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How to Increase Book Sales on Amazon as a First-Time Publisher

Publishing, Marketing, & Writing Tips

Keep reading for beginner-friendly sales tips! Your bank account will thank you.

How to Increase Book Sales on Amazon as a First-Time Publisher
Table of contents

Publishing your book and selling your book are two different things, and we're here to help you do both! 

This blog post holds secrets from our Sales Booster Series within the AIA publishing course, which has already collectively generated millions of dollars in royalties for thousands of students across the globe. We'll also cover the #1 way to practically guarantee consistent book sales (and the best part is that it's completely free), so keep reading!

Get your self-publishing blueprint: Check out our no-cost webinar to see how you can get started selling books and making money online with just a free Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account.

Pricing Your Book 101

Let's knock the basics of pricing out of the way:

Amazon’s Royalty Structure

Amazon offers a few different royalty options for publishers:

35% Royalty (eBook):

  • No delivery costs
  • Minimum price: $0.99

70% Royalty (eBook):

  • Delivery costs based on file size
  • Minimum price: $2.99
  • Certain regions and requirements apply

60% Royalty (paperback):

  • Fixed royalty

Pro Tip: Instantly calculate your future earnings with our free Amazon KDP Royalty Calculator for eBooks.

Price Promotions and Pre-Orders

Amazon built the KDP dashboard to make publishing as simple as possible, which is why it's filled with different marketing and promotion tools that you get to take advantage of for free!

You can enroll your books in Amazon's KDP Select program, run limited-time price promotions (like free book promos or discounts), and reach new readers with just a few clicks of a button. You can also schedule pre-orders to create anticipation during the pre-launch phase, which can boost your day-one sales and help gain visibility in the Amazon store.

Read about nailing the three phases of launching a book on Amazon here.

Pricing Psychology

You don't need a college degree to understand the fundamentals of pricing psychology

Let's dive into two concepts that can make a world of difference for your book sales: price anchoring and dynamic pricing.

Price Anchoring

Price anchoring is just like it sounds and involves creating a reference point for the value of your book. This can refer to how your book's price compares to the competition, or it can refer to how different formats of your book compare to each other.

For example, you might choose a pricing structure that looks something like this:

  • eBook version: $3.97
  • Paperback version: $9.73
  • Hardcover version: $19.37

Now, these numbers are just an example, but you can see that the paperback will seem more reasonable than the hardcover to some readers, and the eBook might seem more reasonable than the paperback. And a bonus is that even though you'll likely make fewer sales on the hardcover, any sale that you DO make will bring in more royalties than if you were to price it lower.

Pro Tip: The trick here is focusing on the perceived value of your book and not undervaluing yourself!

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing just means changing your book's list price depending on things like holidays, seasons, and trends that you spot in your sales. When you first launch a book, you might consider a lower list price to bag some more reviews upfront, knowing that the more reviews you collect, the easier it will be to sell your book in the future. Then, as you gain more reviews, you can slowly bring up the price to where you want it.

Pro Tip: Don't be afraid to run experiments! Pricing differs by so many different factors, including niche, book length, audience, and so on and so forth. Find what works best for you!

Professional Video Reviews

Amazon has an invisible hierarchy for its reviews when it comes to determining a book's Best-Seller-Ranking. Although their algorithm is top-secret, we do know that verified reviews will always hold more weight than unverified reviews, and based on our experience working with thousands of self-publishers, we also know that professional video reviews hold a ton of weight.

These days, you can find a professional to review your book on places like Upwork or Fiverr. The catch here is that you cannot incentivize a positive review without breaking Amazon's terms and conditions. This means you should ONLY request a video review if you are 110% sure your book is worth reading and will help out readers.

A video review doesn't have to be anything fancy. A simple video of someone showing off your book cover and talking about all their favorite parts (without giving away spoilers) can make your book listing 100x more credible and encourage more sales.

Pro Tip: Editorial reviews are nice to have but not totally necessary.

Build Out Your Amazon Author Central Profile

As a first-time publisher, you'll want to make a strong impression on potential readers. One way to do that is by building out your Amazon Author Central profile (you might also hear it referenced as your author page). This profile will be your online home and go-to resource for your readers.

