To many people, that one word means many things.
For those living in South America, it might mean the beautiful rainforest. For consumers, it’s a place to get everything. To the President, it’s his arch nemesis. But, for the authors, Amazon means one thing.
At DLM, many of our clients come in lamenting Amazon and spouting conspiracy theories revolving around the companies secret plot to keep authors under their thumb. Now, don’t get me wrong; Amazon has issues when it comes to supporting authors. However, you can’t chalk that up to nefarious schemes when other authors, major, indie, breakout, and veteran, are raking in thousands of dollars each month in sales.
What it all boils down to is algorithms, analytics, and creativity.
So, in this hopefully short article, I’ll break down how to use Amazon to your advantage.
Let’s get one thing straight out the gate; Amazon is a business. Their main goal is to make money. If you keep that in the back of your mind, you’ll be able to succeed in mastering their system. When it comes to book sales and priority placement on their website, they have two routes. Push the books that are either paying big buck in advertising or the novels that are already bringing in cash. So, how can an author with no real advertising budget get that priority placement?
Easy. Just become a bestseller.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lady, if I could have gone number one already, I would’ve done it! Calm down. I got you. Remember, when I said that everything boils down to algorithms, analytics, and creativity? This is where those three things come in.
Algorithms. Amazon has a super convoluted set of algorithms that they are continually changing. This is to ensure that no one is scamming the system. However, there is one constant. If you get that coveted orange bestseller flag, Amazon will promote you. Which, in turn, brings in more sales. You also need to keep in mind the bestseller ranking formula changes the longer you book has been available. For example, a book that was released yesterday can hit the bestseller’s list with one hundred books sold. In contrast, a book that was released a year ago may only break the top thirty with the same sales. Now, here’s the secret, you don’t have to be the number one book in Amazon. You just have to be the number one book in your genre. That’s an easier target to reach than competing against every single book from every genre. Which leads us to our next topic.
Analytics. At the end of the day, you as the author are going to have to do some research or hire someone to do it for you. What do you need to find out? What genres are trending? How many books are being sold each day for the top ten books in that genre? What are the average release day sales for bestselling books in that genre? What are your major competitors? And, that’s just for genres. After that, you have to research keywords. Keywords can make or break a book’s success, and it’s also where ninety-seven percent of authors mess up. Your keywords should never be your book title, your name, etc. Keywords are what consumers are typing into Amazon to find a book just like yours. As we all know, you’ll need seven of these to publish your book on Amazon. However, when talking about advertising, you’ll need at least one hundred relevant and profitable keywords. That will take another round of research. Lastly, there is your synopsis. You need to study the top-selling books in your genre and find the formula for that makes their books stand out when it comes to the blurbs.
Creativity. After you press that publish button, it all comes down to your level of creativity. What’s between those pages? Will people be drawn in by the sample that Amazon makes available? If not, then nothing above is going to work long-term. Most authors are concerned about their first week, but that’s not where the real money is. Long term sales are where it’s at. Can you maintain a steady flow of income from the books you release? That all depends on how you capture the readers with your cover, synopsis, and story.
You may be asking yourself if this will work. Well, I have personally used the combination of algorithms, analytics, and creativity, and every book that I touched in 2019 became a bestseller. There are only two choices in the literary industry. One, you spend a lot of time mastering the business side. Or, two, you hire someone to do it for you. So, remember, Amazon is a business. There is no grand scheme to keep you from making money. The only thing stopping you is you.
Want to talk to one of our Amazon logistics? Contact us here.