5 Things You Can Do To Sell More Books on Amazon


Here on the Author Marketing Institute site, we are big proponents of spreading out the risk. That’s one of the reasons why we don’t advocate for exclusivity. We feel as though authors should try out every bookselling platform and they should consider going direct to fans with their work. That being said, it’s hard to ignore the 700-pound gorilla in the room that is Amazon KDP.

For most authors, Amazon KDP is their top earner by far. With the impending collapse by typical number two NookPress, that gap could grow even further. Email marketing promotions like BookBub and eReaderNewsToday tend to have the greatest impact on Amazon sales. It’s simply the largest reader platform out there, and if you’re having trouble selling books there, then it’s likely you’re not selling many books at all.

You can read as many Kindle gold rush products as you want, but there is no overarching secret to selling more books on Amazon. There are several best practices that the top selling Amazon authors tend to use frequently. Here are five ways some of the biggest names on Amazon get their books to the top of the charts:

1. Publish More Often

Image from http://queenbeeconsulting.com/business-services/authorpublishing-services/

There has long been talk of a 90-day cliff after which your books will make fewer waves in the Amazon algorithm. What this means is that 90 days after you publish a book, it’s less likely to sell. Some authors have used this cliff to their advantage, by making sure they publish a book every 90 days without fail.

This book doesn’t have to be a full-length novel, although some authors are speedy enough to put out novels that quickly. It can be a novella, a short story, or a multi-author box set. It doesn’t seem to matter what you put out, as long as you’re publishing something every 90 days.

Currently, there is talk that the 90-day cliff is now closer to a 30-day cliff. Don’t stress yourself out over needing to publish every 30 days. Simply make sure you’re publishing as often as you can to keep your books higher in Amazon’s rankings.

2. Optimize Your Keywords and Categories

Image from http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/blogs/smitten/2013/01/the-only-acceptable-time-to-ma

On your Amazon KDP submission page, you can see that you’re able to select up to two categories. Using certain keywords, you can actually get into at least five categories if not more. The trick is that you want to get into categories that make sense for your book’s visibility.

Examine the categories that you’re thinking of putting your book in, and make sure that you pick at least one category that you could potentially rank in. To assess this, look to see what the sales rank is of the 100th-ranked book in your category. Ask yourself if you could perpetually rank that number or higher in Amazon sales rank. If not, continue to look around, because having your book in one of these bestseller categories is a great way to make sure your book is getting seen. Check out David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible for more information on categories.

You can also try to get more traffic to your books by using SEO friendly keywords. Test out multi-word phrases related to your book’s subject matter. To do this manually, type in words into Amazon’s search bar and see some of the phrases that Amazon autofills underneath. Using tools like Kindle Samurai and KindleSpy let you do this with ease. However you find these phrases, make sure to include some of them in your book’s description to improve your chances of ranking for those keywords. Nick Stephenson’s book Supercharge your Kindle Sales may help you go more in depth on the subject.

3. Use Permafree

Image from http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-launches-free-e-book-borrowing-for-prime-members/

Permafree books can work wonders if you have a series of books on Amazon. There are many success stories of indie authors who shot up the charts after making the first book in their series permanently free. Since free books are downloaded almost 100 times as much as paid books, these freebies give you a major opportunity to reach new readers.

You’ll need to use the other platforms to make a book permanently free, since Amazon doesn’t allow for you to set a book’s price at $0.00. After you succeed at making your book free, use email advertisers to spread the word about your discounted book. This will help you to sell more books throughout the series, and it will move your free books higher in the rankings.

4. Enroll in KDP Select

Image from http://www.wesweston.com/2014/05/my-experience-with-kindle-direct.html

KDP Select is Amazon’s exclusive loyalty program for authors. There are several benefits that come with KDP Select, including Kindle Countdown Deals and Kindle Free Days. Your book will also automatically be included in the Kindle Unlimited program.

Inclusion in Select is no guarantee of success. In fact, some authors have had less success on Amazon because price-per-borrow rates from Kindle Unlimited have dropped since the program started in late 2014. Authors who’ve had success with Select usually aren’t completely dependent on Amazon. One strategy includes setting the first book in a series as permanently free and making the rest of the books in the series exclusive to Amazon. Another tactic includes partitioning your email list to send out book release announcements to make sure that people buy or borrow the books over the course of several days.

Whether or not you decide to dabble in Select, it’s probably a good idea to keep at least some of your books from being exclusive.

