How to sell more books on Amazon

Sell more books on Amazon 1One of the best workshops at last week’s Author U Extravaganza in Denver, Colo., was Amy Collins’s 7:05 a.m. session on Saturday.

That’s right. 7:05 on a Saturday morning.

I wasn’t the only one there consuming caffeine and taking notes – there were many others who thought the topic was important enough to set the alarm for an early session.

The topic?

Understanding Amazon so you sell more books on that powerful platform.

Becoming a best seller isn’t the hard part

Presenter Amy Collins of book distributor New Shelves pointed out that becoming an Amazon best seller in your category isn’t as hard as you might think.

Noting that you don’t need to sell a lot of books to see your ranking improve dramatically, she told attendees that to become a best seller for one day, you just need to:

  • Make sure your book is in the right category.
  • Give 12 friends an Amazon gift card.
  • Tell them to use it to buy your book on a specific day.
  • Remind them the day before that they’re supposed to buy your book the next day.
  • Remind them on the designated day to buy your book.
  • Watch your ranking climb to the top.

“Ranking feels good, but doesn’t mean much,” Collins says.

That’s because you don’t need to sell a lot of books to reach the top. Does it give you something to brag about? Oh, sure. Does it generate large deposits of Amazon cash in your checking account? Not necessarily.

Getting found in searches is more important.

You want searchability

Strategies for showing up in Amazon searches include:

  • Knowing the right keywords to select and how to find and use them.
  • Figuring out the right category for your book (there are more than 60 for just “Antiques & Collectibles”).
  • Presenting readers with a thorough Author Central profile.
  • Getting lots of reviews (“You get no love from Amazon until you hit 35 reviews,” she says).

Collins also recommended using the Listmania function to create lists that include your books (learn now to do that in the May 13, 2015 issue of the free Build Book Buzz newsletter – get the issue by subscribing) and creating wishlists that include your books.

Webinar shows you how to do it

Want to learn how to do all these things — and more? The upcoming Build Book Buzz webinar, “How to Sell More Books on Amazon,” will show you how (visit the “How to Sell More Books on Amazon”  registration page for  details.) Amazon expert Shelley Hitz will demonstrate the must-dos and must-knows in a presentation that will include answers to your real time questions.

How are your Amazon sales? Do you think you’re selling as many books as you should be?

Get more helpful free book marketing information in the “Build Book Buzz” e-mail newsletter.

Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” ( and you’ll also receive the free weekly
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6 Responses to How to sell more books on Amazon
  1. jeff
    May 14, 2015 | 12:01 am

    It wouldn’t make me feel good to became a bestseller by buying my own books, which is what your gift card idea amounts to. It’s also deceitful, because you’re giving book readers the wrong impression.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      May 14, 2015 | 12:19 am

      I wouldn’t either, Jeff, but claiming best seller status has never been one of my goals. But if you think giving gift cards to a few friends to buy your book is skeevy, check out that plan on steroids:


    • Relentless
      May 14, 2015 | 3:42 am

      lol @jeff’s Puritan position on marketing. Good luck with THAT strategy. see if it gets you in major media. And while you’re at it, name any major marketing & promotion that doesn’t include ANY “smoke & mirrors”………. I’ll wait.

      • Sandra Beckwith
        May 14, 2015 | 1:51 pm

        I might use the word “purist” rather than “Puritan.” To each his own, right? It’s all about what you want to accomplish and what you’re willing to do to get it. Like Jeff, a best seller that I bought, rather than earned, has no value for me. But I know that for others, claiming a best seller, even for a day, is the be-all and end-all. And if you can’t get there honestly, you have to use a few tricks.

        Thanks for stopping by, Aaron.


  2. Jean F
    May 18, 2015 | 2:54 pm

    My ebook has been an Amazon best seller in at least one category since the first copy sold. How? The category has fewer than 100 titles, so it was inevitable. Since Amazon offers so many narrow categories, this should be relatively easy to do.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      May 18, 2015 | 3:41 pm

      Thanks, Jean. So how many book sales do you need in a day to hit best seller status in such a noncompetitive category?


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