Rachel Abbott, independent author and publisher of the thriller “Only the Innocent”, today reached the coveted number one position in the Amazon Kindle charts with her debut novel with a zero marketing budget.
“Only the Innocent” was launched for the Kindle and other e-readers on 18th November 2011. Author Rachel Abbott had completed her debut novel some twelve months previously and it had been sitting on a virtual shelf until Abbott decided to “have a go” at publishing for the Kindle. She had no agent, no sales platform, and no marketing budget – just the bare outlines of a website and any empty Twitter stream. Just three months and one day later, it is at number one in the Kindle charts on Amazon UK.
When asked how she feels about this success, Rachel Abbott replied, “I am stunned, but delighted. It’s been an exciting three months, and whilst it’s been hard work, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I think that an increasing number of authors will be choosing this route, although I admit that seeing a physical copy of my book backed by a major publisher in a book shop would still be a real thrill. Reaching the number one position in the Amazon Kindle chart is difficult for any author, including those with the full backing of an agent and publisher. To have achieved this with a debut novel, with nothing other than a computer and a few social networking sites, will hopefully encourage thousands of other indie authors, and prove that there is no such word as ‘impossible’.
“It does take more effort that I had originally imagined. Significantly more. I thought it was just a matter of uploading a Word file. In theory, that is the case – but in reality to get the level of formatting and professionalism that I wanted, it was a steep learning curve. I also started with no sales platform – in other words nobody knew I existed or had written a book – and I had just nine followers on Twitter,” Abbott reports. “I scoured the web for ideas and ways to get the book in front of people. On Amazon, it’s all about visibility and getting linked to other people’s books. Many authors have used the Kindle Select programme that allows you to promote your books as “free for today” to increase the rankings. But I didn’t want to do that. People have had fantastic results, but I wasn’t sure that it was the right way for me to go.”
Following early sales of just one or two a day, the numbers gradually started to increase as the novel rose through the charts – slowly at first – and then amazingly quickly in recent days. Abbott believes that reviews played a major part in the success of the book, and she also spent time on improving the information on her website to make it more appealing, with a virtual tour of some of the locations, and a reading guide for book clubs. Her blog, which is designed to help other indie authors to find their way through the maze of possible marketing avenues, also gradually grew in popularity.
“I was writing information for authors – and of course, people who write are pretty much always people who read. I probably didn’t sell many books that way, but in the early days every sale counts towards visibility. One of the most rewarding aspects of the last three months has been getting to know other indie authors. In theory, we are all in competition. In practice I have been overwhelmed with the amazing support that I’ve received, and the genuine feeling of becoming part of a big club of new friends, all of whom are facing similar issues.”
Rachel Abbott intends to share details of her journey to the number one spot on Amazon with fellow authors through her blog, and is looking forward to publishing her second novel for the Kindle.