How I became an Amazon “Best Seller” in 7 easy steps (Stuff that really works!)

Becoming an Amazon “Best Seller” is a great achievement for any author and an even greater feeling when you finally see your book on that list!

But with so many authors out there and 1000’s of books to compete with, what do you need to do to see your book in the top 100, top 10 or even at the #1 spot?

I’ve had two best selling books in the last 5 months, one was #1 and have helped others do the same. I’ve had the benefit of having my own digital marketing agency as my core business. It meant I could quickly put together a strategy which worked first time very quickly, with only me as a resource.

I’ve spent some time now on the Facebook and Linkedin authors and writers groups and it’s clear that marketing your book, getting sales and becoming a best seller on a limited budget are popular discussions. The topic comes up over and over again and it would appear that it’s somewhat of a mystery when really it shouldn’t be.

So with that in mind, I wanted to share what’s worked for me in a way that can be actioned right away…So here goes:

1. HAVE A GOOD GREAT BOOK COVER – This might seem superficial but will resonate with some of you. . It sounds simple right? Well it’s not. The amount of poorly produced book covers I’ve seen by authors complaining about book sales is a crying shame. In other industries product packaging is a serious consideration. The (indie) publishing industry should be no different. I’ve heard authors say that it’s the content that matters which is obviously really, and suggests that your customers will feel the same way.

Issue is, if you want to sell lots of books then yours has to be eye catching to attract the millions of people who will be triggered by aesthetics. Okay I know that if you’re purchasing on a Kindle or similar that the book cover isn’t going to scream at you as much, but we’re looking at the overall ‘net’ effect and believe it or not, not everyone has a Kindle (yet).

2. HAVE A SEE HOW IT GOES DELIBERATE PLAN  – Ask any good project manager and they’ll tell you if don’t plan they you plan to fail. It would appear (and you can correct me if I’m wrong) that for most authors marketing (before the book is published and after it’s published) is a bit of an after thought. I get that publishing the book takes so much effort most of us are probably in need of a holiday and not more work! But the fact is that publishing the book is only half the job. You will have to set aside a prescribed amount of time  to marketing your book otherwise it will just sit on the (virtual) shelf with lots of other authors.

Putting pen to paper and working out exactly what you need to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to market your book might sound like a lot of work, but in reality it can be a lot of fun as you share your master piece with the world. I’ve seen authors who have brilliant books but not enough people know about it. As a result, it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Sound like someone ‘you’ might know?

3. USE THE NETWORKS – BUILD A TEAM – Now the great thing about the social networks is they are just that ‘social’. It means that by building relationships with people (not just other authors) you can build a team of people people who’d be ready to share, evangelise and promote your book as long as you say please. This can come in the form of re-tweets on Twitter or Facebook and Linkedin shares. Remember that you have a network, and your network has a network. So the bigger your ‘team’ then the greater chance of your book marketing message spreading.

4. CREATE IMPACT – Now creating impact isn’t just for the public but it’s for Amazon too. If you didn’t already know, your ability to get onto the Amazon best sellers list is determined largely by how many books you sell each hour. This is why your ranking can change constantly. And before you ask, no, Amazon doesn’t have a way for authors to track their ranking, you have to do that manually by refreshing your page. But please don’t do what I did and sit there refreshing the page every hour and forget about everything else that needs to be done, like eating.

5. GO ON TOUR – Chances are you’ll know other authors with blogs (and if you don’t go and make some new friends). Or you’re in an industry where you’ll have associates who have blogs (and if you don’t …well you get the idea). Going back to point 3 remembering your “network has a network”, a great way to leverage this is to do a blog tour (it’s all the rage among indie publishers if you didn’t know). Very simply schedule a number of days where you guest blog on a blog relating to your topic.

Now, what some authors do is use the same blog for all the blogs on their tour. There are a few reasons you shouldn’t do this. One – because Google doesn’t like duplicate content and even though each blog has a different audience so will be seen by different people, you won’t get the benefit of Google indexing lots of different blogs which all promote your book. Secondly –  because you need to publish your blog tour on your own blog, if your audience see it’s the same blog across lots of different sites then there’s not much value in it for them. Thirdly – the blog owners themselves will value and be more motivated to help you with the tour if they know the content is unique to their blog.

There’s more but I think I’ve sold you on that.

6. BECOME A MOVIE STAR – Well not quite, but having a “book trailer” (again all the rage) is something quite easily done. We’re not looking for Hollywood effects here, but using iMovie (if you have a MAC) or Windows Movie Maker (for PC) will suffice. Or you can be a little more snazzy with automated online video creators like FlixTime or Animoto. Job done.

7. LEARN FROM OTHER BEST SELLERS – I didn’t have time to re-create the wheel so I went online and found about 4 or 5 best selling authors, contacted them and asked for their advice. Some of it I was able to apply and some I wasn’t, but they became useful strategies in my overall marketing push. Authors generally want to help other authors because they know it can be a hard slog at times.


I hope that was useful and if you have any questions I’d be more than happy to answer them, just shoot me an email

I don’t consider myself the best writer I am good at marketing, it’s what I have done for a living full time for almost 10 years now so I can answer most questions on that topic.