Time For a Spring Reset!

Spring often signifies new beginnings in literature and poetry, a rebirth, if you will. All that which lay dormant in winter now slowwwly stretches its limbs, lets out a big yawn and sigh of relief and comes back out to bask in the sun. The trees are budding, the deer are grazing, we now awake to the calming sounds of birds chirping, the sun stays with us well into the evening, it’s finally warm enough for sandals and everyone seems to be in generally better spirits because of those things aforementioned.

spring stretch

The charm and warmth of spring should not only put a pep in your step in your day to day life, but it should also be a time to pep up your writing and marketing efforts!

 

  1. Let spring be a new beginning for you. Make a list of things you’d like to begin with a fresh start. Do you need to begin editing, creating a marketing plan, blogging, etc? Now’s the time to do it!
  2. Use some springtime writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to help you “reset” after winter. Write about how the sunshine affects your mood and creativity, write about spring as a symbol of birth/life, write about the your sensuous experience wandering around in the natural world in springtime, etc. etc.
  3. Host an outdoor reading event in your community. Pick a nice sunny afternoon to encourage members of your community to get outside and share their love of the spoken and written word. This is a great way to network, to connect with other writers in your area and to have some fun in the sun!
  4. Start being more active on social media! Take pictures of the beauty around you, toss in a quote from a work of yours or of your favorite author’s and share with your audience! Blog, post about new developments in your publishing process, connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Now that the butterflies are back, why not be a little social butterfly?
  5. Spruce up your website. Who knows more about you than…well, you? Write up a fresh author bio that includes recent accomplishments, publications, life developments and so forth.
  6. Join some forums, join Goodreads! These are both terrific venues for marketing your book and they help you connect more intimately with your audience.
  7. Host a drawing contest for the cover of your next book! The winner gets a free copy of your book and gets featured on your website and social media pages!
  8. Add a “Store” page to your website. This is a great way to increase sales and to have your readers buy directly from you rather than some third party website.
  9. Do some spring cleaning of your writing space and bookshelves. See our last few blogs for tips on how to “declutter” as a writer!
  10. Take advantage of this nice weather! Try writing outside, even if it’s just brainstorming. A little vitamin D and time in nature can go a longgg way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠


Kelly

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com

Self-Publishing News: 6.25.2019

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

It’s always something of a special moment when a big entrepreneurial website—in this case Inc.com—picks up on the role of publishing in building a personal brand and in sharing ideas, and this week’s example is a very sweet moment, indeed. Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, writes to introduce readers interested in writing a book to the basics of what they need to know in order to do so. Morin first asks the big question: should an author go with traditional or self-publishing, and how do they know which is best for their circumstances? Writes Morin, each choice has benefits and drawbacks, but “A self-published book means you’ll have more control over what goes in the book and how it’s designed. While that can be positive, it also means you have to make more decisions and it’s up to you to hire people to assist you along the way.” Morin also points out that self-publishing is faster and allows authors to jump right into the writing process without delay. Morin’s article is thoughtful and well-reasoned, and for those new to the process, totally worth a read!

In another strong showing from Thrive Global, author Prince Sanders writes that “For publishing my last children’s book, “The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince – Which Fork’s First,” I opted to go a different route. I didn’t follow the traditional path of publication but instead chose to self-publish my book. Like every choice, the option has both its advantages and disadvantages. I learned a lot through my journey to self-publishing, and you will too! Here are some of the skills that I learned during the process.” Sanders, who is of course associated with a current politician of some power in this country by name and employment, is something of an advocate for author/entrepreneurs—but no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we’re sure you’ll find something of value in Sanders’ closing encouragement: “Publishing your first book is a roller coaster of a process, full of ups and downs. With perseverance, dedication, and self-awareness you will be able to produce a piece that you are proud of. I hope you’ve been able to learn from my journey!” That’s a sentiment that we can all celebrate!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: Getting Started With Amazon Sales Rankings (Part II: Pre-Orders)

online sales rankings ratings reviews

Last time I wrote, I sought to answer one very important question for self-publishing authors: What are online sales rankings, specifically Amazon sales rankings, and what do they mean for you, a self-publishing author? I spent some time tackling the definitions of and usefulness of sales rankings to the average indie author, and set out to debunk another question as well: What about the stuff that Amazon isn’t saying about its sales rankings? Which, as it turns out, is a lot. Pretty much everything, in fact!

