How I Became A Kindle Bestselling Author

bestsellerI recently launched two business books in a series on Kindle as an experiment.

I wanted to see if all the Kindle hype was for real.

To my delightful surprise, within just hours they reached #1 and #2 on the Amazon Kindle Bestseller list for the Business>Marketing section.

I was thrilled!

I want to take you through, step-by-step exactly how I achieve this. By the end of this post you should be able to replicate my success because I honestly believe that if I can do it, you can too!

Kindle’s Most Powerful Tool

The first decision that you will have to make in order for this method to be successful is whether or not you’re going to enter your book into the KDP select program.

The downside to submitting your book into the KDP select program is that Amazon requires that you do not publish your work anywhere outside of Kindle for the 90 days that your book is in the Select program.

For some, that might feel limiting but I decided to submit both of my books into the KDP Select program so that I could capitalize on the biggest benefit of the program:

 Free massive exposure for my books.

The KDP Select program allows you to list your books for free on Amazon’s site.

In other words, for a grand total of zero dollars you can have one of the largest websites in the world actively share your book with hundreds of thousands of potential readers.

For the budding writer, this exposure is priceless – if you know how to capitalize on it.

Making Free Work For You

It is important that you don’t just put your book out there for free without some sort of funnel to capture all the value that you’re giving away.

Here is what I did:

Step #1: Set Up An Email Opt-in

I set up a very simple landing page on my website with an e-mail opt in form that gave readers an exclusive free bonus.

I then put a link to that page into both of my books so that when a reader downloaded the book and read it, they would click through to my opt-in page and I would get a new subscriber.

This might seem like an awful lot of work, but it is well worth it!

I was able to secure a 15% opt in rate from the number of downloads that I had of the book itself.

Step #2: Link The Books Together

I made sure to put links to each of my books throughout the body and at the end of the books themselves. If you go to Amazon today and look up my books, you will see under the “Customers Also Bought…” my other book listed #1.

This occurred because I linked them together. But here is why it was such a powerful move:

I initially loaded the two books onto Kindle within two days of each other.

I wanted to use them to propel each other into more sales, so I only let one book be given away for free at a time.

You’re allowed 5 free giveaway days per book for every 90 days that your book is in the Kindle Select program, so what I did is I used three of those five days for each of my books and I interchanged them every other day.

For an entire week I had at least one book being given away for free, driving traffic to my website, building my e-mail list and driving up sales of my other books because they were linked together.

After just a few short days of this, my books had leapfrogged their way into the #1 and #2 position on the Kindle Bestseller list.

How My Books Are Doing Now

Amazon ImageAside from the initial income that these books gave me, being able to say that I’m a best-selling Amazon Kindle writer is a powerful by-line for someone like me.

The only way that I was able to achieve this success was by utilizing the Kindle Select program to give one book away for free to drive traffic to other being sold.

I did also notice that the level of reviews that I received were more optimistic and more grateful than most I had read on other business books on Kindle. I attribute that to the fact that many people who left the reviews were readers who downloaded the book on a free day.

Those reviews continue to help me make sales today.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that I am making hundreds of sales per day and I can now retire. The fact of the matter is, that I only make between 2 to 10 sales per day between the two books now that the initial promotions are over. At 2.99 per book, it doesn’t take much math to see that I still need to show up for work tomorrow!

But, is it worth it?

I am absolutely pleased with the results of this initial test. Both of my books are under 100 pages, they were written using Dragon Naturally Speaking and some decent editing, and they helped to build my list quickly.  I also received several inquiries from potential prospects who read my books and wanted to hire me for copywriting services.

For me, it was definitely worth it.

I encourage you to get out there and try the KDP select program yourself. You might be surprised at how effective it really is.

Mike Shreeve is a copywriter, best-selling author and entrepreneur. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and son and LOVES to connect with fellow writers. He can be found on Twitter @smmykal.

8 Responses to How I Became A Kindle Bestselling Author
  1. Vikk
    June 18, 2013 | 11:57 am

    You’ve made some great points. Glad you’re doing so well.
    Vikk recently posted..Books for writers top my summer reading listMy Profile

  2. Greg
    June 19, 2013 | 9:41 am

    I’ve hesitated on using KDP program because I felt I was giving away a good book without any benefit to me, but I might have been a bit too shortsighted on this. I guess the whole deal is that you can’t sell your book unless someone knows they exist, and the only way to achieve better ranking on Amazon is by selling more. Giving away books will increase your ranking in free books and you’ll also get reviews on your book, which will be a big plus in the long run. I think I get it now why KDP program is such a great tool.

  3. Mike Shreeve
    June 19, 2013 | 11:33 pm

    @Greg – You pretty much summed it up perfectly.

    I would only add the following:

    The key with utilizing the free days with the KDP select program is using it when you have the marketing funnel in place to catch the freebie downloaders.

    In other words, simply giving away the book for free is exactly what you described – “giving away a good book without any benefit to me” – what you should do is either make sure you have other books for sale that have links within the free book so that freebie hunters will be enticed to buy your other books

    OR

    Have a link in your free book pointing back to your blog or website. On that blog or website, create an opt-in page and watch the leads come trickling in.

    Really powerful stuff!

  4. Ruth Martin
    June 21, 2013 | 1:16 pm

    Mike, you do make some great points. It sounds like you have a good head for business strategies. That’s something I struggle with. Math and business is not something that comes easily for me. Sometimes I think I’d be doing much better online if I had someone else running my business :) At least, I am still learning as I go, and getting ideas from people like you. I have an eBook I give away for free – then I have a few links inside it to direct people to where I want them to go next :)
    Ruth Martin recently posted..How to Choose the Right Templates for Your Web DesignMy Profile

  5. Mike Shreeve
    June 22, 2013 | 1:11 am

    Hi Ruth – thanks for your comment.

    The key is just to make sure that what you are giving away for free you are giving away for a very specific reason.

    For example:

    When I gave away my copywriting book, the reason wasn’t “to get more exposure” it was “to get people to click on a link to take them to my video marketing book”.

    The more specific the reason for WHY you are giving it away for free, the better!

  6. Sandra Beckwith
    June 28, 2013 | 10:18 am

    Great article, Mike — thanks so much for sharing the details. I’m going to share this w/the authors I work with and my social networks. You’re a great role model!

    Sandra Beckwith
    Sandra Beckwith recently posted..Information products for writersMy Profile

  7. James W. Lewis
    July 2, 2013 | 10:02 pm

    Great blog. I used KDP Select for several short works and had some success, but I eventually decided wide distribution is best for me, so I won’t use it again anytime soon. I also have multiple works out, and I believe the more works an author has in “rotation”, the higher the chances of book sales. BookBub is especially effective at accumulating sales, too. I do believe a new author with only one book may want to seriously consider KDP Select, though.

  8. Wirral Writer
    July 15, 2013 | 6:08 am

    Congratulations. As a Kindle author myself – I write the True Ghost Stories series and horror stories – I am forever seeking new ways to try and accrue more sales. It’s not easy, but you have to keep experimenting until you discover what works and what doesn’t.