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Every author dreams of releasing a book and becoming an instant bestseller on Amazon, but sometimes all your hard work can result in lackluster sales. You can change that. While there are no guarantees for turning disappointing sales into big bucks, there are still a few things you can do to boost your numbers. In this post, we’ll tell you about some of the best tips and tricks to ensure your book is optimally placed to grab readers’ attention, increase your visibility, and make Amazon’s algorithms work for you.
1. Make sure you have an incredible cover.
When it comes to book sales, you should always judge your book by its cover. An excellent cover is the first thing a reader will see. Take the time to look at bestselling books in your genre, and consider hiring a designer to create a cover that looks professional, exciting, and engaging.
2. Create an irresistible and well-written book description.
Next to the front cover, the book description is the most important way to grab a reader’s attention. Try to include author blurbs and endorsements, review excerpts, comparable authors or books, and genre-specific keywords. Your description should draw the reader in. You can do this by ensuring the description is error-free, present tense, and filled with character and dramatic tension.
3. Make sure your book is free of grammar, spelling, and formatting errors.
Hire an editor to ensure your book is error free. Not only will errors result in a lower ranking—which in turn will result in less visibility and therefore fewer sales—but it will also result in poorer reviews, which can also affect your bottom line.
4. Clearly identify your categories and keywords.
Categories are essentially genres, and you’re restricted to just two. We recommend selecting a broader category for the first genre (such as romance) and then selecting a more specific subgenre (such as historical romance).
Keywords are the words and terms a reader would be most likely to use to find your book. Imagine you're using a search engine to discover your book—what words would you associate with it? What is your book about? How would you describe it? Include descriptions of your setting, your characters (both the character types and their role in the book), plot themes or tropes, and descriptive words for the tone of your story. You only have a 50-word limit, so use them wisely.
Remember—your categories and keywords can be changed at any time. If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, consider changing your keywords.
5. Update your author page.
Ensure you’ve included a short, well-written biography and a professional-looking photo, and upload as many peripherals as possible, such as book trailers, social media and website information, and a full list of your current books.
6. Consider using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
KDP has many benefits for authors, including their “lending” program, which can sometimes net authors more income than their sales. KDP can be a great way to grow your audience on Amazon, offer great discounts to readers, and help with promotion, but make sure you read the fine print. Being part of the KDP program means you must sell your book exclusively on Amazon, so if you’re planning for big sales on other platforms, this might not be the best choice for you.
7. Improve your Amazon ranking.
A higher ranking ensures that your book will be seen by other readers. For Amazon, the best way to increase your ranking is by having the greatest number of sales in a short period of time. But offering your book for free for a limited time has drawbacks. Did you know that readers are less inclined to read a free book than they are to read one that they paid for? Competitively price your book, and consider running short-term promotional discounts. Remember that discounts will always boost your sales ... but readers may be less inclined to purchase your book at the original, full price after you start discounting it.
8. Get as many reader reviews as possible.
Not to be confused with book reviews from the press or trade publications, start with friends and family. Approach your readers (especially if you have a mailing list or a following on social media) and consider ARCs, or “advance reader copies,” that are given to your most dedicated fans for free in exchange for a review. For the best results, start approaching readers to write reviews well before your book is published.
9. Check to make sure your “Look Inside” preview is engaging.
Many authors don’t often to check to make sure their preview will intrigue readers. With only moments to grab a reader’s attention, you’ll want to make sure your preview isn’t filled with acknowledgments, thank-yous, or a lengthy introduction. You may need to consider re-editing the opening of your book so that the preview will immediately pull in your readers.
10. Start marketing your book early, and don’t stop.
When it comes to marketing and promoting your book, it helps to think of it as a marathon, and not a sprint. The greatest challenge in becoming a successful author is getting your book noticed, whether that’s on a bookseller site like Amazon, or if it’s reaching readers through social media, blogs, newsletters and mailing lists, and even advertising. From the time you start writing your book to the time you publish and sell your book, you’ll need to stay active and engaged, keeping you and your book in the spotlight as often as possible.