In summary, Amazon is a business and its sales rankings, like its search algorithms and its “if you liked [x] you might also like [y]” algorithms, are both private and proprietary. Which means they don’t have to disclose what human and algorithmic assumptions are built into the process—what fundamental things Amazon believes about the way you, and all people, work. Quite apart from the potential for unconscious (or sometimes conscious) biases to perpetuate things like racism, sexism, and other -isms—especially if leadership and oversight isn’t constantly and thoughtfully looking out for such things—the fact remains that algorithms such as those used to determine sales rankings can be helpful, but require a significant human component in order to work in your favor.

This week, I’m going to ask (and hopefully answer) another important and related question:

What is the relationship between pre-orders and your sales ranking—and how can you make this relationship work for you?

preorder

Pre-orders can actually have a negative effect on your sales ranking—at least during the first week or so after your book launches. This is because pre-order sales are more spread out, and their dates of transaction will not be lumped together with the other books sold during your first week, even though the actual physical or digital books will be distributed at the same time as your first-week sales. And the more you sell in a short amount of time, the higher your sales ranking will be during that period. Others have written and spoken very eloquently on this first-week problem, so I won’t go into detail about it here, other than this quick summary.

There are other reasons why pre-orders are a good idea, and these deserve a little bit of your time and attention as well. Just to name a few, opening up your book for pre-orders provides you with a promotional opportunity that you wouldn’t otherwise have, and provides an actionable way for readers to purchase your book right away when they first hear about it, rather than requiring them to wait and plan to buy your book later—as we all know, instant gratification may not be a human ideal, but it is a very human reality. If readers can’t buy your book the first time they hear about it, many of them are liable to forget about it altogether. A pre-order option means that during your heaviest promotional period before your book launch, you can get your readers to commit to a purchase even though they’ll have to wait for delivery. You can then spread your pre-order link around all of your various social media platforms and digital presences, ensuring that it’s easy to find your book paired with your name everywhere it appears.

And yes, a pre-order period also allows you time to refine your promotional materials. It’s one thing to edit and edit away before your book launch, but a soft release like a pre-order allows you to test your language in the field and see how readers and potential buyers respond … and then make changes as you go to better appeal to them. This holds true for any advertising or website monetization you might run during the pre-order period, as well.

The biggest benefit to a self-publishing author of making pre-orders available is the reviews! Normally, a book can’t be reviewed on Amazon before it’s available for purchase, distribution, and arrival. (Goodreads allows reviews as soon as a book is listed.) But with pre-orders, a huge chunk of your readership will receive your book on the first day it’s out, and you’ll start getting reviews immediately. Reviews are the most powerful marketing tool of all!

So, while your pre-orders can negatively affect your Amazon sales ranking, it’s only for a few days, and it will only truly make a difference if you don’t make use of the pre-order period for the aforementioned optimization. Pre-orders can in many ways prove a useful training ground for promotion and marketing, meaning that your book launches to higher acclaim and attention than it would otherwise. It’s wise to see the larger relationship in context.

Next time, I’m going to look at what we know about Amazon’s other algorithms—so check back in two weeks for more on this fascinating and important subject!

online sales shopping cart

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Self-Publishing News: 6.18.2019

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

This week, author and entrepreneur Trish Tonaj writes out of her own experience, narrating the story of how she came to build her career in the way that she has. Writes Tonaj,

I think back to a time when the only way you would find your name in the hallowed halls of a library or bookstore was to become “published.” Find a literary agent who would represent your work to a publisher who would “sign you on” and only if they felt you were marketable and had the credentials.

In today’s business climate, you have the ability to become self-published…a journey into the world of words where you may share your sense of adventure and market yourself!

I have had the pleasure of pursuing both options; self-publishing and being represented by a publisher.  To anyone in the biz, you are then able to use the phrase “published author” which confirms the time when someone has taken the leap of faith to “sign you on.”  I have heard it described as having “bonafides” – establishing yourself as a trusted author.  I am not sure if it makes a difference, but, there is something to be said for seeing your name on a bookstore shelf.

Tonaj goes on to suggest several ways of improving your writing and publishing experience, particularly in collaboration with others. Well worth a read!

