Posts Tagged ‘promotions’

Amazon Lists

August 9, 2012 2 comments

I must make mention of one of the best things you can do to sell ebooks and books, which will also prove the most frustrating — Amazon’s lists.

There are several lists to be aware of (and use if you can) on Amazon.

Best Seller’s lists — there is an overall best seller’s list (which you can see how your book or ebook is doing by looking at the “Rank” in the Product Details portion of your book’s buy page).  Sales + sales history will make a book move up or down on this list.  So if you have a spike in sales over a short period, this rank will climb.  But it can be very volatile, and unless you make it onto the Top 100, the only place you can see your book’s rank is on your book’s page.

Category Best Seller’s lists — These are smaller best seller’s lists derived from the categories you put your book in when you upload it to KDP.  So for example, my book went to #86 on the Best Seller’s list (yes, the big one), but at that time it was #1 on four category lists:

Now, one of the uplists (I think it was Religious Fiction) was the fourth list it was #1 on.

Basically when you hit a rank on a category list, your book is ON ever list listed.  So you can back track up the lists to see where it ranks on each list (each uplist gets progressively bigger).

When you make it onto a Best Seller’s Category list, you are a best seller.  Take a screen cap and save it for proof!

Popularity Lists

When people go to Amazon with no set book in mind, they will often search.  The popularity lists can be a very powerful way to get books to people who might otherwise never see your books.  The trick is how to get on them.

Before May 2012, this was relatively easy in that the popularity lists were devised pretty much the same way the Best Seller’s lists were (sales + sales history).  However, in May, Amazon changed the system so now they’ve added the revenue brought in by a title to the ranking order.  So if I sold 11 ebooks at 99 cents and you sold 1 at $11.99, my book would have outranked yours on the popularity lists.  However, now your one sale (because of the higher revenue) would now outrank my 11 sales.

So to get onto the popularity lists, you have to sell a lot of books at a higher price.  Needless to say, that’s a lot tougher to do.

To see this type of list click here.


These are like the popularity lists in how the ranks are determined.  There are many of these on Amazon such as Hot Releases and Top-Rated in each Category. These are fun to watch and can be good landing pages if your book ranks highly.

Tagged lists

Finally, there are lists based on the tags on your book.  Simply click on the tag on your book page (toward the bottom–you should have your books tagged!) and see where your book ranks.  These can be great landing pages especially for those just starting out.

For an example of that kind of list, click here.

Lists will really help you sell.  It’s getting on them that’s the tough part, and staying on them is even tougher.  But being on a list will definitely increase sales so it’s something to understand and work toward.


Twitter: A Spreadsheet Strategy

Before we leave the topic of Twitter, I want to touch on two things.

The first is how often to tweet.  When I first hit Twitter, this was not a problem because there are only so many hours in the day.  Then I realized with Hootsuite that I could schedule tweets rapidly over the course of say an hour or so.

Watching both my Twitter feed and my sales, I realized there was a correlation for my stuff with what I tweeted to what I sold.

As I was doing this research, I started learning to bulk upload.  At first I did a spreadsheet a day, which ran from around 6 a.m. to about 10 p.m. and focused on one book, with blog posts thrown in as well.

Then I began helping others with promotions on what they were marketing–a group promoting their books together for example.  I began to understand that tweeting could not be inconsistent.  It needed to be focused and well-thought-out to be effective.

(Let me also throw in here that it makes a difference what your books are about.  Some genres sell better via Twitter than others.  I know one person who has sworn off Twitter because when he posts, his sales go down.  I don’t know why.  I don’t have any explanation for it.  But I’m taking him at his word.  So please understand that I’m telling you what has worked for me.  If it doesn’t work for you, try something else!)

What I eventually got to was having spreadsheets of 50 tweets at a time (the max Hootsuite will let you upload).  They are a mix of posts about my blog, about my books, and about my site

At first I sent them out about 3 an hour.  Then I expanded that to every 15 minutes, then every 10.  I now put out tweets every 5 minutes.  I have about 12 spreadsheets prepared that are a mix of tweets to different landing pages for my things.

Each morning I choose 3 to 4 of them (depending on how many of my 200 I have left).  I reset the dates and times and upload them.

Now that everything is set up, I can do this in about 10 minutes in the morning, and tweets are done for the rest of the day.

Every so often, I write up a new spreadsheet or two just to keep things interesting, but I think the variety in what I’ve got works very well.

Oh, and my followers have increased since doing this too.  So don’t think you are going to chase people off–so long as you literally have 100’s of different tweets to different landing pages and are not sending out the same or almost the same one all day every day!

“Stacking” Waves

January 26, 2012 1 comment

Last time we talked about how marketing a book is like surfing.  To surf, you have to paddle out into the ocean, wait for a wave, ride the wave to the shore and start over.

Let’s take a brief look at how this analogy works with a guest blog.

