By Judith Briles
Daily, I get questions from published authors: Is it worth it … to put in the time and energy to mount a bestseller campaign on Amazon?
If you are a bestseller snob, you will say no, arguing only the “real” lists count: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, etc. Being the contrarian that I can be,
I’m going to say it is worth it.
I’m talking Amazon … the gorilla that sells most of the books. I’m not talking the “one hour” slot. How about claiming 24 hours for several days? In multiple categories? And how about starting the buzz and building momentum for your title?
It takes work. It’s not something that you should be thinking: … ummm, today is Friday—I’m going to do a bestseller campaign next week. That’s a huge nope—and a recipe for failure.
Below, I’m sharing the drilldown we do in our offices to create a successful eBook bestseller campaign for our clients. There are 22 of them. Many authors may not have the bandwidth to do a DIY approach—they need some help. And I confess, as much as I know about book marketing and using social media, I get help in creating some of the elements and execution of them.
It takes work and a team to pull it all together. And time. Within are samples of social media posts and images we did for a recent campaign over the 4th of July weekend for author Katherine Burlake and her book, The Last Request.
MUST Do Steps for Amazon Campaigns for eBooks
- To do an effective push … a campaign, start 4 to 6 weeks out in your planning. If you don’t put planning into it, mediocrity will most likely be the result.
- Make sure that your eBook is only available on Amazon’s KDP Select platform. It will allow you to offer up to 5 FREE days within a 90 day period … or LOWER your price for up to 5 days or do what’s called a COUNT DOWN, meaning you can drop price, then increase it each day until it reverts back to original price.
Suggestion: do it at least 15 days before the push out. And note: make sure your eBook is not available on other platforms—Amazon can be pissy and penalize you if your eBook is published anywhere else.
After 90 days, you can terminate with KDP Select and publish your eBook on other platforms.
- On your Amazon details page, capture the full link, then go to either bit.ly or TinyUrl.com and create a customized link that has your title, portion of it, your name, etc.
Short is better. You will use this on all social media pushes, including posters that are created.
- Work on building up your followers on social media ongoing basis.
- Recheck which hashtags you will be using. Make sure that #bookboost is used. Plus create one for your name #YourName …. Go to Twubs.com and claim it.
- Next, identify what “handles” relate to your genre/expertise … gather them up. For bool pushes, also use:
- For Facebook users, join all the groups you can that relate to your genre, etc.
- For ALL … verify any name handles.— @ —out there that can be included within a post that might pull attention.
- Identify your Amazon push date(s)–is it free or fee—and set it up. Verify what your window time frame is and schedule it.
- There are portals for placing ads. One that I routinely use is Freebooksy for free or fee eBook pushout—you are going to BUY an ad. FreeBooksy is the portal to set up for a “free” eBook to consumers—it’s not free to you, there is a fee and it will be based on the genre you are going for—they usually start at $50.
Ditto for BargainBooksy—the “fee” eBook for consumers. Both can be found on the on the same portal. Look at DATES … pick one—pay and lock it in… it needs to match your date for the push. Fridays are generally good.
- Make sure your independent ad date matches your Amazon dates, running it on the first day. I’ve found if you do a multiple day push, i.e., three days, run the ad on the first day. There is a spill over factor—and pushes into following days.
- Add or modify the Categories on book detail page. This should be done at least one week before campaign starts.
Use the “contact” feature on Author Central to call and get a live person to help you. You can have 10—do the drill down dive.
Not surprisingly, I’ve found that the new categories that I added to clients were the most recently added … and they were the ones that the #1 got grabbed in.
- Recheck your description on detail page … any new items to add?
What updates? How about a new headline?
Make sure you are using BOLD for headlines. Maybe pull up a killer blurb from a review that has been posted. Use the italics/bold/line break features in editing to make the blurb pop. Add them.
- Get familiar with “holidays” both the classics and weird or bizarre.
