” sites on the web. Here’s a list of a few freebie sites:
NOTE: You can Google “free stuff” and “freebies” for even more sites and forums just like the ones above.
The good news is the people on these sites do download a lot of books. The bad news is they don’t really read them, so reviews will be low and future conversions will be even lower. For this exercise it really doesn’t matter. Right now, all you want is downloads so you can push your book higher and higher in its category. Once it’s at the top, the “real” readers will start buying…
2. Free Kindle Sites
The very best place to promote your book during the free promotional period are freebie sites designed specifically for free Kindle books. Here’s a list of some of the ones that you should approach:
But before you approach these “Free Kindle” websites, there’s something you need to keep in mind…
Most of these sites don’t accept advertising and will only promote your book if they like it or you. I would not approach the sites until your book already has at least 5 positive reviews. And above all else, remember that the site owners are doing you a favor…so be nice.
3. Niche Forums
If your book is on a niche topic niche forums are a great way to give away your book.
4. Facebook Fan Pages and Groups
Facebook is a powerfully viral tool for the Kindle publisher. There are literally hundreds of pages dedicated to freebies, free Kindle books, and niche passion topics. Participating these groups is easy. Simply search your topic as if you are looking for an old friend on Facebook.
To find the most powerful pages you may consider doing a Google search (Search string: “keyword” facebook.com)
5. Remnant Ads
If you have a few dollars to spend, remnant ads are a great choice. “Remnant ads” are ads that have gone unsold, so you’re able to lock them down for dirt-cheap prices. These types of ads are typically not very effective at selling products, but when you’re giving away a Kindle book for free they can be VERY powerful. And again, they’re wicked cheap…Check out a site called Sitescout.com that allows you to buy banner ads at around $.10 - $.20 per 1000 impressions…
6. Press Releases
Getting your book into the press will help you in two different ways. First, it will get the word out about giving away your book for free. Most of our press releases will drive between 300-1000 clicks back to our Amazon sales pages. The service that I like using the most is the press release syndication from Webwire.com…
7. Private Masterminds
Probably the most powerful tool in the arsenal is having friends who are also Amazon publishers, which would be a number of private masterminds that is formed of writers and publishers who have agreed to download and review each others’ books during their 5-day promotional periods.
This absolutely ensures the success of most books. And the bigger the network, the higher your chances of success.
After Free Promotions
Once your book switches to paid, things change quite a lot. You should be earning roughly $2.06 per $2.99 book that you sell, which means just a dozen or so sales a day could very well cover your car payment. Not bad, eh? Here are a couple of ways that we promote books after they go to the paid category.
1. Google PPC
Yep, good old Google AdWords: http://adwords.google.com While Google will not allow you to run ads directly to your Amazon page, they will allow you to run ads to your own web page where you can then direct folks over to Amazon. Experiment with sales letters that send people over to purchase your Amazon books. The sales letters should only last 3 to 5 minutes and can be created with PowerPoint in 30 minutes or less.
2. Facebook Ads
Similar to Google Adwords, Facebook ads are another effective way to drive people to buy your book. While Facebook ads are typically less expensive per click than Google, they usually don’t convert as well so the ROI winds up working out more or less the same. There are a number of tricks that you can use to increase your conversion from any PPC Amazon campaign. One of the bigger ones is making sure that your buyer realizes when they click the buy button are going to Amazon. That way they know they’re going to a retailer they trust, and there are no up-sells or shenanigans.
The little mini video sales letters I talked about above are working quite well in some niche topics in YouTube. And it’s fairly easy to get a YouTube video to rank high in Google (especially if you
utilize the Press Release method I talked about earlier), so if you play your cards right you could end up having both a YouTube video and your Amazon page in the top of Google for your primary keywords. Using YouTube to sell Kindle books that are below $5 is a very effective strategy and
one that we will be using in volume in the future. But fair warning: It doesn’t work nearly as well if you price your book above $10.
While SEO has become increasingly difficult for websites, it’s still quite easy to use basic SEO tactics to rank Amazon pages in Google because Amazon.com is such a high-authority website.
Here the big takeaways that you should remember from this report.
Number 1. Nothing is better than having a community of friends to help you promote your books. With enough people supporting you, you can absolutely rule your category.
Number 2. If you have to spend a few bucks to promote your book you’ll only have to do it for a short period time to prime the pump. Remember, Amazon is the greatest bookseller in the history of mankind. Get your book to the top of listings and Amazon will sell for you.
Number 3. Getting your book in the hands of thousands of people for free is far easier than you think, and getting those people to give you reviews will be faster than if you sold your book one at a time.
Number 4. Kindle is here to stay. I’m sure if you’ve read this far, you have to agree that Kindle is ruling (and will continue to rule) the book and ebook markets for some time to come.
Number 5. You have a level playing field, at least for a while, to compete with the big boys like Simon & Schuster and Random House.
Well, good luck! Start publishing!
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The Guido Guru