The paddling part of doing a guest blog is finding someone to post your guest blog, writing the blog, compiling the marketing package–the blog, your headshot, your bio, a tag and possibly your book cover.  Sending it all in and following up. That’s a lot of effort for one little, bitty blog, right?  That’s why they call it “paddling.”

Then comes the wait.  It takes time for the host blogger to put the article up and more time for it to appear.

Finally, the article comes out and you “ride the wave” by tweeting about it, Facebooking it (and any other promotional venues you have), and you have to monitor and respond to guest commenters.

After a day or so, that wave deposits you on the shore, and you have to start all over again.

At least that’s what I used to do. In order to see consistent sales, however, you must learn to “stack” waves.  Instead of going through one whole promotion before you start the next, learn to schedule and stack your waves.  So that on Monday one article comes out on one site and you ride that wave as you begin paddling for another wave two weeks away.

You can also “vary” your waves.  Do guest blogs, interviews, get reviews, do promotions with other authors.  When you get good at stacking waves, you should begin to see consistency in your sales.  Otherwise every time you get back to shore, you will feel a big let down and it will be much harder to convince yourself to paddle back out.

If you’ve already paddled halfway back out for the next wave, it will be much easier to go the rest of the way and catch the next wave!

Although I do recommend stacking waves, I don’t recommend doing more than two on a given day. You need, on the days the article or interview actually posts, to have time to ride the wave.  Otherwise, you are doing a lot of paddling and not much riding, and that’s no fun at all!

Build Your Hill, Day 4

January 12, 2012 1 comment

Day 4

Last time we talked about the results of our hill.  We said if our hill looks like this:

we do all the work for very little benefit, and when we stop promotions, everything stops or goes backward.

If our “hill” is flat, like this:

We have to push very hard to get anything going.  When we stop, it stops. But here we do have a few places to at least promo what we’re doing.

If our hill is downhill–we have content and places to post and a good amount of viewers, the going will be a bit easier:

But what we really want is a landslide:

So how do you get Landslide Promotions?

To get Landslide Promotions, you have to think terms of four things:

1) Build your hill

2) Find viewers & followers (pull)

3) Promote your content (pull/push)

4) Exponentialize

We will work on each of these individually, but for today I want you to visualize it this way:

In Build Your Hill/Landslide Promotions, you start by building your hill.  If you have no hill, your promotions will go nowhere.

Your hill is any base of content you can come up with.  It might be your blog, your books, your Twitter account, or your website.  It is your platform.  Now a hill with no viewers will not do you any good, but viewers will not show up if you have no hill either. So you have to have all of these:

1) Content

2) Viewers

3) Promotional efforts

Deleting any one of these components and you will have an uphill or flat rate of promotional success.

But doing just these three will result in downhill marketing.

However, if you want Landslide Promotions, you have to go one step further and “expoentialize”–that is find ways to get your message out through other people’s hills as well.  When you do this, Landslide Promotions begin to happen.

In the coming weeks we will talk about all of the components pictured in Build the Hill.  For now, consider where your marketing is and how you can take it to the next level through these components.

Deeper Fundamentals of Marketing

January 5, 2012 2 comments

Day 2

There are four fundamentals to consider when building your marketing strategy–pull, push, content, promos, and remember, right now, we’re just getting an overview of these. As we go through the course, we will take an in-depth look at each one and discuss how it might fit into your overall strategy.

In Lesson 1 we discussed pulling vs. pushing marketing.  As the article stated, your strategy must be some pull (pulling the audience to you) and some push (offering your products).  If all you do is push, you will turn people off.  There are several authors on Twitter who are really annoying.  They make every single post about their book.  That’s fine SOME of the time, but all of the time, you are now into wasting my time territory.

However, if all you do is pull people, you will not sell very much because they won’t know you have anything to sell or how to get it.  I’m bad about this in real life.  Countless times people have come up to me and said, “Did I hear that right, are you an author?”  And these people have known me for years!  In the hopes of not being pushy, I didn’t push at all!

So there has to be a balance here.

Also, the two other factors must be considered as well:  Content and Promos.  You must learn to pull and push in your content AND in your promos.

Think of it this way.

You must pull and push with your content.  And you must pull and push with your Promos.  If you are not getting positive results, I guarantee you are not doing some part of this dynamic.

You have to have an audience to push to.  If you’re not pulling and expanding your audience, you will never grow your sales.  And if you do not have content that pulls and pushes, sales aren’t going to come either.  You’ve got to learn to do all of these to be effective.

So today examine your strategy.  Where are you weak?  Do you have great content but have trouble promoting it (a pushing problem)?  Do you have no followers to promote to (a pulling deficiency)?  Do you have no clue how to write promotions that sell rather than annoy? Or are you just completely lost on all of it?

In the coming weeks we will talk about all of these so not only will you understand them, you will be able to USE them in forming your own strategy.  For now, identify where YOU need the most help.