5. Spread Out Your Promotions

Image from http://www.digitalcurrent.com/social-media/24-tips-promoting-events-on-social-media/

Instinct may tell you that it’s best to get a giant sales boost on the first day of your book’s release. In this case your instinct would be wrong. The way the Amazon algorithm works is that it rewards books that have several consistent days of sales. With regular sales for 3-5 days, your book will get stuck at a better sales rank than it would with a one-day sales spike. This is why it’s so important to spread out your promotions.

On your marketing calendar, you should set up at least five straight days of equal promotion. If you have a mailing list, then you should split it up into several parts. Place your Facebook-specific promotions on one day, your Twitter on another, and your Pinterest on a third. The more you’re able to spread it out the better. This is a great launch strategy, but it’s a wonderful anytime strategy as well for boosting an existing book with poor sales.

Feeding The Hand That Bites You

When it comes down to it, Amazon owes you no favors. Just because you’re not making as much money on the platform as you once were doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with the system. Amazon is a multinational corporation and it’s primarily concerned with profit. But it’s a very strong company, and it helps to establish many self-published authors as well.

It may not be perfect, but it’s probably the best way for you to make money selling your books online. Apply the above strategies and you’ll see your efforts rewarded.

  • Keywords aren’t effective any more

    • Many successful authors I know disagree. I’m not sold either way though.

  • LorraineDevonWilke

    Some good info here, but I do take exception with one of the items: pumping out a new book every 90 days is literary lunacy. There is already such a glut of books out there—of varying degrees of quality—it seems counterproductive to use “constant product” as a tool for upping sales.

    The goal should be taking the necessary time to write, rewrite, fine-tune, polish, edit, design, and professionally produce an exceptional book. That does NOT happen in 90 days. To push the idea of flooding the marketplace is not one I would either implement or recommend.

    The other points? Yes, worth some thought. 🙂

    • I agree with you, Lorraine! 😉

    • Mitch Johnson

      Hear hear!

    • Adex Corp

      The author is referring to the “active” period of the book where sales are the highest. He is alluding to the fact that if you write a book every ninety days you potentially can avoid the dip in sales with the launch of a new book so you can stay in that window of above average sales.

    • Clyde McDade

      You hit the nail on the head Lorraine. If I pumped out a book every 90 days I doubt the quality would be there and I’m a pretty good writer. Quality usually beats quantity. Thanks again.

    • Mary G. Horne

      are you Sure!

  • L O’Bryan

    One thing not addressed is the reason for the 90 day cliff. It is certainly possible that authors confine their promotional activity to the first 90 days, replicating what traditional publishers have always done.

    As long term promotions are now available online, BooksGoSocial & BookBub are just two options, authors have proven marketing services in 2015, which were never available before. Other things missing from the post include the impact of reviews, general pricing strategies for ebooks, the impact of great covers and the role of well crafted book descriptions on Amazon.

    • “the role of well crafted book descriptions on Amazon.”
      I agree, but am also wondering about well crafted BOOKS. I hate to say this as it could create some enemies, but there are a lot of people out there who publish their book before it is ready. I have had several people come to my writer’s group that had their book out there so they wanted to hear nothing about editing, questions about plot, typos or even misspellings. The book was out & that was all there was to it.
      The crazy thing is that it is much, much easier today to make corrections, esp, since most books are POD. Another crazy thing was I asked one guy if his book was POD and he said he didn’t know what that meant. When I asked how many books were printed, he said “Just this one.” The guy was so green, he didn’t even know his book was a POD! I don’t claim to know everything about my book and the publishing process but the people I worked with (editor, cover designer, formatter & uploader) all kept insisting I re-read their e-mails & make sure I knew the correct terms & what I needed to do to help sell the book.
      I must admit though, even with my small band of helpers from my Kickstarter campaign, I have found it difficult to get reviews which seems to be the key to getting sales.

      • Mitch Johnson

        How on earth could you write a book and print one copy and not know what POD is?

    • Totally right and some strong points here.

      With their new ranking algorythm amazon decreased the importance of reviews massively as the overall sales per day play the absolute key role now.

      To put it straight:
      40 sales a day = 40 points (Day 1)
      36 sales next day = 36 points + 20 points (half of day before) (Day 2)
      Sum up = get ranked higher

      Hope this helps.

      You can find more resources for self publishers on our Homepage: http://be-to-ce.com

  • Kathy Collins USA

    I have to agree, the use of perma-free has been widely used now and it brings a lot of leads on other books in the series. Who does not love freebies?

