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  • Writer's pictureKevin Grover

I Boosted My Ebook Sales in a Week, So Can You

As an indie author, I’ve never contemplated marketing before, neglecting the importance of it. When I finished a novel, I just wanted to put it on Amazon and sit back. But if you want to make sales, you have to do a little more.

I quickly realised there’s a big difference between what I’m doing and those on the high ranking sales on Amazon. You could argue they wrote better novels, but I believe it’s something more than that. So I decided to look deeper into it and stumble on a way to try and boost my sales.

My own sales had dropped off completely and I’d had no sales or downloads for well over a month. I needed an edge, a secret.

The first thing I did was look at my book descriptions on Amazon. I was happy with the content, but it didn’t look appealing. I looked at book descriptions for other successful selling books and modelled the look of mine on theirs. Amazon uses HTML in their book descriptions, but I don’t know HTML to make this look better. Luckily, I found an editor online where I could write out the layout as I wanted it to appear, having bolder headings and better spacing. On the screen next to it, the HTML code was displayed. Next, all I had to do was cut and paste this into the Amazon book description in KDP. This made my descriptions look so much better.

The online HTML editor I used can be found at:

Keyword descriptions are important to help people find your book and visibility is key to success. If no one can find your book, how will they buy it? Amazon allows you to have a number of keywords, but what ones do you use? Think of what readers will search when looking for something like your book to read. I went into the Amazon search bar and started typing supernatural thriller and the Amazon, like Google, showed the most searched keywords. In this case, it was supernatural thrillers in kindle. I used this entire phrase as one of my keywords for my own supernatural thriller, Dead Again. Once I worked out the other keywords, I looked at my own Author Page on Amazon and updated this.

I then looked at the categories of my books. What you need to do is find a category where there’s not a lot of competition. If the number one rank in that category is a low sales rank, then you know that it’s easier to get to the top spot. Not all categories are shown on the KDP page, but you can find different hidden categories by looking at other books and seeing where they are placed. I found there was a category for British horror fiction and emailed Amazon requesting they placed Coulrophobia into this category.

After doing this, I noticed I had a sale of this older book that hadn’t had any sales for months. But I needed something more to boost sales. As if the universe answered, I had a free £10 voucher for a Facebook ad I could use. I’d never had much success from these before, but this time I did a more targeted ad. Using Coulrophobia, I ran the ad. Suddenly, people were buying or downloading it. My sales rank for this book shot up by over 400,000 spots! For a time it sat within the top 100 of British horror fiction at number 90.

I repeated this with Dead Again, my newer book, and combined it with an Amazon countdown deal. This caused my book to shoot up the ranks by over 450,000. It hit 16,000 at one point on the selling rank.

Of course, it didn’t maintain this for long, so next I needed to look at more long term strategies and I’m still learning about this. I’ve created my own website and began blogging in order to get myself recognised.

Top tips I learnt follows:

Be a sales person.

Generate enthusiasm in your product, give a reason for people to want to buy it.

Generate interest in you as a writer and don’t go on and on about your book. People will soon lose interest.

Post 80% on subjects people might be interested in, with no more than 20% talking about your own book.

Get a website, begin building a mailing list. I use Mailchimp to manage my mail lists and I’m still building it.

These small tips cost me nothing but time and had an effect. I’m still generating the odd sale or download, but next I’m looking at boosting this significantly. Do you have tips as an author on how to generate sales? Post in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list.

Kevin Grover is an indie author of supernatural thrillers. His books are on Amazon and his website, Indie Bookshelf, shares various tips and experiences about his indie career.

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