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With a Little Help From Your Friends…


Some books are sold in the millions of copies and others never make it out of the “mid-list” category or do not even reach that level.  Readers and authors alike tend to think that a good story is all it takes to become a well known bestseller author.

No matter if you are an author with lots of friends – or if you are friend to an author, the following list will help you to find out how Amazon’s algorithm decides the popularity of books, its ranking and visibility. Amazon, the world’s biggest book seller, paper and e-books alike, can give a great book a big boost to “be discovered”.  These little features take only a few seconds, but can make a big difference:

Reviews
Write at least a review on Amazon, even if the book already has lots of reviews already. As more reviews as better for the author and as more potential buyers can see the popularity of the work. Make a copy of your review and send it to all the other online book sellers as well!  Before you can post a review, you are required to have an Amazon.com account that you have used for at least one purchase of a physical or digital item. Free digital downloads don’t qualify. You don’t need to have purchased the product you are reviewing.
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“Like” Button

Give the book a “Like” in clicking on the icon. This takes less than a second, but it may play into Amazon’s algorithms.

“Listmania” List
Make a List-Mania list and add your favorite authors’ books to it. This creates another avenue for new readers to find books. It’s better to create lists around similar types of books than a too eclectic list, and consider to title it appropriately so folks will be more inclined to check it out.  Submit a brief instruction to your friends/family “How to create a Listmania list”, can be found on Amazon.

Highlights
Another item in Amazon’s algorithm list for book popularity: If you have a Kindle, highlight some wise or fun quotations from the book and share them publicly. If enough people share their highlights, they’ll show up in your e-book.

Amazon displays “Popular Highlights” by combining the highlights of all Kindle customers and identifying the passages with the most highlights. The resulting Popular Highlights help readers focus on passages that are meaningful to the greatest number of people. Popular Highlights are marked with a gray dashed underline. The number of people who have highlighted the text appears at the beginning of the marked text.
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Reviews, Tags, Highlights, “Listmania Listing”, “Like Button” all help to boost up books in Amazons popularity list. Take two books with identical sales numbers: the one which has been promoted with these features is much higher in the ranks and will definitely sell better in the future.

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Once More: KDP Select

KDP Select is a new program allowing authors of Kindle e-books to earn money by allowing their titles to be lent out to American (only) Amazon Prime customers.

Authors do not have to be USA-based themselves.  “Prime customers” are allowed to borrow one Kindle e-book free of charge per month under the KDP Select program.

 

However, authors don’t get any royalties from this program – as their books are loaned out free – but Amazon has set aside a substantial fund (an estimated $6 million during 2012), which is shared out every month according to how many times each e-book has been borrowed. With low-cost e-books your earnings per loan are almost certain to be higher than your royalties per sale. During the last two or three months it hoovered around $1.60 and $ 1.70 – even for books that were priced at $0.99.

Terri Reid, author of several paranormal mystery books, earned over eight times more money from paid sales of her KDP Select books compared to the month before she joined KDP Select.  She also earned $8,000 from the KDP Select fund in January.  “KDP Select has added a wonderful boost to my sales – many new readers have written to me mentioning they have borrowed my first or second book and then purchased the rest of the books in the series,” said Reid.  “I’ve also found that the ability to offer my books for free has brought my sales to a whole new level.  I highly recommend the KDP Select program.”  Other authors are not so happy about their figures.

The KDP Select program has been the cause of much discussion among Kindle authors, with some contending it offers a poor deal for authors. This is largely because, if you want to take part, you are barred from selling your e-book digitally through any other outlet during the (minimum) 90-day period your title is available through the program.

It’s estimated that 27,000 titles were registered in the first 24 hours.  When Amazon launched the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library it contained around 5,000 books. There are now over 100,000 Kindle titles available on Prime.

David Gaughran wrote: “Aside from being listed in the Lending Library, and having those borrows positively affect Sales Rank – which leads to increased visibility on the various Bestseller Lists, coming off a successful free run can massively affect your position on the Popularity Lists, often putting you on the first page or two overall . As a lot of Amazon customers believe that the Popularity List is the Bestseller List, this can be a huge driver of sales.”

Don’t forget: Whenever a book is free (to “buy”) on Amazon, often other titles by the same author see a spike in sales.

Read more about the KDP Select Program:

http://www.amazon.com/prime

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/blog/book-marketing/my-kdp-select-free-experiment-3-days-free-and-the-aftermath/

http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/amazon-the-importance-of-popularity/

http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2012/01/guest-post-one-authors-first-month-in.html

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