Publishers Weekly has a long history of supporting indie and self-publishing authors, if only quietly or subtly (depending on the contributor), but this week the publication comes firmly out in defense of those who choose that route, even providing multiple useful tips for making a success out of one’s self-publishing experience and avoiding the pitfalls of falling foul of scams. For better or worse, as many are already aware, the word “scam” has long been (too) closely associated with “self-publishing,” with some detractors even going so far as to assume that every self-publishing company is a scam. This is manifestly not true, and a downright unfair association when one considers how little most traditionally-published midlist authors actually make, and how much support they receive, despite their “traditional” experience. That said, Alex Palmer of PW provides some useful suggestions in steering clear of bad experiences: know who you’re dealing with, spot the danger signs, and use discretion as you would with all other major life decisions. Another worthwhile article!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Publishing News: 6.12.2019

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

The biggest news in publishing—traditional and indie alike—this week is, of course, the sale of Barnes & Noble. After what amounted to a rapid-fire ping-pong match between incoming and outgoing leadership, Barnes & Noble may be on firmer footing at last—although the ultimate effects of having been purchased by the same hedge fund that manages U.K. book juggernaut Waterstones remain to be seen, as The New York Times contributors Alexandra Alter and Tiffany Hsu point out. Barnes & Noble has hit an incredibly rough patch in recent years, shuttering stores and experimenting with new sales models in a desperate bid to keep its head above water. Barnes & Noble’s in-house self-publishing platform was part of a doomed—truly disastrous, financially—bid to keep the retailer on the forefront of change. That platform has fallen by the wayside, but self-publishers everywhere who want an alternative or additional platform through which to sell other than Amazon still lean heavily on the NOOK store for distribution. You can be sure authors and readers across all publishing and genre divides will be watching closely as Barnes & Noble moves into this brave new era with (yet more) new leadership.

EconoTimes has come out with a recent list worth taking note of: the top five ways its staff recommends getting to know one’s readers. The article covers how and why to dig into advance copies (collectively known as ARCs), how to parse digital content created by others as well as how to make full use of one’s own blogging platform for building a sense of community amongst readers, getting interviews on podcasts, and some additional general tips. It’s a great little primer for those who have a manuscript in process but aren’t quite to the publishing stage, and could even prove useful to authors who have already self-published a book and are struggling to connect.

One of our favorite awards of the year, the 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Award winners have been announced! This press release points readers towards the full list: “A complete list of 2019 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website at www.indiebookawards.com.”  A number of self-publishing and indie presses are well represented, including Outskirts Press! We couldn’t be more excited to dig into our newly expanded reading lists!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Published Book Review: Unwelcome Opportunity

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

unwelcome opportunity richard battle

Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges

by Richard V. Battle

ISBN: 9781977201645

 

Synopsis*:

All of us will face challenges in life–we have control over how we respond to them. Author Richard V. Battle knows all about this. Over one ten-month period, he experienced divorce, two heart procedures, and a cancer diagnosis. He could have chosen any number of negative paths through that time. Instead, he chose humor, peace, and the Word of God, which led him out of fear and into what he later named his book on the experience: Unwelcome Opportunity. Full of entertaining anecdotes as well as forty-seven passages from Scripture, Battle’s Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges will help others also see the possibility, hope, and light in any situation.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

Richard Battle, the author of four other books, has dealt with severe hardships during his life. He wrote, “Surviving Grief by God’s Grace,” to deal with the loss of his son. In his most recent book, “Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges,” Battle had recently gone through a divorce and was now being faced with health issues. In less than a year, he was tested with prostate cancer and needed to have two serious heart procedures. It didn’t seem fair that he was being handed these trials because he took care of himself and was fitter then most men his age. Rather than dwelling on the negative or thinking, “Why me?” He proactively took charge of his health by following his doctor’s advice and using his faith to carry him through. As his challenges would arise, he would sink further down into his faith rather than darkness. This allowed him to not only survive, but also thrive.

As I read “Unwelcome Opportunity,” I was very impressed with the author’s unwillingness to allow himself to be consumed by darkness. He had already faced the loss of his son and his marriage and was now having to deal with health issues that didn’t seem fair for someone who was active. I really admired him for relying on his faith and using prayer to overcome everything that was placed in his path to test him.

“Unwelcome Opportunity” begins each chapter with a meaningful bible quote.  I would read each one and reflect on it before reading the chapter. This allowed me to obtain a better frame of mind for the material that was to follow. He also offers scriptures and inspirational quotes to place further emphasis on his writings. I can’t imagine being able to hold on to my faith as strongly as he did while he went through his challenges. My faith in God has always helped me overcome personal and health crises, yet I don’t remember being able to stay as steady as he did. Battle’s faith did not let him down as he pushed through his trials.

“Unwelcome Opportunity: Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges,” by Richard V. Battle would make an excellent gift for someone who is faced with challenges. Readers suffering from personal or health related issues will find comfort in Battle’s words.

– reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

Other Reviews

What do you do when you experience a divorce, two separate heart procedures and a cancer diagnosis all within a ten-month period? If you or yours are facing one of life’s demanding tests, Unwelcome Opportunity – Overcoming Life’s Greatest Challenges is an essential read. Richard Battle faced multiple tests in a short period of time and shares how he, with God’s daily provision, overcame them. You’ll be glad you read his pilgrimage drawn from a period when the world caved in on him! – Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas, Two time U. S. presidential candidate, Author and commentator

Unwelcome Opportunity is a poignant, moving, and inspirational memoir/Christian living book that will take readers on a thought-provoking journey while entertaining them at the same time. Unwelcome Opportunity is written by author Richard V. Battle, and Richard throughout Unwelcome Opportunity Richard will take his readers on the journey of his life and the many significant moments in it. The journey the reader will encounter is at times heartbreaking because of what Richard went through and the events that significantly impacted his life however it is also an uplifting book in which Richard will make you smile thanks to his positive outlook and inspiring passages. If you are a reader who is looking to read a memoir that is unlike anything you have read before and a memoir that is the perfect combination of inspiration, fact, and poignancy then Unwelcome Opportunity is the book for you and should not be missed.

Unwelcome Opportunity is written by the incredible Richard V. Battle, and in his book, he shares his story and the many pivotal moments in his life. The reader will follow Richard as he explains that he had two heart procedures in a ten month period as well as go through a divorce and receive a cancer diagnosis. However, despite all of this, Richard shares many inspiring passages about how he overcomes this and especially thanks to God and his help, and this book lovers is the premise of the incredible Unwelcome Opportunity!

Unwelcome Opportunity is a poignant, moving, and compelling piece of nonfiction that will help, inspire, and captivate its readers from the very start until the very end. Unwelcome Opportunity is an influential, powerful book because it deals with many poignant topics and God.

Unwelcome Opportunity is an exceptional book not only for the author’s candor but also the information he has so expertly laced throughout the book. The information will help readers overcome hardships with his passages and wisdom as well as his discussion of God and how God helps.

Richard V. Battle is a remarkable person for two reasons; the first is because he is honest and brave to write his story, and the second is because he is an exceptionally talented author. Richard’s impeccable writing is a joy to read and flows beautifully throughout so that the reader will feel compelled to read non-stop. Richard is a pure literary talent, and so I applaud him for being so brilliant!

Overall Unwelcome Opportunity is an insightful, informative, inspiring book and I would say if you are a reader who is interested in the topics explored and coming out the other side, then this book is for you and so Unwelcome Opportunity gets five stars from me!

Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much, I love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please comment below and let me know your thoughts. Do you see yourself reading this book? Do you love the genre? Please let me know your brilliant thoughts below and I will be sure to comment back. Thank you so much again for reading!

– reviewed by Aimee Ann on Red Headed Book Lover

This book is for everyone. Those that have everything going for them and have never experienced disappointment or failure because it will prepare them for that moment in time when they may need the truths in this book has to offer and it is for that person feeling defeated and need to know they are not along both physically and spiritually.

– reviewed by uhoo on Amazon

Book Trailer

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 6.4.2019

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

In what has turned out to be a slower news week, Katy Cowan of Creative Boom brought us something really special: a profile of and interview with Kristyna Baczynski, an illustrator and zine enthusiast who has recently put together a workbook through which children can get their first hands-on experience with zines themselves. Writes Cowan,

What is it about magazines that Kristyna loves so much? “Boutique publishing, self-publishing, small press, micro-publishers, DIY zines… they are all different, but have a similar ethos or motivation; the creators saw a gap, a lack of representation and decided to construct it themselves. From bedroom stapled zines with a run of ten, to beautifully printed bi-annual niche magazines, I love when people get together and make the weird content that nobody asked for, but they feel compelled to share.”

The implication? There’s room in self-publishing and these other edge-of-the-envelope-pushing forms for everyone, including blockbuster authors looking for a bit more creative control as well as niche writers and creators—those who are, as Baczynski puts it, “make the weird content that nobody asked for” … but that everybody most definitely needs in their lives. Sometimes it’s the niche unasked for book that helps change our minds about something, or broadens our perspective a little, in ways that reading asked-for content just can’t do.

We’ve written about zines frequently on Self Publishing Advisor, but this is the first time we’ve seen someone actively producing physical or print materials and resources to enable young newcomers to create their first zine. What a neat idea!

We’re always excited to see self-publishing gain a toehold in new corners of the world, and this week brought us exciting news from Romania, no less! In a press release on Digital World, we found out the details about Vlad Alecu, who launched his career at age 12, and who self-published his first book at only 16. Now no longer a teenager but a teacher and fully-fledged entrepreneur, Alecu is looking back on his work in self-publishing. As the press release puts it,

Vlad teaches to over 10,000 students on Udemy, expanding more in the educational area with books for almost all ages (now launching “Kickstart.” – The #1 Digital Marketing Guide!).