Here's how to make your profile engaging and informative:

  1. Claim Your Book: Make sure to claim your book on Amazon Author Central once it's published through the Kindle Direct Publishing portal. This will automatically link your book to your profile and give you access to more tools and analytics.
  2. Add a Professional Photo: Choose a high-quality, professional-looking photo of yourself that reflects your personality. This will be one of the first things visitors see, so make it count! (Yes, even if you use a ghostwriter)
  3. Write a Compelling Author Bio: In a few paragraphs, introduce yourself to your readers and provide some context about your background and why you published this specific book. Why should your audience trust you?

This is also where you can gain "followers" who will be notified about any of your future releases. Don't be afraid to share your author profile across other social media platforms if you're active on them, though this definitely isn't a requirement.

Can Bad Reviews Be a Good Thing?

Guess what? There's not a single book on the market without some bad reviews. Not even Harry Potter, one of the most popular series of all time.

No matter what your anxiety might be telling you, one negative review won't ruin your book sales. In fact, it can offer some benefits as well. Let's take a look at the reasons:

1. Authenticity: A mix of positive and negative reviews shows that real people are reading your book. Readers will appreciate the diversity in opinions and consider the feedback more genuine.

2. Constructive criticism: Sometimes, bad reviews can provide valuable insights. Take the time to carefully read through them, and you might find areas for improvement. Use this feedback to put out an even better book for your readers.

3. Showcase the positives: A few bad reviews might also make potential readers pay more attention to the positive comments. You can utilize these complimentary reviews as social proof by quoting or highlighting them on your book listing or author website.

Other Things That Can Affect Book Sales on Amazon

These are some additional factors that can affect your book sales:

  • Keyword Optimization: If your book's title, subtitle, series name, and book description are missing the keywords that people are searching for on the Amazon Kindle store, they're going to have a hard time finding your book.
  • A+ Content on Amazon: If your competitors all have A+ content (charts/images/videos) on their book pages, but you don't, you might miss out on extra royalties each month. Build your book page in a way that makes purchasing your book the easiest decision a reader can make!
  • The Season: Read about the best time to publish in each niche.
  • A Bad Book Cover: If your book cover is confusing, boring, or looks a bit too "DIY," people WILL unfortunately judge your book by its cover.
  • A Bad Pen Name: It's best to run your ideal pen name through a quick Amazon and Google search beforehand to make sure there aren't any big-name celebrities or competitors that match. Otherwise, your book is sure to get lost in the crowded sea. 
  • Book Length: A quick guide shouldn't weigh as much as an encyclopedia. Think through whether your readers need a simple breakdown or a more complex resource. There’s no reason a book about the “10 Best Beaches of Hawaii” needs to be 300 pages long. 

What Steps Should I Take to Enhance Visibility for My New Book on Amazon?

To increase your book's visibility, take time to choose the most relevant categories for your book. Don't make your readers go on a wild goose chase to try to track your book down. People are busy (and lazy). Make it easy for 'em!

Consider setting up an Amazon Advertising campaign, which can promote your book to potential readers while they're already browsing on Amazon (AKA, they're in the shopping and buying mood). 

If you’re not getting as many bites as you like, you can also toy around with updating your book’s meta description through your KDP dashboard.  

How Can I Make My Book Stand Out Among the Competition on Amazon?

Reviews, reviews, reviews. Encourage readers to leave reviews! This is the #1 way to practically guarantee consistent book sales, and it doesn't have to cost you a penny!

Think about your own experiences choosing a restaurant or a book. Are you going to go with the one that has a handful of 3 and 4-star reviews, or are you going to go with the one that has 100+ perfect reviews? It’s a no-brainer. 

People these days put way more stock into social proof than they did in the past, and who can blame them?

From Stay-At-Home Parents, College Students, and Retirees to Best-selling Authors and Publishers

Never in a million years did Jeffrey think he would become the self-published author of 8 different books in a small niche near and dear to his heart. He touches on everything from selling books without spending money on ads to getting more reviews in this interview:

Katrina found success with just THREE books after experiencing being on the brink of death. She shares her incredible story here:

Mel is a kick-ass coach of ours who knows a thing or two about self-publishing. It's how she was able to move her entire family abroad! Hear some of her best tips on how to generate more Kindle book sales:

Stop Browsing Amazon and Start Publishing!

Shopping online can be fun, but know what's NOT fun?

  • Having to spend an entire paycheck on unexpected car repairs or hospital visits
  • Missing out on your kid's soccer game because you have another meeting
  • Constantly dreaming about a different life but being paralyzed by inaction

Now, imagine if you could take just ONE itty bitty little step towards financial freedom?

It's waiting for you in this webinar which is 100% free! Get the blueprint and get inspired!

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