(541) 848-5219 joel@launchmybook.com

Too often authors self-publish a book with the impression that by simply putting their book on Amazon readers will be able to find it. 

Unfortunately, we know from experience that is rarely the case. Last year it was estimated that nearly 7,500 new books showed up on Amazon every single day. That is a lot of noise to have to compete with if you are trying to reach readers and sell books, and frankly unless you are a house-hold name or are selling books by the truckload every week, Amazon is rarely going to promote your book to potential customers. That means you need your own promotion plan in place if you want to sell books. 

Marketing and promoting a book can mean a lot of different things to different people depending on their time, resources, and goals as an author. However, before you start throwing money at marketing your book you may be overlooking a few simple (and relatively cheap) ways to potentially increase book sales:

1. How is Your Book Cover? 

We talk about this all the time because your book cover is your first impression with a potential reader.  You only get one chance to grab their attention and so your book cover needs to be pulling its weight. Some things to consider when evaluating your book cover:

  • Is your title legible? Can you read it in a thumbnail size?
  • Is there enough contrast between your title and your artwork? 
  • Is the artwork crisp?
  • Does your cover follow best practices for your book genre? People like to read what they like and if your book has a similar vibe to others they have read before they are more likely to pick it up. 

It’s possible when you first launched your book that your cover was great, but now it may need an upgrade. Or, maybe you didn’t go with a professional designer who is familiar with book covers and so it isn’t serving you as well as it could. 

The good news is that finding a designer to redo your book cover doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and can be a great first step in enhancing the shopping experience for a potential reader. Because let’s face it, readers love to read books that look interesting. 

Here are some examples of self-published book covers that are crushing it:

2. Is Your Book Description Riveting? 

No one has time to read boring books. If your book isn’t boring then make sure your book description is also not boring. Avoid using long blocks of text, or pasting a full synopsis of what the book is about in your book description. Instead, think about who your idea reader is and speak directly to them. Explain to them within the first line or two that you know who they are and why they need to read your book. 

After you’ve drawn them in with a hook, give them a brief rundown of what they can expect to find inside your book, and don’t be afraid to add a little bit about yourself and why you wrote the book.

Again, a great place to find inspiration for book descriptions is by going and reading some in your genre to see how they do it. Here are some book descriptions that we love, and are great to pull inspiration from:

3. Are Your Keywords up to Snuff?

When you set up your title on Amazon KDP you can add up to seven keywords. You may be tempted to not add keywords, since technically this is an optional feature, but keywords can actually help your searchability on Amazon. While keywords aren’t a magic wand, you can still use them to help Amazon determine if your book is a good fit for a particular shopper’s search. 

When it comes to picking keywords, think outside the box. Remember that people use Amazon’s search function like its Google, so what are some questions people might be asking that you have the answer for? What search terms should lead them directly to your book? Come up with a list of search terms and then add those as your keywords. If you have more than seven, see if any of your keyword ideas fit naturally within your book description. 

4. Is Your Book Page Fully Optimized?

Don’t let a sloppy Amazon page listing prevent you from making a sale. Once your book is live it’s up to you to make sure that the customer experience when they land on your page is professional and inviting. We’ve already talked about updating your cover and book description but there are other ways to optimize your page such as:

5. Do You Have Customer Reviews?

Probably one of the biggest things that can tank a potential sale is a lack of customer reviews. Customer reviews are how shoppers vet a product, and books are no different. A book with no reviews – especially if it’s been out for a while – is a red flag. So how do you get more customer reviews? Before you consider a paid service that frankly won’t be able to deliver, start with your networks. Ask your friends and family to consider leaving a customer review. Make it easy for them by creating a unique URL where they can leave a review. 

If you have any sort of author platform at your disposal – maybe social media, a newsletter, or a blog – ask for customer reviews. 

Some authors have been wildly successful at getting reviews by asking for them inside the book. They leave a page at the back thanking the reader for getting to the end, and asking for a customer review. This tactic builds a partnership between you and your reader where you let them know how much you value their opinion and recommendation. 

We have even more ideas on how to get customer reviews in another blog post

6. Do You Have Another Book in the Works? 

The hard truth about being an author is it is rarely going to be your first book that takes off and makes you a “success.” It might not even be your second book for that matter, but having more books on your bookshelf means more exposure and more opportunities to make a sale. If your first book is floundering a bit, that’s okay! Try some of these steps that we’ve lined out to breathe new life into it, but also consider writing another book. While there is no “secret sauce” or magic formula that can turn a book into an overnight success (and if anyone is promising you that run away fast), authors who have written more than one book help boost their own credibility.

Related: Watch our interview with renowned author Michael Larsen, who says it takes anywhere from three to five books to build a community of readers and start seeing success.  

The fact is that any book you see on Amazon that is crushing it with sales ranking and customer reviews is because the author has worked hard and put in both the sweat equity and monetary budget to make their book a success. Unfortunately, there is no fast track to the top and having realistic expectations around what success looks like (and a marketing budget) will help you immensely. 

If you would like us to take a look at your book and offer some advice on how to increase book sales, reach out to Joel Pitney for a free consultation

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