    In spreading out the word about your promotions, there are tons of free websites out there. I have gathered a comprehensive list of sites that indie authors can use at no cost.
    160 Websites to Promote your Kindle Book for Free with Bonus 50 Facebook Groups and Pages Copies

  • Franki Kidd

    I hope the 90 day cliff is still in effect, because some
    books that are not very good are crushing it with keywords. I think keywords still work. I hope they
    do. Today I bought Kindle Samurai, and
    it’s giving me fits! So far that product
    is not for me. One option I have never
    tried is permafree, hope to try it in 2016.
    Regarding turning around books in 90 days – it’s doable in the new
    publishing universe to turn out a high quality book – slow writing does not
    guarantee high quality. It can be done a
    few times without experiencing burn out.

  • Ademcan Vaner

    The last four sound good. I am not sure about the free thing, though I have heard some authors speak highly of it.

    The first piece of advice is HORRIBLE. A new novel every 90 days? That is absolutely berserk. My novel, The Journey of Jeffery, which was over 104 000 words before being cut down during editing, took three months alone to professionally edit. Also, when you have material coming out so frequently, it will bomb its predecessor. Your novel needs to take its time to get noticed. For instance, The Great Gatsby never got famous until 12 years after it was published. I recommend one novel a year; as the saying goes: Quality over quantity.

  • Bidzina Savaneli


    Bidzina Savanelli, 2016, Creative Transformation of

    Synergy and Homeostasis of the Nature in the Peaceful Development of Humankind.

    Category: Physics, Human, Society, pages 343, in English, Rome, Italy.

    Main themes: spiral motion of space; timelessness of space and temporality of time; pure energy constancy, inconstancy and entropy of matter; order and disorder; “We Are Taught to Join the Universal Order of Orders.” Shota Rustaveli (XII c.); mathematical basics of normative order; male’s genetics, terrorism and bioethics; harmonization of natural and human sciences from the standpoint of “Quantum Cognition”; applicability of synergetic and homeostasis of the natural space to the human society and Statehood; rule of human rights law instead of rule of law and prevention of environmental disorders.

    Bidzina Savanelli, PhD., DR., Member of International Scientific Council of Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research, Scientific Coordinator and Editor in Chief of Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. Rome, Italy. “Bidzina Savaneli is recognized as an authority of the Philosophy of Law and founder of International Human Rights Education in Georgia. He was published the first Manual in the History of Georgia: Universal Human Rights Law.” Update, New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, March, 2003, p. 14. “Universal Impact Factor. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 2030-2117. Bidzina Savanelli. Universal Impact Factor 0.28210 for Year 2013. We Congratulate Your Extraordinary Achievement. Review Team. Universal Impact Factor”. bidzina.savaneli@yahoo.com

    P. S. Those wishing to purchase the book may appeal to me: bidzina.savaneli@yahoo.com or gurji.savaneli23@gmail.com

  • Bidzina Savaneli


    Abstract 8

    Preface 9

    Chapter I Principal Propositions 11

    Chapter II Synergistic and Homeostatic Transformations of

    Energy in the Natural Space 37

    Chapter III Mathematical Foundations of Applicability of

    Synergy and Homeostasis to Normative Systems 67

    Chapter IV Natural Normative Order and Comparison of

    Aggression of Nonhuman and Human Animals 129

    Chapter V Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to the

    Transformations in Civil Society from the

    standpoint of “Quantum Cognition” 157

    Chapter VI Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to

    Normative Transformations in the Legal Order 197

    Chapter VII Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to the

    Statehood 248

    Chapter VIII Rustaveli on Just Law and the Rule of Human

    Rights Law instead of Rule of Law 276

    Chapter IX Applicability of Synergy to the Providing

    Homeostasis of the Environment 334

    Reviews 385

    Bibliography 390

    Index 411

    Contents in Detail

    Abstract … viii

    Preface … ix

    Chapter I

    Principal Propositions

    Introduction … 12

    1. The Three Dimensions of Space … 15

    2. The Correlation between the Natural and

    Human Sciences … 18

    3. The Correlation between the Social Sciences and Legal Science … 20

    4. The Correlation between the Legal Order and Positive Law … 22

    5. The Crossroads of Public Legal Order and

    Private Legal Order … 27

    6. Synergistic Interaction and Dialectical

    Transformation of Legal Order and

    Positive Law … 31

    7. Conclusion … 34

    Chapter II

    Synergistic and Homeostatic Transformations of Energy in the Natural Space

    Introduction … 38

    1. The Concept of Space and Time … 40

    2. The Relationship between Space and Energy … 45

    3. There Can Be Time “Dead” … 52

    4. Energy and Entropy … 57

    Chapter III

    Mathematical Foundations of Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to Normative Systems

