New series : Hitting the Amazon #1 Spot – A Killer Plan, or Lady Luck?

Part I : WHY AM I BLOGGING ABOUT THIS?

Since reaching the coveted number 1 spot in the Amazon charts, I have been asked on an almost hourly basis for tips by other indie authors. I have tried to respond to these, but it occurred to me that the best thing that I could do would be to create a whole series of blog posts on the subject, and try to get feedback from other authors too.

Can I start by saying that I am not an expert in any of the fields that will be discussed. I am an amateur in every sense of the word. So I will be talking about the process that I went through – without any guarantees and in the sure knowledge that there are people out there who know more than I do about each and every step in this journey. I will reiterate this every five minutes, so that nobody is under any illusions!

So was it a fluke, or was it careful planning?

Well – for a start, I didn’t use any of the common ‘tricks’ – for want of a better word. No KDP Select with free days, no free promos at all, in fact. Nor was I ever the Kindle Daily Deal – my current bête noir as these books come from nowhere each day, push me off the top, and then disappear a few days later!

I did a lot of planning but all of it was far later than it should have been. And I worked very, very hard. All of which will have helped enormously, and I am lucky because since selling my business a few years ago, I no longer work and therefore have the time to focus solely on book promotion. But I can’t deny that there will have been a good deal of luck involved too.

I gained some brilliant readers early on, who really promoted Only the Innocent through the forums. One day, I had a massive leap and mentioned on a forum that I didn’t know how that had happened. One of my lovely readers said – “just go check out this forum, and you’ll see”. It turned out that several people were talking at the same time about my book, and others were saying “great – I’ll buy it now”. So I was lucky that some of my early readers were also very active in the forums.  That really is luck – but then they may well have bought it because we ‘met’ on a forum in the first place.

Whether it’s a mixture of luck and hard work or not though, it does take a lot of time and effort if you’re on your own in all this (ie no agent, no publisher). And you really do need to plan.

So I am going to be blogging on the subject for as long as it takes to transfer anything useful that I’ve learned to other authors. I’m not going to write a book on the subject – that would suggest that I really know what I’m talking about – but I do hope that this gives you a few hints and tips.

This is currently the expected format of the up-coming blog posts, on the basis that this is Part I:

Part II : THE BOOK

It goes without saying that you have to write a book that people want to read, and one that they enjoy enough to tell other people about. There must be millions of people who can talk about this much better than I can. However, for what it’s worth I have learned a few things along the way, mainly by reviewing other people’s books and by having people review early copies of mine. So this post will concentrate on a number of things to watch out for in writing your book, with tips from the professionals.

Part III : PREPARING FOR PUBLISHING

This post (or series) will cover the formatting – which I started some time ago – and now will HAVE to finish – and how incredibly important it is to look like a professional. It will also talk about the cover, and the sales blurb and pitfalls. I thought this was going to be the easy bit when I published Only the Innocent – and it wasn’t.

Part IV : PREPARATION FOR LAUNCH

This is really all about having a plan. I am doing a guest post for Scott Bury at Written Words next week, and one of the things I am going to talk about is the mistakes I made at the beginning – wasting time, not knowing what I was doing – there is a huge amount that you can do long before you get ready for launch. So this section may have several posts – to include :

  • MARKETING PLAN
  • SALES PLATFORM
  • PREPARING FOR REVIEWS
  • PRESS RELEASES

Part V : SELLING YOUR BOOK

So your book is now launched. What can you do to make the most of your sales platform? This will also consist of a number of posts that will cover the following – and possibly other stuff too :

  • REVIEWS
  • INTERVIEWS
  • MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR BLOG AND WEBSITE
  • VISIBILITY – THE KEY TO IT ALL
  • SELLING YOUR SOCKS OFF
  • OTHER BITS AND PIECES

So at the moment, that’s the structure. It might change – I might get people to do guest blogs in some areas – in fact, there is no doubt about it. And if you think of something that’s missing – let me know. All comments are very welcome.

I will reiterate – I do NOT claim to be an expert (told you I’d say it more than once). But if anything that I say helps another author to enjoy a week like I’ve just had, it will be worth it.

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