Although anyone can get their book on Amazon, there’s undeniable kudos in being a published author. The kudos is greater, however, for those who can say I’m a bestselling author.
I’m going to detail every step of my creation and marketing processes for my Amazon bestseller (See? Sounds good!) Build a Brand, Create Products and Earn Passive Income so you can replicate.
The creation process
Most of the creation process I gleaned from various experts in the field.
The book was conceived in a very special way. I was asked to speak at the 4 Hour Work-Week meetup group here in London by my friend Deepak Tailor. In order to warm up for the occasion I accepted an invitation from another friend, Kanu Kaushal, to speak in front of a smaller group on the same subject.
But first I had to think of an idea. A lot of people pick low-competition categories in Amazon and reverse engineer a title with popular keywords but this was different.
I just tried to provide value. I sat down and thought of the most valuable information I could give to the entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs who attended such events.
So I fleshed out a mind map. It went something like this:
- Introduction (I was a dogsbody and now I make a living online which includes £3500/month passive income)
- Blogging (what it is, why you should do it, how to do it)
- Email marketing (what it is, why you should do it, how to do it)
- Introduction to intimate content
- Podcasting (what it is, why you should do it, how to do it)
- Self publishing (what it is, why you should do it, how to do it)
- Online teaching with video (what it is, why you should do it, how to do it)
I’ve never been one for lengthy planning…
After you plan and before you write, you research. Make sure that all the facts or figures you’ll need during the writing process are ready at your fingertips so you aren’t distracted.
With your plan and research done, you write. Be really strict with yourself. Make sure you write a certain amount of words first thing each day (750 words, 1,000 words, for some, 2,000 words). Whatever word count is right for you, stick to it daily.
Don’t let anything stop the writing process. This period is described as “the word vomit” by Paul Jarvis.
Write, write and write. Don’t edit. Don’t worry, Don’t stop to look something up you forgot in the research phase, add a “to come” note to yourself. Just write!
This is when the magic happens – I love this part! In the first read through you will hopefully trim about 20-30% of the fat. You’ll be amazed at how rubbish your first draft was and how much better you’re making it.
Now my text is finished, I convert the Word document to Kindle Mobi with Sigil and convert the Word document to a CreateSpace PDF with InDesign.
I have my two final products ready. This is where my two worst friends Self Doubt and Impostor Syndrome have a party inside my head saying, “no one’s going to buy this crap!” However, I upload the Mobi at kdp.amazon.com and the paperback PDF at CreateSpace.
Unfortunately, writing and publishing a book isn’t enough. The success is entirely dependent on marketing, unless your name happens to be Steven King.
The Marketing Process
In truth the marketing process starts as soon as the creation process starts.
1. Ask for feedback
As soon as you have an idea for a book, ask people (email list, Facebook friends, family, author friends) what they think. Everyone will chime in with an opinion. This is priceless market research and great marketing.
I ask people about the content, title and cover of the book – all are as important as each other. The feedback you get is fascinating.
I usually do this in the places where I hangout online, like Pat’s First Kindle Book Facebook group.
2. Give out free PDFs
I give out free PDFs of the book to the people who were especially involved in the feedback process. These people who have closely identified with the project and they are the best people to ask for an Amazon review later on.
I initially publish the Kindle at $0.99. This isn’t the “hold the front page” launch moment. You have to wait a few days for Amazon to link up the Kindle with the CreateSpace paperback. Once that happens you’re ready to roll.
4. Initial mailout
I send an email to my subscribers, saying something like:
Although the book is only $0.99, it will be free in a week’s time. So you don’t have to buy it now. But if you can’t wait and you’d like to buy it (and review it) now – I’d be extremely grateful.
People will buy it at $0.99 even though they know it will be free in a week’s time (people are cool like that!)
This initial mailout to my list is important for the following reasons:
- It informs my email list of a forthcoming free gift
- It gets some sales immediately after publishing (which looks good to Amazon’s internal algorithm)
- It gets some initial reviews (you’ll notice above I mentioned reviews)
Apart from the initial mailout to my subscriber list, I don’t do any promotion after publishing at $0.99. I save it all for the free days…
5. Ask for reviews
Start asking people who you gave the free PDF to in step 2 for reviews.
5. Free days
If you enrol your new Kindle book on KDP Select when you upload at kdp.amazon.com, you’re entitled to some special Amazon marketing tools. For example, you can do a Countdown Deal on your book (offering it at a cheaper price for a short period of time which counts down) and you can have a Free Book Promotion (allowing your book to be downloaded for free for a few days).
I always schedule five days of Free Book Promotion a couple of weeks after publishing. The two weeks gives me time to register the details at free book sites.
This is the promotion I do during the free days (this is about all the promotion I ever do for the book) this puts the book on a trajectory that will, hopefully, result in a bestseller:
- Inform the various free book sites of my forthcoming free book (do this a few days before)
- Email the people I sent the free PDF to in Step 2 and ask them to share it with their audience (with a click-to-tweet) and remind them that a review would be nice
- Promote the book on several Facebook groups that are specifically for free book promotions (read their rules first)
- Mention the book on Pat’s First Kindle Book Facebook group (Remember! When you do this you have to also mention one tip, tool or strategy that has helped you in self-publishing)
- Go back to the Facebook groups and other places where I shared ideas about the book in Step 1, tell them the book is free and remind them how I’d love them forever if they’d leave a review
On the subject of reviews, remember that a review that is a “Verified Purchase” review is worth more than a review that isn’t. So if some people have read your PDF and want to leave a review, remind them that it’s best that they download the free Kindle first before they leave a review.
6. Second mailout
Still during the free day period, I mail my subscribers to tell them (as promised) that the book is now free.
I think it’s great to provide your subscribers with a free Kindle every now and then. I find people really appreciate this and you may even introduce people to the wonderful world of Kindle reading and writing.
7. The last free day
This is a trick I picked up from Nick Loper at SideHustleNation.com (great poddy there). Your free days will stop at 12 midnight PST on the last day when north America and Europe are in bed.
So stop the free promotion early at 12 noon PST on the last day. This will automatically move your book from the free lists on Amazon to the paid lists and, for a very short window, your free downloads are counted as sales. So you’re likely to be quite high up the paid bestseller charts the moment the free promotion stops. And you want that to happen when people are awake and browsing on Amazon.
As you can see in my best sellers rankings above, you can find yourself in a prominent position after the promotion.
8. After the free days
After the free days, the price goes back to $0.99 (the same price before the free days). This ensures the initial high ranking isn’t over in a matter of hours. There’s nothing more to do now: put your feet put, check the sales and start writing the next book.
9. Two weeks later
As every Kindler knows, Amazon pays you roughly 70% royalty on Kindles priced between $2.99 and $9.99 but 30% on all other prices. So, I like to get the price up to $2.99 – and I do this a couple of weeks after the free days.
As you can see from the sales chart above, the price increase causes sales to drop but the overall profit will increase because of the more generous royalty.
And, despite the price increase, my book has been hovering around the number one spot in an Amazon books category (Books > Internet & Web Culture > Blogging and Blogs) for the last few weeks.
You can do it
There’s no excuse! You can become an Amazon bestseller. Make the writing process a communication between you and your audience. Use Amazon’s sales tools and leverage your email list to be “top of the pops” in self-publishing.