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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is the Second Thing You Want on an Amazon Book Launch After Hitting #1

Once you hit #1 in a subcategory on Amazon, what is the next thing you want to achieve?
While many authors gave good answers to this question on the private forum, no one came up with what I was looking for. Once you hit #1 or rank very high in a subcategory, assuming you also have that subcategory as one of your search words (and you better if you don’t), you want your book to appear on the first page of Amazon’s search results for your book’s subcategory. That’s how buyers find your book when they have never heard of you or your book!

For example, in three years, I have never been able to get Children of Dreams to come up in Amazon’s search engine for “adoption” books—I gave up because it was so far down in the pile, I got tired of going to the next page looking for it.

I am now on the fifth page of Amazon’s “adoption” search. My goal is to get to the first page. Who will make it to the fifth page looking for a good book to read? I still have a ways to go to reach that goal. That’s out of almost 3,000 books. If I search for “adoption books,” another one of my search words, I come up on the second page of about 600 books.

Even though I hit #1 in “adoption” and “mother” books, because Children of Dreams didn’t rank for a LONG TIME in any subcategories, I need it to rank higher for a little longer to get Amazon to list it on the first or second page of a search for “adoption” books.

Children of Dreams has been out three years and after the first year, I didn’t do anything with it. I was working on my Master of Arts in Creative Writing and building the network and writing other books. A few months ago I decided to do a more professional book cover. This was a “test” to see if I could bring back an old book. When Children of Dreams was originally published, there was no Kindle market because few people owned Kindles. There was no KDP Select – there really wasn’t anything except the print version of books. All the original book launches launched printed books.

So I decided to launch Children of Dreams – a three-year-old book. I got to #1 in “adoption” books and “mothering” books, which translated into about 350 book sales in about four days. 

That’s better than I did with print books. I have never been able to sell many print books on Amazon.

So, to summarize, what you really want after a launch is for your book to be found in Amazon’s search engines by people looking for books in your genre. Because I haven’t quite achieved that yet, I am going to market Children of Dreams heavily for one more month. It’s the time element that plays into it—how long it’s ranked high in a subcategory.

For example Seventh Dimension – The Door  has remained consistently in the top 100 books for Christian fantasy ever since my launch in April. There are over 5,000 books in Christian fantasy, For a while it was the number one listing for Christian fantasy book searches, and it wasn’t just on my computer. A friend of mine who is an I.T. specialist did a Christian fantasy search of my book on his iPhone and The Door came up #1. Now it’s #4 because the ranking has dropped a bit. I need to do some advertising to pump it back up. Of course, then you need to know where to advertise. I have some good advice I will share about that if you do a book launch.

The day Emma advertised on one particular site that I recommended, Keeper of Reign hit #2 in Christian fantasy. I would imagine she hit #1 this week because of the blog tours she is doing.

I am not talking about big bucks to have a successful launch. I spent a total of about $300 on my launch. Emma, I think, spent a bit more, but it’s not like the thousands I spent when Children of Dreams first came out and I hired a publicist, did some traveling out of state for TV appearances, and was hosted on several radio shows. With all of that time and expense, I sold practically no books. That soured me on spending a lot of money on book launches. The social networking works with Twitter, Facebook, blog tours, and Google Plus, and then placing your book on some smaller, less expensive advertising sites can really pay off. Some of those web niches have very dedicated followers.

I am hoping BookBub will feature my book next month. It’s on the pricy side, $280 for a listing – but they only take a few books and they have statistics to justify their prices. They turned Children of Dreams down for August for adoption books but told me to resubmit for September in the inspirational category. I just did that tonight. They would not accept my Seventh Dimension – The Door book with all the good reviews and awards – so it is HARD to get BookBub to list your book.

If they accept Children of Dreams for September, I expect my ranking to be high on Amazon. I also have a few other things I am doing that I didn’t have time to do in August—mainly because I still hope to get on the first page of the Amazon search engines for "adoption" books. That is the best advertising there is– people searching for books similar to what you write, and then Amazon sends buyers to your book. Amazon wants to make money, so they won’t send customers your way if you haven’t sold many books in the last few months.

Emma’s book Keeper of Reign is listed as #9 in Christian fantasy on an Amazon search. If she stays in the top 100 for a while, Amazon will send buyers to her book. Eventually you want the advertising to carry itself – without you propping it up or spending more money. It has happened with other books in the network, like Bob Saffrin’s books and The Glimpse. We have had many successful launches. 

Hopefully these ramblings on my launch this last month will be helpful. Comments and revelations on what has worked for you are welcome.









  1. Excellent info. Thank you. And Congratulations. x

  2. Thanks for sharing your insights.
    Deborah H. Bateman

  3. Thanks for sharing this and congrats!