How giving away your book for free can improve your sales ranking–and make you more money.
To many, it seems an odd pitch: give away your book for free and make money?
But it’s true. It works. Here’s how.
The quick and dirty version:
- Write an awesome book (don’t skip this part).
- Give it away for free.
- Sell more books.
- Improve your sales and author ranking.
I know, I know. You’re saying, “Wait. What?”
#1 is a given. We’re going to assume you’ve done or will do this part. But then again, a wise woman once advise me, “Never assume.” So get this step right. We’re moving on now.
#2 is important because you want your (awesome) book in people’s hands. Sure, you’ll give it away to your neighbors and your friends and your aunt Hildegard. But they might not be your ideal readers. If Uncle Joe doesn’t usually read, he’s probably not your ideal reader (unless, of course, your target market is old guys who don’t read).
If you did #2 well and lots of people downloaded your free book, then #3 should be easier. You see, a download on Amazon when your book is free is considered (at least as far as I understand it) like a sale. So then, and this is terribly important, the people who downloaded (or “bought for free”) your book and then downloaded or bought other books will show a pattern to Amazon that those people wants these kinds of books. Which leads to #4.
In my case, I’m happily here ranking high (#57) in the “Best Sellers in Motivational Self-Help” category of Amazon. When people buy your books and then buy other books in the same (or similar) genre, it helps Amazon classify your book properly. That’s why Uncle Joe (who never actually even buys books) doesn’t really help all that much. Or when the neighbor buys your book because she’s a sweetheart and then also buys the latest steamy romance series, it actually might even “hurt” your book and it’s ranking because Amazon doesn’t really get that. Amazon isn’t human, after all. Maybe I’m wrong here, but hey, I’m trying to understand this, too.
The last two days my book was free. Now I’m #57 in the paid section of “Best Sellers in Motivational Self-Help.” Now I’m hanging out with these folks.
These are the people I want to be hanging out with on Amazon:
- Byron Katie: A Mind at Home with Itself
- T.D. Jakes: Soar!
- Debbie Ford: The Best Year of Your Life
- Robert Fulghum: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
- Bradley Charbonneau: Every Single Day
- Norman Vincent Peale: Have a Great Day
- Tony Robbins: MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
- Joshua Becker: The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
Who’s that guy at #6 here? #57 in all 1-million-plus Kindle books on Amazon? Oh wait, that’s me!
Sure, it’s not like I’m hanging out with this crowd having cocktails, but it’s getting closer. We’re not talking the free Kindle books anymore, this is the paid section. This means these books are selling. This means that these books are selling a similar number of books.
Sure, Amazon updates this hourly. Sure, I might drop down into oblivion. But I might not. I might rise up in the ranks. Watch out, Byron Katie, I can see you right up there! This is like the Brady Bunch squares where they can look around and see each other. This is at least as much fun as that. 😉
Update from a few days later and I’m still in the top 100. What I really enjoy is who’s keeping me company around here.