How to Write an Amazon Bestseller

At the time of writing, my first e book is sitting at #8 in Amazon Coupons its category, with 7 x 5* critiques (I took a screenshot to show it). I’m pleased! I never imagined it would get ranked in any respect!

Amazon sales rank is a mysterious factor. I oversimplify, however it appears to be based totally at the number of sales in step with hour, with a weighting to regulate for long-time period bestsellers inclusive of Harry Potter.

OK, so I don’t know what number of other books are within the ‘sales and advertising’ category, or how long it’s going to live within the pinnacle 10 (it’s dipped inside and outside at least three times to date, to my information – not that I’m monitoring it ceaselessly!). And, to be truthful, I do not yet realize if that represents sales of 2,000 books, 20 books or 2 books! My printer, Lulu, prints books on call for (minimal quantity 1), and is because of ship ‘author revenues’ into my PayPal account after 6 to eight weeks.

That stated, I suppose it’s still an outstanding fulfillment. In fact, it’s miles an underestimate, as I also sell copies direct, so they may be now not counted in the Amazon ranking.

‘The Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing’ is my first task into publishing – it’s a compilation of the guidelines and testimonies which have been issued in my newsletter over current years. The ebook turned into to be had from June 2010, however humans simplest started buying it while it ‘went stay’ on Amazon in October. It’s as though it suddenly became actual as soon because it become to be had on Amazon.

So right here’s how I did it.

Let’s anticipate you have already got a great concept, a title, a goal market, a few writing skill and someone to design your book for you. Although the content took me approximately two years to complete – fitting it round everything else that I do – I found that was the clean bit!

Getting testimonials

When selling whatever, what different humans say is extra convincing than some thing you assert your self, so I knew my e-book wanted testimonials to be published inside and on the again cowl. I sent PDF copies to volunteers, but determined less than half of of them genuinely contributed their comments (optimistically because of loss of time no longer because they did not have whatever pleasant to mention!). Of course, it is hard to ‘chase’ humans when they are not being paid, so it caused another postpone in the manner. Eventually, I amassed a few lovable critiques and become prepared to visit print at remaining.

The subsequent stage was a huge learning technique, with some of key selection factors alongside the way.

Traditional publishing or self-publishing

First, you want to decide whether or not to discover a writer/agent or to self-put up.

If you need to find a conventional publisher/agent who will appearance after the whole thing for you (and take a percent), your first-class bet is the contemporary reproduction of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (to be had in all desirable bookshops) and there are lots of other assets on-line.

If you want help along with your content, there are some of e book coaches/midwives, unbiased book publishers and short-run printers/publishers so as to choose, for a fee (e mail me for a list of guidelines).

Despite warnings everywhere in the Internet about their deteriorating customer service, I selected to self-publish through Lulu.Com. I additionally discovered an electronic mail address for someone there who was rather useful (although there has been usually a postpone replacing messages between the UK and US time-zones).

If you do the same as me, then you definately want to determine whether to self-post or allow Lulu be your writer. Being a chunk of a manage freak, I decided to grow to be a publisher as well as an author.

Buying ISBN numbers (or now not)

To do this, you have to buy a block of ISBN prefixes from Nielsen BookData (minimum amount is 10 which currently price 111.86GBP inc. VAT). You have to download, print and fill in a four-page form, however it is no longer tough (besides you have to training session the which means of unexpected phrases like ‘name verso web page’ – it’s the inner page that backs on to the title web page and includes the publisher name, copyright and ISBN info).

Search “nielsen isbn” for the whole thing you need to understand.

Be warned, it takes some time for your ISBNs to be issued, so that you can’t rush this a part of the system. Also be aware that, as a publisher, you are also obliged to ship a replica of the printed e-book to Nielsen and the British Library Legal Deposit Office within one month (they ship you the commands together with the ISBN records). If/while you make modifications, you have to publish some other version of your ebook with a brand new ISBN, so make sure the entirety is best before you approve the final proof.

Top tip: If you also are producing an eBook version, it wishes its own ISBN. When putting your pricing, be conscious that revealed books don’t appeal to VAT, however eBooks do.

If you don’t want to go through all this, simply allow Lulu be your writer, and get your ISBN unfastened.

Designing the cover

Next selection: Are you doing your personal cover layout or using Lulu’s cowl layout wizard? Happily, I have access to a talented picture fashion designer who worked with me by myself lovable e book cover. Lulu routinely produces the barcode for your ISBN, which you then download to encompass on the back – it has to go inside the bottom right hand nook with a ‘quiet area’ around it. Between us, we designed the cover of my e-book (the use of copyright-free pictures of route), and uploaded the print-nice artwork to Lulu.

To do a one-piece (wraparound) cover yourself, you need to download Lulu’s front and back ‘cover photograph templates’ to your e book length, and overlay them on the left and right sides of your layout. Adjust your web page size and margins to match. Use Lulu’s ‘Spine Width Calculator’ tool and upload that measurement within the center.

More information is in Lulu’s “Book Covers FAQ”.

Designing the interior pages

Compared with that, managing the inner pages changed into fantastically smooth – they have been already designed and stored in PDF format (single pages, now not spreads). I just needed to make sure the identify web page and title verso web page had been protected at the the front (which modified all my web page numbers) and add the report. If you don’t have get admission to to layout skills, you may add Word documents as an alternative, for Lulu to transform into PDF. Then you need to order a ‘proof’ of the e book and ‘approve’ it whilst it’s far sooner or later perfect (I did this several times, and bought the proof copies at a discount).

Top tip: Authors pay a piece less whilst ordering their personal books, and Lulu has monthly unique gives that can be really worth expecting.

Getting onto Amazon

My subsequent selection became clean – I wanted the e-book on Amazon, so I paid Lulu about 50GBP for Global Reach Distribution. (If you select Lulu as your writer, you get unfastened Extended Reach Distribution as a substitute.)

Here, I hit a snag. I’d at the start designed my book at A5 length, with adorable white paper, but it turns out you could simplest have a few sizes for distribution, and A5 is not certainly one of them. I needed to alternate the paintings to suit US alternate size – I simply delivered bigger margins and re-uploaded it. Trouble is, I couldn’t have that size on white paper, best cream.

I discovered that Lulu’s clarification of sizes isn’t very consistent. In a few places they confer with the call of the size, in others they quote inches, and in others, centimetres.

For further facts, seek Lulu Help for ‘Which books are eligible for distribution’ and ‘What paper will my ebook have for the cover and interior?’ The facts you want is scattered all through their on line Help, so please e mail me for my on hand precis of sizes and paper colorations which can be eligible for Lulu’s Global Reach distribution.

Once all the size, paper and distribution is taken care of out, it takes 6-eight weeks to your book to appear on Amazon. I discovered that nearly improbable on this Internet age! And then, I located it additionally takes some time for ‘Look internal’ to be activated, even after you’ve uploaded some other PDF of your entire e-book to Amazon. But in the end, my ebook turned into on line and the sales abruptly started out rolling in.

Top tip: Other dealers may additionally provide your e book as ‘used’ or ‘as new’ at a discount. If it would not cut your margin too much, you could set your self up as a reduction dealer too, to compete with those sales.