How to make your business book a #1 Amazon bestseller

Of course, you’ve got to write a business book and publish it first, and that’s a whole other article!

But once you have a book, how do you make sure it hits the goal of many authors, to become a #1 Amazon bestseller?

Last weekend, my new book, How to market a book, made #1 on in the Writing Skill Reference category and also charted in the Small Business and Entrepreneurship category. In this article, I’ll explain how you can do this with your book too.


1. Write a book your target audience wants

Understanding your target market is critical for any business. It is the fundamental principle behind what you create, who you talk to, what you sell and how you market. It’s the same for your book, except that you want to get even more specific with your niche topic. There’s no point in building up your business and then writing a book on something that doesn’t suit them. For example, Women Unlimited is known for helping small business owners become more successful, so if Julie Hall suddenly came out with a book on pet care, you would be rightly confused and also wouldn’t buy the book. However, if she published a book on small business/micro-entrepreneurship, that would be a different story …

My own site, The Creative Penn, focuses on writing, publishing and book marketing. I also write thrillers, but I keep those under my J.F.Penn brand and a different site. I’ve been creating multimedia products for a long time but after 5 years of learning about marketing, I finally wrapped everything I know into a book that I knew my audience would buy.

ACTION POINT: Identify your target market. What kind of book are they desperate for? (that you can also provide)

2. Build an email list

You need to be able to tell people that your book is available and then drive them to the book sales page, preferably to purchase in a short period of time. The best way to do this is to build an email list over time, with opt-in capability and then use email marketing to get to know your audience. The Amazon charts are calculated every hour and the volume of sales within a time period will make a difference to the sales chart. However, there is evidence that books that don’t maintain a chart position with ongoing sales will drop just as fast as they rise.

So, for ongoing sales, you want to get one big spike and then follow it up with smaller spikes e.g. send an email to your list on day 1, go social media nuts the next day, post it to your blog the next, and then follow up with guest posts (like I’m doing here!) These ongoing sales will help the algorithms with the other aspects like Also-Boughts, Popularity rankings, Movers & Shakers and more.

ACTION POINT: Do you have an email list gathering mechanism in place? What can you offer for free to get people to sign up and grow that list?

3. Choose the right categories

Picking the right category to load your book in is critical because ideally you want fewer books as competition, especially amongst the big name authors. When you self-publish on Amazon through KDP you can choose two categories, so be sure they are relevant to your book but also that you research the number of books in that niche. I picked Entrepreneurship and Small Business and didn’t quite top James Altucher in that list, making it to #2 but I was able to make #1 in a sub-niche of Writing, giving the book that all-important yellow star.

ACTION POINT: Spend some time researching the various categories on Amazon and choosing the ones where your book would fit as well as which you could rank in.

4. Build social karma before you launch

Women Unlimited is a fantastic community for networking, and in my experience, it has been personal relationships that have led to many of my own business opportunities. When you’re planning a launch, it’s time to ask for help from your contacts, but you can only do that if you have built up that social karma, or social capital, long before you need reciprocity. Helping others first and promoting other people’s books, products and sites will mean that they are more likely to help you in the future. I also call this ‘co-opetition’, cooperating with your perceived competition so that both parties benefit. When there is a congruence of interests, cooperating together can create greater value than acting alone.

ACTION POINT:  Identify the people in your network who you could help in some form of ‘co-opetition’. Start reading their blog. Tweet them. Start the relationship by being generous.

And on that note, thanks to Julie for letting me post here, and good luck with your own business book launch!


TheCreativePenn_CourseButtons12 You can buy Joanna’s book How to market a book on Amazon here, and if you want more marketing information every month, you can join the Premium audio course here.

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