    Introduction … 68

    1. Mathematical and Legal Formulas as

    Pure Judgments … 70

    2. Introduction to Bertrand Russell’s Mathematical Philosophy and Legal Morm … 73

    3. Mathematics and Normative Logic … 123

    Chapter IV

    Natural Normative Order and Comparison of Aggression of Nonhuman and Human Animals

    Introduction … 130

    1. Aggression between Members of the Species … 134

    2. Warfare and Terrorism … 138

    3. Human’s Place in the Natural Order and the Aggressiveness of the Political Leaders … 147

    Chapter V

    Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to the Normative Transformations in Civil Society from the standpoint of “Quantum Cognition”

    Introduction … 158

    1. Natural and Artificial Normative Orders in the Civil Society … 167

    2. Synergistic Cooperation between Natural and Artificial Orders in the Society … 174

    3. How to Prevent Abuse of Power … 181

    4. Homeostasis of Society in Connection with Synergy of Legal Order and Positive Law … 193

    Chapter VI

    Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to Normative Transformations in the Legal Order

    Introduction … 200

    1. Normative Power of Language and

    Normative Facts … 205

    2. The Normative Facts in the Light of the Concept of Synergism and Homeostasis … 219

    3. Synergetic Interaction of Legal Order and Positive Law … 226

    4. Dialectical and Mutual Transformation of

    Legal Order and Positive Law … 239

    Chapter VII

    Applicability of Synergy and Homeostasis to the Statehood


    1. How To Harmonize Synergistic Collaboration between Humans and the Government … 250

    2. Rule of Human Rights Law instead of Rule of State Law … 253

    3. The Applicability of Synergism to the

    Legal System … 264

    Chapter VIII

    Rustaveli on Just Law and the Universal

    Humam Rights Law instead of Rule of Law

    1. Review of Western Concepts on Justice … 277

    2. Controversial and Abnormal Plurality of

    Definitions of Justice … 283

    3. The State as a Servant of Citizens … 291

    4. International Law and Fight for Rule of Law … 298

    5. Shota Rustaveli on Just Law and Universal

    Human Rights Law … 312

    Chapter IX

    Appicability of Synergy to the Providing Homeostasis of the Environment

    Introduction … 335

    1. The Inefficiency of Electricity and

    Prospects of the Daylight Energy … 339

    2. Inorganic Garbage and “Greening” of the

    Mode of Human Life …341

    3. St. Fransisco D’ Assisi and Teachings of Lynn Jr. White and Peter Singer … 349

    4. The Important Legal and Ethical Aspects of Ecology … 366

    5. Five Ways to Overcoming Ecological Crisis … 381

    Reviews … 385

    Bibliography … 390

    Index … 411

  • Bidzina Savaneli

    Bidzina Savanelli, 2016, Creative Transformation of Synergy and Homeostasis of the Nature in the Peaceful Development of Humankind. Category: Physics, Human, Society, pages 343, in English, Rome, Italy.

  • Carlos Garzona

    You may also hire a professional designer for your book like http://www.viladesign.net to make your book more appealing at first sight.

  • Adex Corp

    True true. I read this book by AJ Subul called “are you socially awkward?” ….the book doesn’t have much sales but it’s very good though. How come amazon won’t take that into account?

  • sebastiandunbar

    As an ebook writer myself and an actual writer not a copy paster or an outsource scamphleteer, most of my books (under pen names) are ones that have taken me many months, and a few that took years to write, edit, rewrite before uploading them onto Amazon/Kindle. I have had a few sales and no matter how much marketing or free promos I have done, I’m one of the 99%ers that make only a few dollars a month. These huge sales and grand claims about selling thousands are complete and utter bullshit. Most of these guys claim to sell thousands but they all have one thing in common: they’re trying to sell you on an idea and selling as it happens, they’re own marketing schemes.

    If you are writing to make money, don’t because you’ll fail. Write for the passion and don’t ever quit your day job because in the end you and your book are no better than the other ten million writers out there selling on Amazon/Kindle.

  • Get Product Rank

    Keyword, title maybe Listing most of important. Books category, Targeted Customer all are most effective.


    • Mary G. Horne


  • Terry Cordingley

    Don’t forget, readers tend to buy authors first. You’ll need to work on building an audience long before you reach the point of releasing a book. Do you have a following? Authors can build those through blogging, releasing short stories and interacting with readers in their niche through social media.