The list of Kindle ebooks keeps increasing on Amazon. Theoretically, this should strike you as “very bad news,” as you have to deal with more competition and saturation. Thankfully, as Amazon sells more and more hardware, the list of readers also increase. Even though the Kindle is over four years old, it is starting to pick up and get noticed like wild fire– years after its initial release.
Nevertheless, competition can still be fierce and quite challenging, despite the growing number of readers/buyers. As an indie publisher, chances are you have released a book that is experiencing, well, less-than-stellar sales. Now, i don’t know if you are familiar with the Amazon Best Sellers Rank system. Basically, Amazon places your book on the website according to its rank. If you visit your book’s sales page, you will see something like this:
Take a look at the Amazon Best Sellers Rank, highlighted in red. In essence, the higher the rank (the lower the number) the better your book sells. A highly-ranked book allows it to be very visible to readers, as it’s not buried deep within the depths of ranking hell among millions of others.
Now that you have a basic understanding of Amazon’s ranking system, go ahead and take note of your worst sellers. Anything above #100,000 only sales one or two copies per month—maybe 3 if you’re lucky. So what can you do when you’re trapped in this hell hole of a ranking? Let’s first explore two flawed possibilities:
– Bring down its price to .99 cents. This is a common tactic that often works to some degree, but it’s not guaranteed that the book’s sales will pick up much, if at all. Moreover, your royalties go from a whopping 70% (if priced at $2.99 or above) to a mere 35%.
– Put up the book under KDP Select and offer it for free. Your book’s ranking will generally improve considerably, but what if you don’t want to sell your soul to Amazon for the required three months? What if your book is already on sale elsewhere? Enough said.
The best solution to your ranking problem is to….
Give your book away as a gift! You will find this option to the right-hand side of your book’s sales page, right under the main “Buy” button. This option allows you to e-mail your book to anyone you wish—while you pay the price. Send it to friends, families or anyone you can think of. Granted, we’re talking about a small investment here, but a worthy one nevertheless. What I suggest is to first lower the book to .99 cents as we discussed above, but only for the sake of saving yourself more money each time you gift it to someone. Also remember that you will get the royalties of your own purchases the following month! Sweet deal, huh?
It doesn’t take a book a whole lot of purchases, or “gifting away”, for its ranking to increase. On average, a book currently sitting around #100,000 should improve drastically with roughly 10 to 15 sales, which would only cost you between $10 to $15 bucks. Once you improve the book’s rankings, it will become more visible or discoverable to all readers out there. Theoretically, your sales should improve in a snowball effect from that point on.
Give it away as a gift as many times as you want; the more you gift it, the better its ranking will be. Once satisfied, bring it back up to its original price… if you wish.