A special note about “Amazon Bestseller Campaigns”. You may have seen services like this (if you haven’t you may end up getting emails about them as you join various sites and end up on lists). If you are unfamiliar with them, the basic premise is that the consultants claim they can help you get your book ranked as a bestseller on Amazon. Of course, we all want to be bestsellers. Here is a basic summary of how they typically work (different services may vary):
- Either an opt-in list is created or existing ones are used.
- Hype is built up and some type of advertising email is sent out to these individuals offering some type of special deal with a window of an hour or two to purchase the book at that period of time.
- The opt in list is flooded with this and people are directed to your book’s Amazon page where they purchase it.
- After a few hundred people buy it in a short time, the ranking moves up to a top rank, possibly number 1.
Do these work? Yes and no. There are numerous ways to make your Amazon listing more attractive (reviews being a big one), but the way to increase your sales rank is to actually sell. Here is what you need to keep in mind before you sign up for these services (which can cost $1500 or more):
- Amazon calculates sales rankings EVERY HOUR. That means, even if you sell 500 books in an hour, unless you can sustain that kind of sales power (which is not easy if you have not built your popularity in a “natural” way), your rankings will start falling rapidly in less than a day.
- At any given hour, the number of sales you need to reach bestseller (especially number 1) changes and there is no way to know what that number is.
- Rapid falling rankings are a big indicator that you used a technique like this. Most people won’t notice but some savvy people will.
- Your reputation is your single greatest asset as an author. Don’t risk it over a temporary boost of artificial fame.
- The service tends to be expensive and you may not necessarily sell enough copies to gain royalties that will actually cover the cost.
- If the opt in list is not directed at your target market, you could see a whole lot of returns which would be a nightmare and cost you even more money (not to mention garnering a whole lot of negative reviews).
Are there any benefits to this? Of course there are.
- Upping your sales rankings will help your book get paired up with larger selling books.
- Your book has an increased likelihood of making it onto the recommendation emails that Amazon computer generates and sends out.
- If you are marketing savvy, the temporary boost may help you get a large number of sales over the long term.
Of course, you could assemble something like this yourself. If you do the legwork you will save the fee. It is not a sustainable technique, there are only so many “sales flyers” you can send via email before you end up in the Spam folder. The last statistic I saw is that less than 1% of spam emails sent translate into a sale. Of course, 1,000,000 spam emails becomes 10,000 sales with that math and that is exactly what spammers depend on. Again, this is not long term sustainable.
Basically, to sum it up, going the road of a campaign like this is risky business. There is no “magic bullet” for true bestseller status. It takes actual work and dedication to your writing.