Having worked with hundreds of authors, publishers, and agents, we’ve seen both wildly successful book releases and sub-par fizzles. How well your book does will always boil down to the following three factors:
- Does your book have an audience?
- Is your audience seeing your book?
- Does your audience enjoy your book?
Let’s walk through each of these questions. You can compare your existing book, or use these tips during the early writing stage for maximum value.
Does your book have an audience?
This can be a deceptively simple question. Even though it’s obvious that there are always markets for sci-fi novels and how-to guides, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a large market for your specific book. It’s important that you look at the fads and styles of the time. Vampires may be in this year, but by the time your ebook is written, edited, formatted, and released, people may be sick and tired of that genre.
It’s vital that you dig deep and find an extensive list of all of the books which directly compete with your own. This can be done with a few hours of Amazon searching. Filter the search results to categories you consider your book to be in as well as search terms you think your readers will use. Once you’ve found 30-40 books which you consider closely related, ask yourself the following questions –
Are they identical in topic or only similar? Are they close to the same length, with the same credentials, and similar in writing style? How many sales do they have?
The last question is simple to answer. Just scroll down the book’s sales page until you see it’s sales placement or “Best-seller” ranking.
As a rough guide, the best seller rank compared to the books sold per day is as follows –
Rank 500 = 175 books per day
Rank 1000 = 110 books per day
Rank 2500 = 80 books per day
Rank 5000 = 35 books per day
Rank 10,000 = 15 books per day
Rank 25,000 = 10 books per day
Rank 50,000 = 5 books per day
What to do if there are no books identical to your own?
This is usually a warning sign that there is no market for your book. However, there is a smaller chance that this means your market is wide open and will be a huge hit (if you can answer yes to the next question…).
Still not sure if you have an audience? Contact us for a free consultation.
Is your audience seeing your book?
While this question is dependent on the first, it is almost always more important and much more often ignored. This is a more complex topic and we’ve committed a large part of our business to answering this questions for individual authors.
The first thing to realize is that just because your book is available world-wide on all of the major markets, there is no guarantee it is being seen by anyone. If there are 40 books in your market, and you don’t put any effort or money into marketing, your potential readers will have to scroll through 4 pages of competitors before they even see your book. The change a reader will purchase your book out of 40 when it is the last one they see is almost 0%. Indeed, 95% of readers will never even make it to the 4th page.
With this in mind, marketing becomes absolutely vital. You can attempt to market the book entirely by yourself, hire someone to do it for you, or (and this is often the best) do both.
There are several very effective ways to market our book. We’ve broken them down for you in the list below. You can also see more on our marketing packages page:
- Free Days Promotion – This is a promotion offered by Amazon in which your book is made available for free for up to 5 days. This option is only available if you are selling exclusively with Amazon, but this is easy worked around by simply pausing your books on the other markets for the duration of this promotion.
In order to make the most of this promotion, it is absolutely vital that you submit your book to the large number of websites which promote free books. There are over 40 major websites, which can be found with a google search for “Kindle free days promotion websites”. If you don’t have the time to submit to all of these sites, we can do it for you
- Paid Online Promotions – This is a type of promotion in which you pay a website for banner or ad space. It’s best to find websites, forums, or blogs which fit into your niche. Alternatively, you can pay a website such as Facebook, although this requires creating a targeted campaign rather than just creating ads.
- Press Releases – A tried and true promotional method which gives a short description and the release date of your book to major news and niche authorities. This works best if you have credentials or if your book covers a news worthy topic.
- Social Media – This is a long-term method for growing sales. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all excellent social media sources. Be careful not to bore followers by providing them with unique and fun information or offering a reward / competition for people who buy the book and leave reviews. You’ll need to make posts regularly without repeating yourself too often, so make sure you have a lot of unique material to share. One easy way to accomplish this is to use short sections from your book.
- Book Signings – Taking book promotion off of the web can often be extremely powerful. Talk to local bookstores and libraries to see if they have any programs in place for author promotions. It’s important that you bring several dozen copies of your print book, business cards, free ebook download codes, and a friendly attitude.
Does your audience enjoy your book?
Ideally, you would answer this question before you’ve spent time, money, and effort to release your book. You can accomplish this by sending a chapter or two to friends and family. If you want more reliable reviews, put out ads for test readers. Offering a small compensation in exchange for a page or two of review may teach you more about your audience than you could achieve otherwise.
Once your book is out, you may learn the answer to this question quickly. Amazon reviews are not the place to find out that readers find flaws in your hard work. However, if you do get a few bad reviews to start, it is not the end of the world. Ebooks are big business and sometimes competitors will leave negative reviews to discourage new authors. It’s best to be prepared with 10-15 people who you can rely on to leave honest, but positive, reviews. These can be friends, co-workers, or even strangers. Most people are willing to spend a few minutes leaving a review in exchange for a few bucks or a free meal.
At the end of the day, it can be difficult to know why one book sells more than another. However, if you haven’t taken the time to ask yourself the three questions above, your chances of succeeding in this highly competitive industry are slim to none. If you would like an unbiased look at what factors may be holding your book back, Createbook is always happy to offer free consultations.