Are you an indie author? Wouldn’t you want to know how to sell more books on Amazon? Wouldn’t you want to know the recipe for a publishing a bestseller? Small, simple, easy to follow … add your own favorite adjectives here.
There are quite a lot of books on Amazon which promise to give you such a formula. BTW, Amazon is full of low quality books which are produced by ghostwriters with the sole purpose of getting your money. It’s hard to tell the difference between them and the real books which are out there at the first glance.
Verifying their authors’ credibility is not an easy feat either. For example, those who write about weight loss and diets don’t usually provide their full body photos, so you can examine if they walk they talk.
But in the case of selling more books formulas it’s doable, it’s even easy. Instead of buying all such books, reading them and applying their info I did some clever (at least in my opinion) research. I’ve just checked if the authors of those guides sell many books themselves.
It took me about 2 hours of work. You can replicate this case study by yourself or just take ten minutes to read and discover who knows what he is talking about and follow him.
I typed in the Amazon search bar 3 key phrases: “sell more”, “sell more books” and “sell more books on Amazon”. I visited the first two results pages and opened the books’ links in background tabs.
Then I visited about 15 to 20 authors’ pages.
I checked only the names under which the books were published. Authors can have pen names also and sell more books under those pen names. It happened that I know one of the pen names of the winner of my research and he sells more books under it than under his “sell more books” name (which is his real one, BTW). And my research numbers are true for the exact time of doing it.
Back to the research
First of all I checked how many books they published. If it was less than 5, I didn’t even bother to check them out. What can you know about selling more books, having published only a couple?
OK, I checked one guy, who had 3 books published, because they all were on the subject of marketing and selling books. One of his books was in 78k place on the Kindle bestsellers list and 2 more were at 250k+ places. It didn’t look like he is a good role model who can teach about selling books.
I picked about 8 authors who had at least several books published. I visited each of their books’ pages and checked their sales rank.
I ditched anyone who hadn’t at least 2 books below the #100k threshold.
Do you know how many authors were left after this simple selection?
My fingers were itching at that point to write a rant about how impudent people are to pose as an authority without an ounce of substance behind their work. The curse of the internet age. I could be the #3 authority in that niche with my sales! I write the how to articles for Kindle authors and I will bundle them in an eBook one day. Thanks to my research, I see I have enough authority for the job 😉
Anyway, I gathered some information about all their books, to compare their results: the bestseller rank, price, number of reviews, and I noted down whether the book was on the Countdown promo.
Numbers don’t lie.
I chose a couple of winners who had many books published and at least several books below the #100k rank.
Then the choice was easy.
And the winner is…
His competitor had 24 books, 10 of them on the Countdown promo. 11 of them were below the #100k rank. Yet, only two of them were below #30k. He had several titles over #600k. Only one of his books had more than 100 reviews. Ironically, it was a book about selling more books.
Steve’s catalogue is smaller, but it’s doing better. Among 14 published titles (I didn’t count bundles and freebies) only two of his books were ranked above #100k. A place around #134k was the worst performance of his book. 6 books had rank below #30k, which means at least 4 sales a day (720 a month). 5 of his books had 100+ reviews. 4.5 stars was the lowest review average among those five. He had only one book on the Countdown promo and it was in 8,444th place on the Kindle bestseller list.
As I mentioned before, I also know his pen name, under which he published 8 more books. 4 of them are below #10k, and the best result was #1,656 (! over 70 sales per day!) in the Kindle store.
He crushes it! He definitely knows what he is doing. And he shares his knowledge efficiently.
The results of my research didn’t surprise me at all. At the beginning of May 2013, I bought his book, “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books”. It was the first item I ever bought on Amazon. With this book in hand I set up my Amazon account, author’s account, produced my bio, first book description and published my first book. I sold a whopping 29 copies in the first month!
You can’t imagine what a feat that was for me. I had written something and people were reading it. What is more—they were willing to pay for it! It gave me an incentive to continue despite the almost non-existent financial results.
I found his advice convincing, down to earth and easy to follow. I swear that each time I implement another tip I observe an uptick in my sales.
If you look for general, platform-independent self-publishing advice, then I recommend “Write. Publish. Repeat.” by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant.
The go-to guy
But if you are an indie and want to know how to sell more books on Amazon then Steve Scott is the go-to person. No doubt about it.
His advice is more applicable to non-fiction authors, but even fiction authors will benefit from it. All in all, we are talking about selling more books, not about writing the perfect piece of art.
10 thoughts on “How to Sell More Books on Amazon”
Well done Sherlock! Thank you for taking the time to investigate what I often think about, Do these people really Walk the Talk? Any fool can regurgitate what they’ve read about , but actually having the proof in the pudding, that’s where the wheat separates from the chaff.
Thanks Michele. Amazon is totally spammed by profit-seekers. I hope to at least kick them out of this niche.
Great post. All writers need to know this. And congratulations on your own books sales.
That’s amazing! I hope you’re proud of yourself.
Thanks Naomi, but it’s not that my sales are so great. Those pseudogurus’ sales are so miserable.
I have 3 books selling a few copies a day and 1 which sold always 5+ copies (usually around 10). It’s enough to beat all but 2 authors I researched.
Done!! Not only I got the book of Scott you recommend… today it was on a 3×2 offer. So… I got three of them!!
Thanks for the idea, Michal.
You’re welcome Gonzalo.
His knowledge made a difference in my Kindle business. I hope you will utilize it at least as effectively.
Yes but the only advice your given, despite the title of this article, is to buy a book on Amazon. Maybe that’s the ticket….write a blog article about how crap everyone else’s books are and THATs how you sell more. Thanks for that useless piece of information.
Well, then just don’t stop on reading the title, but digest the content too.
I asked the question in the title, not promised the answers.
However, if you are in the less favorable position than me or Steve Scott regarding your sales volume, I still recommend to listen to me or him instead of bitching.
The interesting thing for me based on your post is how many people are positioning themselves as ‘authorities’ – when clearly they are not! I recently brought a book – no names mentioned – as part of my research. Said book was at #1 in a few best seller charts and had a decently high ranking on Amazon (Less than 2000).
However it was shallow, poorly written, and IMO it wouldn’t give the result that the title of the book suggests you’ll get from buying it and reading it. The information in it wasn’t presented in a way that would let you actually implement to try and achieve the result.
And yet the book has over 100 reviews…many of them at 5 star level.
The biggest take away from following Steve is his focus on quality. As things get more competitive that will help get people who read your books to read through and buy other books that you write.
I have the 61 ways book….haven’t read it for a while. Will move that up my queue to re-read.
The book you mentioned seems like Kindle gold rush product, just upped to the higher level.
100+ reviews you say? I bet it was some Kindle guru, who sold his program to opportunity seekers, gathered them in a community and they swap reviews…
I’ve noticed a few days ago similar book in Time Management category. It appeared with 10 5* reviews at the top of chart, but slipped down from the 1st page in a few days. People are not stupid.