Wednesday
Feb012012

Does Amazon Kindle Ranking Affect Book Sales?

You bet your $0.99 book it does! With the creation of POD and eBook distribution companies like Lulu, CreateSpace, and Lightning Source (as well as Amazon's KDP platform and BN's Nook) the publishing floodgates have been opened wide, allowing anyone to turn author and make an extra dime selling their fiction and non-fictions works without seeking the traditional publishing route.

Therein lies the problem. EVERYONE is publishing a book nowadays (some great, many bad) which means readers must sift through thousands of books in order to find the ones they'll really enjoy. So, if you think writing a book, spitting out a print copy and slapping it on the KDP platform at amazon.com means automatic millionaire, think again. You're being tossed into the sea with every other author and you have to swim for the surface. Yes, there are the chosen few that have made it above water. So, what's their secret? The simple answer is: thousands of eyes on their books.

Getting eyes on your book takes work. And this little blog isn't a full-fledged "how-to-make-that-happen" guide. It's more of a "point-out-the-bare-bones-obvious-for-the-newbies" guide. So, if you're a first time author, here are a few things to think about in order to get better ratings:

First Off, Let's Start With Your Book. It's All About the CEC: Content-Editing-Cover

Rankings are all about content. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you've got to realize that you're not writing for you, you're writing for the consumer. So before you start that fiction story or attempt to write a how-to book, I suggest you search Amazon for titles that fit your area of expertise. How do those titles rank? The closer to the #1 spot, the better. But you at least want to aim for the top #100,000 and keep climbing. In fact, it's better if you focus on books with a #10,000 ranking and above. But don't just look at the main ranking, because books are sub-categorized and may rank much higher, which is good for an author.

Suppose you wrote a YA Dungeons and Dragons type book that currently ranks at #67,000 in fiction. Once it's sub-categorized, into Fiction > YA > Science Fiction > Fantasy, it may be much closer to a #1 spot. People do pay attention to the sub-categories, so once you add your book to the KDP platform make sure you correctly categorize your book.

Editing is extremly important. Many a book have fallen by the wayside due to poorly written material, excess fodder, tons of typos, and poor plotting. Re-read your book again and again and again, even before you hand it off to an editor. After you get the edited version back, re-read again. Editors aren't perfect and may miss a typo here and there. Ultimately, it's your responsibility to make sure your book is clean before it goes live. And if you're wise, you WILL hand it off to a professional editor, at least if you want your book to have a fighting chance at being well received.

The book cover is just as important. Your cover is what will catch a person's eye. Check out all current 711 Press book covers here and you'll notice how each cover looks like a movie poster or DVD cover. That was our intention in sticking true to our motto: "Movies & TV in Book Form!" Our covers are attractive and catch the reader's eye. Make sure you follow suit by finding a good cover designer to make sure your book stands out. FYI: we use Scribe Freelance Book Design.

Next, Let's Tackle Book Reviews, Tagging, and Likes

Your book needs reviews (honest reviews) both good and bad. Once you've released your first book, seek out reviewers and offer them free copies in return for an honest review. If you need a list of reviewers check out this Kindle book. Reviews can get eyes on your book. Tagging your book page is just as important too. Make sure to add relevant tags to your page. If your book is similar to a book like Lord of the Rings, tag it with similar titles. For example, our TV Book series, Age of the Sigil, has elements that are similar to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Check out the tags for Sigil Episode One. The more people agree with your tags, the more your book will be recognized on other book pages similar to yours. Finally, make sure to like your own page, and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Finally, Let's Learn About Lending and Freebies

Take full advantage of Amazon's KDP platform. Make sure to enroll your books in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL). You won't lose money. In fact, you will currently make more money for every book borrowed than you would per book sold, particularly if those books are priced below the 70% threshold. Freebies are imporatant as well. Every 90 days you can offer your book for free up to five days. Why do this? To get more eyes on your book. It is especially helpful if you've written a sequel or several other books in the same genre. The idea is to keep your name out there. Take note of the prolific output of all the big name authors! Also, free books help your Amazon ranking and get eyes on your other products. The only drawback with KOLL enrollment is that you cannot sell your digital product through any other source, including Barnes & Noble and other eBooks sites due to the exclusivity clause. But, the return is well worth it.

Finally, Don't Forget to Blog!

Start a blog for your site via WordPress or Blogger. Keep your fans informed and updated. To do this, you will also want to use Twitter and Facebook, and syndicate your blogs through your social networking platforms.

We're sure you've heard a lot of this before but it is important to follow through if you want to be a successful author. So, get busy and we'll see your book at the top!

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