It didn’t take long for Alecu to become a Self-Published Author & Entrepreneur with several ventures in the self-publishing space, e-commerce and app development.

Asked about his remarkable entrepreneurial success, Alecu said, “I am looking towards solving bigger problems, even though I like creating little projects for fun.”

Good news out of Romania! We wish all Romanian self-publishing authors, including Alecu, the best of luck in their ongoing efforts.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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In Your Corner: Getting Started With Amazon Sales Rankings

online sales rankings ratings reviews

What are online sales rankings, specifically Amazon sales rankings, and what do they mean for you, a self-publishing author?

This is the question I’m going to set out to answer, at least in part, for you today.

Amazon, of course, has their own page and definition dedicated to sales rankings:

Best Seller and Category Ranks are based on customer activity – sales and borrows – of your book relative to the activity of other books. A book ranking #1 in Mystery & Thrillers is the book with the most activity in Amazon’s Mystery & Thrillers category. Books can appear in up to three categories. The book’s rank in each category will show under the Product Details section. Activities that may not be an accurate reflection of customer demand, including promotional Amazon Giveaway sales and purchases that are later returned, are not counted towards sales rank.

Rankings are updated hourly but may take 24-48 hours to appear. Rankings reflect recent and historical activity, with recent activity weighted more heavily. Rankings are relative, so your sales rank can change even when your book’s level of activity stays the same. For example, even if your book’s level of activity stays the same, your rank may improve if other books see a decrease in activity, or your rank may drop if other books see an increase in activity.

When we calculate Best Sellers Rank, we consider the entire history of a book’s activity. Monitoring your book’s Amazon sales rank may be helpful in gaining general insight into the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and other initiatives to drive book activity, but it is not an accurate way to track your book’s activity or compare its activity in relation to books in other categories.

The ranking for books with consistent activity histories that have been available on Amazon for a long time may fluctuate less than the ranking of new books, or books whose histories aren’t as stable. One sale of a very popular book may not influence its rank much at all, but one sale of a lower volume book may significantly improve that book’s rank.

Note: Each available format of your book (eBook, paperback) has its own independent Amazon Best Sellers Rank.

This is a lot to parse, but the main points to remember are these:

  • Your sales ranking is essentially an attempt to quantify your book’s popularity;
  • The release of new books, awards announcements, and book club recommendations (among many other factors) means that new books are always climbing the rankings, while others are dropping in the rankings at the same time—it’s a constant balancing act, and sales rankings are relative;
  • Even if you sell the same number of copies each month, your sales ranking will rise and fall dependent on factors outside of your control. As I mentioned in my last post, there are yearly rhythms to book sales that mean you need to sell more books at certain times just to maintain the same ranking relative to other months when book sales are lower for everyone;
  • Blockbuster books are constantly battling it out for the upper sales rankings in every category, and rankings mean less to popular books because they have other avenues to selling a lot of books. But for new books, indie publications, and self-published books? Sales rankings mean a lot more, because even one or two sales can boost an author’s sales ranking, and as a result, boost their visibility, which will itself boost sales. It’s a feedback loop that can work to your advantage.

Amazon also has a page dedicated to giving its sellers a larger-picture idea of what their sales figures represent, and that’s worth checking out as well if you sell on the website.

But what about the stuff that Amazon isn’t saying about its sales rankings?

Any number of websites out there at any point in time are happy to claim that they’ve “cracked the code” or “tamed the algorithm” or can help you “game the system,” but the fact of the matter is, most of them are offering something more along the lines of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advice, which is totally well and good, but not quite the same thing as delivering on a promise to make Amazon’s system work for you.

At its core, Amazon is a business which is driven by its bottom line, which is to say, eking every possible profit out of both its customers and its third-party sellers. Their algorithm code is not fully public, and while we can speculate about ways to improve sales rankings, it’s entirely Amazon’s right to code their algorithm to ignore the little sales and boost the visibility of popular items, including those blockbuster book sales that I mentioned earlier. It’s not actually in their best profit-driven interest to be fair, even though it’s certainly in their profit-driven interest to discover new niche markets—which they often do by measuring how many readers access titles through their Kindle Unlimited offering—a service which rarely profits the authors themselves, as authors themselves often point out. All this is to say, we don’t actually know how sales rankings work, other than what Amazon itself has told us, and Amazon has more than one horse in the race to make money.

Next time, I’m going to look at what we know about preorders and how they affect sales rankings—so check back in two weeks for more on this fascinating and important subject!

online sales shopping cart

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.