Guest blog post by Tom Corson-Knowles, the #1 Amazon Bestselling author of The Kindle Publishing Bible
The Simple System for Creating a #1 Amazon Bestselling Kindle Book
When I was 19 years old, I dreamed of being a bestselling author. I even started writing my first book back then, mostly just to clarify my values and the life I wished to lead – a life of complete freedom with the ability to choose what I want to do, whenever I want, wherever I want with whomever I want.
It took six years to finally publish my first book on Amazon Kindle, but since then I haven’t looked back. In January, 2013, I had my first month of over 5,000 ebook sales at an average price of over $3 – netting over $12,000 in Kindle royalties.
At that time, I knew I had a great system for marketing my own Kindle books, but I was curious to see if it would work for others. So I posted a few messages on Facebook and Twitter, letting people know I was taking on publishing clients. Luckily, a few Facebook acquaintances were willing to give it a shot.
One of them, Doc Orman, M.D., had some promising ideas for a series of books on stress relief. So here’s how we proceeded:
Steps To Publishing A #1 Amazon Bestselling Kindle Book
Step 1. Choosing Your Niche
It’s not enough just to have an idea to “write a book about stress relief.” In a giant category like stress, you need to focus on a niche by creating an “angle” or “hook” that will clearly tell readers what they can hope to achieve as a result of reading your book.
In this case, we decided “Stop Negative Thinking” was both a great unique promise and a great title. This simple title helped separate the book from all the other generic stress relief books out there. Many people struggle with negative thinking and have no idea why it exists, how the mind works, or how to overcome this challenge.
Luckily, Doc Orman knew, and was able to put that information in the book in a fun, unique, and easy-to-understand way.
Step 2. Choosing Your Title
Luckily, our title matched our topic, but that doesn’t always happen. Most often, you choose the topic first, and only after that will you choose the title.
I’ve found there are a few characteristics of most bestselling book titles:
1) Easy to read, recognize, speak and remember. If readers can’t easily read, recognize, speak and remember your book title, they will have a hard time telling their friends about it. Word of mouth is always the most powerful form of marketing. So set yourself up for success ahead of time by choosing a title that can be easily shared by your readers. Titles like Think and Grow Rich and Tongue Fu! are both great examples of this.
2) Descriptive and not Poetic. Your book title should clearly describe what your book is and how it helps readers. And if your title doesn’t do that, the subtitle had better do it. Otherwise, readers won’t know what the book is about or how it will help them – and that will dramatically reduce your clickthroughs and traffic everywhere.
As an example, Doc Orman had an idea for a book called When Down Means Up. It was a fantastic title because it went along perfectly with the theme of the book. The problem is that you, the reader, have no idea what it means, and you’ll never know until you read the book. That kind of poetic title can throw readers off, even though it was a good title for the book.
Instead, we chose The Choice of Paradox which is not only a play on the bestseller The Paradox of Choice, it’s also a more clear description of what the book is about: how thinking paradoxically can improve your life and your health.
3) Invest the Time. Just as you should spend 80% of your time writing the headline, you should spend at least 80% of your time crafting the title to your book. Don’t just pull one out of thin air without analyzing it from every marketing angle, and especially from the reader’s eyes.
Now that you’ve got the title, it’s time to edit and format.
Step 3. Editing and Formatting for Kindle
I recommend hiring a professional editor. It’s definitely worth the investment. The most common cause for poor reviews on a self-published book are due to poor editing. You can use Guru.com, Elance.com, vWorker.com or Craigslist.com to get a large pool of potential editors to choose from. Expect to pay anywhere from half a cent per word for proofreading to five cents a word for very advanced editing help.
As for formatting, you can learn how to do it yourself for free at www.ebookpublishingschool.com
Avoid any Kindle formatting services from people who don’t do it day in and day out. Just because someone has formatted a book for Kindle before doesn’t mean they will do it the right way for you.
If you do hire someone to format your book for you, make sure they know what they’re doing (or just have them watch the free training videos and follow along).
Step 4. Publishing
We published the book on Kindle using Amazon’s KDP Select program. It’s free to use and pretty simple. You can sign up for a free account at kdp.amazon.com
You’ll need to verify your account with your personal or company name, tax identification number, address, and bank account information for ETF transfers (unless you’d prefer to be paid by check).
Step 5. The KDP Select Free Promotion Strategy
For the 5-day KDP Select Free promotion, we did the following:
- Promoted the book on 50+ free book promotion sites, Facebook groups for readers, forums and other sites. See the whole list of Kindle promotion sites here.
- Posted the book on my Facebook fan page with 14,000+ fans.
- Used Facebook Promoted Posts to reach 156,475 people on Facebook with the book launch announcement for just $210.58. In addition to all the traffic and downloads, this promoted post led to an extra 158 new Facebook fans as well. I guess people like when you give away free ebooks!
- Promoted the free book giveaway to our email list of about 3,000 people.
- Asked friends, family, and peers to share about the book on Twitter and Facebook.
- Scheduled several Tweets about the free book promotion and mentioned the top Twitter influencers for book readers in the Tweets, asking for reTweets.
Step 6. Pricing
We changed the price to $2.99 in the US store and $1.93 in the UK Store (which equals $1.99 for the reader when Amazon calculates the VAT). This allowed us to capitalize on 70% royalties, netting just over $2 per US sale while keeping the price low enough to make buying a book as easy as possible for readers.
Step 7. Results
The book received 9,907 free downloads during the 5-day free promotion in the US alone. There were over 1,600 downloads in the UK and hundreds in the other international Amazon stores.
In the month following the free promotion, there were over 1,000 sales/borrows in the US and over 500 sales/borrows in the UK, along with a good number of sales in the other international Amazon stores.
Bestseller status in: Holistic Medicine
Bestseller status in: Self Help Stress Management
Stop Negative Thinking also made #1 on several Amazon bestsellers lists including #1 in Stress Management US, #1 Holistic Medicine US, #1 Holism UK, #1 Alternative Medicine UK, and #1 Self Help Stress Management UK.
Now you have the steps to publishing a #1 Amazon bestselling Kindle book
Step 8. Action
Don’t let this just be another case of hearing about an opportunity to earn a fortune on Kindle. Start right now to plan out your action steps for creating your next #1 Bestselling book on Amazon!
With that, I’ll leave you with these questions you can use right now to create your plan and get into action:
What are you going to write about?
What makes your book unique?
When will you publish it?
What resources do you need to make your plan work?
Who can you get on your support team to help you succeed?
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About The Author: Tom Corson-Knowles is the #1 Amazon Bestselling author of The Kindle Publishing Bible, The Amazon Analytics Bible, The Kindle Writing Bible and 18 other books.