Explore HolidaysCalendar.com and HolidayInsights.com.
You can coattail them and create visual posters to tie your book push out to your social media platforms.
- Make several posters to specifically support the campaign. For a push over the 4th of July weekend, fireworks images were used.
If it’s not a holiday, be clever with attaching grabbing pulls to lure in the eyes. Use easy peasy Canva or the BookBrush tool.
When I first delivered a podcast on this topic on AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing, it was August 6—National Root Beer Float Day, National Fresh Breath Day, and National Wiggle Your Toes Day. Part 2 was on International Lefthanders Day, National Filet Mignon Day, and National Prosecco Day.
Have some fun—incorporate the day, hook your book to it and do the push out via social media.
For the month of August, there’s lots to choose from: Admit You’re Happy Month, Family Fun Month, Dog Days of Summer, National Catfish Month, National Golf Month, Peach Month, Romance Awareness Month, Water Quality Month, National Picnic Month.
For weeks: week 1 is National Simplify Your Life Week; week 2 is National Smile Month; week 3 is Friendship Week; week 4 is Be Kind to Humankind Week. It’s time to goose up your creative juices.
- Create a massive amount of social media posts (as in at least 30 different posts) … Plan on posting something different every hour on Twitter, Instagram. For Facebook, LinkedIn–at least 4-6 times each day of your campaign. For Pinterest –multiple boards added through the day(s).
Make sure you use your “handle” @YourName within them plus hashtags. Such as:
If a whirlwind of clandestine meetings, deceptions, suspicious accidents, and adventure are your mix, add The Last Request to your reading pleasure, new book is waiting for you: https://bit.ly/TheLastRequest @kburlakebooks #mystery #thriller #adventure #IARTG #bookboost #WWII
Calling all #mystery and #thriller fans—discover new book that snaps, crackles and pops with intrigue, clandestine meetings, betrayals, and suspicious accidents. The Last Request is waiting for you: https://bit.ly/TheLastRequest @kburlakebooks #adventure #IARTG #bookboost
This is a wowsa for mystery and thriller readers … do you want a bold and gritty book, woven with adventure? Wait no longer—the second Amy Prowers book is here: The Last Request. https://bit.ly/TheLastRequest @kburlakebooks #mystery #thriller #adventure #IARTG #bookboost #WWII
Ready for adventure, thrills and reveals? The Shroud has been hidden and lost, worshipped and debunked, attacked and ransomed. Get The Last Request by Katherine Burlake, book 2 in series. https://bit.ly/TheLastRequest @kburlakebooks #mystery #thriller #adventure #bookboost
Hey readers of mystery and suspense: if you like adventure, captivating characters and a page turner, The Last Request by Katherine Burlake is waiting for you: https://bit.ly/TheLastRequest @kburlakebooks #mystery #thriller #adventure #IARTG #bookboost #WWII #shroud
- Take a screenshot of your Amazon book detail page at the beginning of the day so you can have a benchmark of where you go.
- Check in with Amazon rankings. Throughout the campaign period, you should check back with Amazon around 10 or 15 minutes past each hour to see if there is any movement. If yes, screenshot time.
- When you hit #1, click on it on your book detail page … it will take you to an interior page and WOOT … the book will show prominently at #1 … new screenshot time. And shout it out to all your fans via social media with a TY for their support.
- Take a breath and Congratulate yourself. Plan a mini celebration.
- Grab the Amazon bestseller seal image online. Select the one(s) you like. Now, go to your cover designer … have him or her add the #1 Amazon bestseller to the eBook cover and upload it to your Amazon details page for the eBook via the KDP portal.
- Brag and shout out time. What are you going to do to let your community know? How about adding to your email signature? How about writing a press release and doing a push out? There are several free resources including PRLog.com. What else?
There you have it … easy peasy, right? No. For our clients, it is—we’re doing the work and pushing out. But for you and the DIYer, it’s doable. Visualize. Plan. Execute. Your turn.