I'm writing about my Amazon Bestseller Day, which occured December 9th 2008. Please jump over to my blog for authors, YOUR SHELF LIFE: How Long Will You Last?, for updates. YOUR SHELF LIFE promotes sane and happy living for those in the scribbling and publication trade. This is the first article of a series.
Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon
Amazon Bestseller Days have been around for years. They promise to make your book a bestseller, if only for a day. You “drive” buyers to purchase your book on a specific day by offering them gifts (bribes), thus fooling Amazon’s computers into indicating your book is a bestseller. (Which it is, for a while.)
If you’ve written a book, you’ve undoubtedly heard success stories stemming from Amazon Party Days. Thousands of books sold. Lotsa, lotsa money made. Literary agents chasing authors down the street; major publishers coming out of the woodwork waving contracts. The tooth fairy setting up permanent residence in the family home.
We’d heard the stories, too. Here’s the Your Shelf Life report on our experience.
In the summer of 2008, my husband and I listened to a teleseminar in which Steve Harrison interviewed Randy Gilbert and Peggy McColl about their Amazon Bestseller Mentoring program. They cited many examples of authors taking unknown books to bestsellerdom in 38 days. Not only did they cite these stories, the authors got on line and, bubbling enthusiasm at almost unbearable levels, lauded Randy and Peggy’s program.
Randy and team were such good sales people, that Barry (my husband) and I were ready to sign up until they got to the bottom line: They wanted around $2,300 to work their magic. But their program guaranteed that it would take your book to the top; you got your money back if it didn’t work.
Even pre-financial market crash, $2,300 was a lot of money.
Our decision was made for us by my right ankle. Its arthritis had been percolating since a skiing accident in the 1960s. During the summer of 2008, the arthritis went bone-on-bone. This feels worse than it sounds. I was scheduled for to have the joint fused on September 15th.
My doctor gave me a stern warning: “Take your recovery very seriously. Your ability to walk the rest of your life depends upon how well you heal.” No overdoing it, no compulsive working, I was to rest and relax with my foot up.
We scrapped the idea of Randy’s bestseller day and all the other publicity activities we had scheduled for my book, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money.
The surgery went fine––I felt better immediately afterward than I had before. Even though I was in a wheelchair, I felt pretty spunky.
One thing disturbed my perfect recovery: I could lie in bed and get on-line with my handy laptop. Sales of my two award-winning books plummeted to the 2,000,000th level on Amazon.
No matter that I had a compelling reason to scrap book promotion, seeing my darlings in Amazon’s freezing sub-basement killed me.
Anyone can do the math: $275 was way less than $2,300.
I contacted Irene Watson of Reader Views and we talked about when to do my party day. My first book, Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice, has a Christmas tie-in that had never been recognized. I wanted to let people know about about the profound experience I had when I finished the book’s manuscript days before Christmas. That meant we had to do the party in early December.
Irene had a couple of December dates left. I grabbed one and went to work.
IF YOU ARE PLANNING AN AMAZON BESTSELLER DAY, YOU HAD BETTER HAVE A MORE COHERENT AND WELL THOUGHT OUT GAME PLAN THAN MINE OR YOU WILL LAND ON YOUR FANNY.
This is a how-to blog illustrated by my personal journey. If you are planning an Amazon Bestseller Day, do this right now:
- Buy Steve Weber’s Plug Your Book: Online Book Marketing for Authors. Immediately go to page 31, which begins the chapter Amazon Bestseller Campaigns. Read this chapter. Okay. Read it again. This is the best book I have seen on Internet book selling. Weber presents hard data on the results of Amazon Bestseller days. A few things he points out: You’ll have to sell 450 books (at $5 profit each) to pay for Randy Gilbert’s program. What’s the probability of doing that? Weber presents data on books plugged with online word of mouth vs. an Amazon bestseller campaign. Conclusion: Books getting their reputation by online word of mouth have steady, long term sales, often over years. Books plugged by bestseller campaigns show erratic sales which can deteriorate after gimmicky sales tactics.
- Buy Brent Sampson’s Sell Your Book on Amazon. I had books for sale on Amazon for years before reading this book. Wasted years. I didn’t do so many things that I should have. Amazon offers you many ways of selling your book and many tricks about how to use its resources that aren’t explained well. Brent explains them in his book. If you’re planning on doing anything on Amazon, you should read this book before you start.
- Buy Brent Sampson’s e-book “10 Steps to an Amazon Bestseller.” This e-book tells you what to go to successfully carry off your Amazon Day. You’ll need this kind of clear, detailed guidance.
- Go to Todd A Fonseca’s blog, Tag My Book on Amazon. Read the whole thing. Sign up and begin tagging. You may discover your book’s Amazon sales ranking increasing amazingly––with no increase in sales. You may not need the Amazon bestseller day.
Okay. That’s it for now. Study the resources above and I’ll tell you more of my story the next time I write. Pulling off an Amazon Bestseller Day is a huge undertaking––be prepared.
All the best,
I’m sixty three in the picture to above. I was 46 in the picture at the top. No nips, tucks, injections or fancy lenses in either picture. Success in life is a matter of longevity. Shelf life. That’s what I’m after.
I’m putting up these picture not to brag about what I look like–-believe me, I never thought I’d look like I do. It’s easy to look good at 25. Ditto 35, 45, and 55. Over 60, you find out what you’re made of.
And that’s the point. The end’s the same for all of us. Shoot for goals that last longer than the flash of a “diamond” in a Cracker Jacks box.
Winning matters. What you win matters more.
Causes Sandy Nathan Supports
Habitat for Humanity; Prasad