Amazon Best Seller

How I Made It Happen For $26 (And How You Can Too)

Yesterday, my book, The Cargo Ship Diaries, became an Amazon best seller.

How the hell did that happen?

Well, I’m doing a free giveaway of the book this week. And I paid a total of $26 to get it listed on some big websites and newsletters (links and details below).

As a result of those efforts, plus some postings on Reddit and Facebook, the book has been downloaded 1000+ times since Monday, which is evidently enough to make it a best seller.

Well, sort of.

See, it’s only a best seller in a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub category of Amazon, and even then only among other free books in that sub-sub-sub-sub-sub category.

Amazon best seller
Above: My book – The Cargo Ship Diaries – listed as a “best seller” on Amazon.

What that means is that I’d be a bit of a gobshite to seriously consider myself a best selling author.

That’d be kinda like Donald Trump claiming to be the best basketball player in the world.

You know, among US presidents.

Who are still alive.

And white.

And married to a Slovenian.

(Although that does sound like the kind of thing Trump would say, even without the qualifiers.)

Anyways… that’s how you make your book a best seller on Amazon.

If you ever want to try it yourself, follow the steps below, and then you may proceed to introduce yourself at parties as a best selling author, and everyone listening may proceed to roll their eyes.

6 Steps To Make Your Book An Amazon Best Seller

Write a good book

Get it formatted for Kindle

I used Kindle Station for this. They designed my book cover, too. Highly recommended.

Publish the book on Amazon

Get some legit positive reviews

Note that I published my book three years ago so I had dozens of 4- and 5-star reviews built up by the time I did my free promo.

I mostly got those reviews organically through Amazon, and also via my mailing list of 3000+ people.

I’m sure there are ways you can speed up this process, and you probably don’t need lots of positive reviews before moving to the next step. But you should have enough that when people land on your book page they see that other folks have rated it highly, making them more likely to download it.

Schedule your free promotion on Amazon

This is easy to do via your KDP dashboard.

I scheduled mine for Monday and did everything in the next step the previous Thursday and Friday, so you don’t need a lot of lead time.

Push traffic to your book page during the promo period

I spent a total of $26 on these three services:

I also posted about my book on this Reddit thread: Free Kindle books (see my post here)

I then posted on my personal Facebook asking friends to upvote me on Reddit. I got 11 upvotes, which was enough to get me to the top of the subreddit homepage for a while.

On top of all that, I scheduled a post per day during the free promo to my Facebook page (3,439 likes).

Example:

That’s all the promotion I’ve done until now. (I haven’t even emailed my list of 3000+ people about the free promo yet.)

As you can see from the following report from KDP, all that was enough to get me more than 1000 downloads of the book in 4 days.

Which was enough to nab me “best seller” status.

Any questions, post them in the comments below.

Good luck with your book.

(Note: this article was first published in April, 2017.)

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6 Comments

  1. Congrats Niall! I plan on self-publishing and selling on Amazon – seems like a challenging accomplishment; good to know it can be done!

    I think the ratings are key. Can you elaborate more on how you generated positive 4-5 star reviews?

    1. Niall Doherty

      Hey Jesse, thanks for the comment!

      Most of those 4-5 star reviews came via people on my mailing list. I believe I had well over 1000 people on my mailing list when I published the book initially, so that helped get the ball rolling.

  2. Congratulations, Niall!
    And thanks for the honesty. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who isn’t a “best selling” author.

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