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Optimizing Your Books to Rank in Amazon

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Ryan Stewart

I build, grow and sell digital agencies. Most recently, WEBRIS, a 7 figure SEO agency.

We sat down with David Chesson of Kindlepreneur and discussed strategies to self publish on Amazon Kindle.

  • Find / ideate book topics to publish on Amazon
  • Get books written (if you’re short on time and not a good writer)
  • Publishing hacks to maximize your visibility on Amazon
  • Marketing strategies to get more downloads and sales of your book
  • Tips to scale this practice and generate real, repeatable income

Let’s get into it!

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When considering publishing a book on Amazon, where you should start?

You should start with keyword research. Amazon is like a search engine as well and in some respects is better than Google.

That’s because people come to Amazon with a specific intent to buy – so they are self qualifying as your customer free of cost.

Is there a specific process to write a book specifically for  Amazon?

Yes, there are.

First, do keyword research before you even start writing.

This will give you an idea that whether people are searching on Amazon for ebooks on the subject you want to cover or not (use Publisher Rocket).

If no one is searching for the kind of book you have in mind that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write it. It’s just that you cannot depend solely on Amazon to market it for you.

In this case, your marketing plan should focus more on other channels like Amazon ads, Facebook, email sequences to your list, etc.

Researching your keywords beforehand will also help you to tweak your content and make it more appealing to the existing market. It may also help you generate new ideas altogether to serve the market demands more effectively.

Back in the day, I was really interested in writing a book on Evernote. Everybody was writing books on it and a lot of people were buying them.

The problem was that I was not a good enough marketer at that time to be able to write an all-encompassing book on Evernote and publish it and rank it on top as well.

So I did my research and I found out that people are searching for terms like “Evernote for students”, “Evernote for Writers”, “Evernote for project managers”, etc.

People were looking for something that fits their demographics so all I had to do was write that book and since it was the only book on that topic I got all those sales.

Second, use that keyword research to tailor your book for that market.

So instead of trying to reach everybody, I targeted the existing market and got good results.

Third, when you publish your book you will have to choose your 7 Kindle keywords.

This is your way of telling Amazon what your book is about. It is like SEO metadata for your book – they’re powerful. A good choice of these keywords will help you rank better.

I wrote a post dedicated to selecting your keywords here: https://kindlepreneur.com/7-kindle-keywords/

How can I write a book if I don’t have the time? Or I’m a bad writer?

There are a couple of platforms out there that I can recommend.

For non-fiction, Scribe Media is a good platform.

How can I monetize my book?

Two ways – first is people buying your book on Amazon.

Second is to use a series of upsells to get people to take action online.

I recommend you check out Ask, by Ryan Levesque just to see how he forms the book to make the bigger sale later.

Every chapter has an opportunity for you to sign up for one thing or another. It is always something different that he offers to attract people with varied interests and that is really a smart move.

If you can understand his template and apply it you can do wonders as far conversions are concerned.

The other thing that I would recommend you do is to develop a free course as a companion course to your book. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income did it beautifully. So studying his formula will help immensely.

What should  we keep in mind when ready to publish on Amazon?

Okay, so when you are at the publishing stage, first of all, you will need to choose the 7 Kindle keywords properly. There’s a lot to that. Amazon will also ask you to put in 50 fifty characters per keyword box.

We did a major study to figure out the best way to fill up those boxes.

The study concluded that you will get indexed for a lot more phrases if you have filled up those boxes.

Think of what your customers type into Amazon and use those words in those boxes as well as in your title and subtitle.

Remember that in books, the cover is the king.

We did a heat map study where we had a whole bunch of people looking at the screen. By tracking their eye movement we created our own Amazon heat map.

When people type in a search term, their eyes first go to the covers and they scroll looking at the covers until they see one that interests them.

Once the cover has caught their eye only then their eyes jolt up to the title and subtitle and then quickly dash down to the reviews and they either click or keep on scrolling and their eyes go right back to the next cover.

The cover of your book truly has to represent the imagery that the person believes in otherwise, it cannot make him stop scrolling.

There are 3 critical factors, based on which a person makes a buying decision on Amazon.

  1. The book cover
  2. The title
  3. The subtitle

To increase your conversion rate your cover, title and subtitle should immediately answer a couple of questions that every shopper has in mind.

The questions are:

  • What is this about?
  • How will I benefit from it?
  • Who is this for?

If your cover, title, and subtitle fail to answer these questions instantly you will not get the click. Amazon’s algorithm notices that and categorizes your book as something it should not show for that keyword.

Should I narrate my book?

Yes, it does. Due to the busy routines of our lives, some people actually prefer an audio version over a paper one.

How can we publish physical books along with the digital ones?

If you publish on Amazon you can easily create a KDP print version of your book. They’re very well priced as well and it is a Print on Demand service. However, if you are looking for a good hardcover book you may want to look at IngramSpark.

Any book marketing or launch tips?

First of all, I think it is really important to have a launch team – a group of people 20 to 30 people who get your book before launch and leave the initial batch of good reviews on Amazon before the actual launch happens.

When you do the actual launch and you send out an email or run an ad and you don’t have a social proof that will affect the sales considerably.

So make sure that you have people in your team who will go there, leave a review and build that trust.

One day before the launch I will usually drop the price to $0.99 and then tell my people that if they want this low price they should buy immediately and leave me a review.

This kind of review is what Amazon considers a verified review and it boosts your visibility and increases conversions.

Then the next day I will launch the book and change the price back to the original price.

Avoid emailing everyone on your list to drive sales. It will just give you a spike once and then a flat line will be the norm and you do not want that.

Divide your list into segments and email them on different days, one after the other, to keep a consistent flow coming to your Amazon page. Then use your social media and other channels to maintain that flow as long as you can.

Consistency is king in Amazon’s eyes.

Once you start to lose momentum then you can run Amazon Ads and get sales through them.

At all costs do not hire people from Fiverr to leave you reviews on Amazon. You should also avoid asking your immediate family and friends for reviews.

Amazon can easily spot both these tactics nowadays and using these tactics will only get you banned from the platform.

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