Kindle Rank: Unknown to top 1K in 8 Weeks

Not saying that’s unusual or stellar. I actually don’t know what average is. For those of you who are not writers, and/or not especially into the indie scene, this may not be of much interest, for which I apologize in advance. When you’re preparing your first book to go out into the world, and just after it goes out there, there are so many questions that go through your mind.

  • Are people going to like my book?
  • How am I going to get people to read my book?
  • Am I doing well compared to everyone else?

While I won’t say that I have the answers to these, I do believe it’s about time for me to put my experience out here alongside so many other indies who share their results so that we can all get a better idea of things that work and how to gauge our own success.

Hush Money went live on Amazon on Thursday,Β  August 5, 2010. That puts its 8-week birthday on Thursday, September 30. I am frankly thrilled at how it’s done, and yet, “satisfied” is not a word I can use. Because I’d love to see it do even better.

At the time I’m composing this post, Hush Money is holding around 1000 in the Kindle store. It had been holding firmly around the 2K mark, with fairly consistent daily sales (which I don’t think I’m allowed to actually tell you under the new Kindle rules). It then started a slow climb toward 1K, also climbing the Kindle store category charts that it had been on and off since its first week of release. It’s been on page 2 of its category charts for a few days now, with a significant increase in sales.

It did break into the top 1000 on September 28th, and its highest rank has been 699.

Since I think this is pretty good, I want to share with you some things I’ve done that I think have worked in my favor–beyond writing a decent book. Partly because I consider myself a lousy self-promoter, and marketing was something I was very worried about. I’m going to go into more detail about these things in later posts, so as not to overwhelm, but for now, here they are, in no particular order:

  • Good, genre-appropriate cover art– I think my cover works for me in a lot of ways
  • Website– that’s easy to read, all my info and links in one place, updated content
  • Goodreads– Goodreads was originally described to me as “Facebook for book people.” Hush Money has been added by over 200 members. I’ve absolutely no doubt that exposure there has helped me.
  • Giveaways– I gave away a lot of books, especially in the first few weeks the book was out.
  • Reviews– I got a fair number of reviews on Amazon right away, and also on Goodreads. This gave me something to show both potential readers and book bloggers I approached later, which I think is especially important for an unknown indie.
  • Good friends– This was really important in that first week, especially, because I went out of town the day after Hush Money went live and was offline for a week. I’m sure that Kait Nolan, who is effective at blogging and tweeting, pimped me out in both places.
  • Pricing– Despite the fact that so many people are saying that $2.99 is the new $0.99, and the temptation to make decent money already, I’ve reason to believe that raising the price would do me more harm than good at this point.
  • Cross-Promotion– At the back of my ebooks are excerpts from the ebooks of a few other indie authors in my genre, and I am in the back of theirs. I also have a line at the end of my product description on Amazon, recommending other indie authors, and some of those authors have returned the favor for me.
  • Blogging, Twitter, and other social media– I’m not very good at social media, I don’t have a large following on any platform, and lots of days go by where I can think of little to say. I generally feel like I don’t get much out of it in terms of sales for the time I put into it. But I do get some, and when others allow me access to their networks, it makes all the difference. No matter how fish out of water you feel at it, no matter how much you think it’s all a waste of time, I don’t think blowing it off entirely is a best practice.

Coming up this week, I’ll be trying to cobble together some posts that get into these things more specifically, for those who want to know.

P.S. If you think this might be helpful info for your indie friends, please feel free to hit that tweet button. Thanks!


Filed under goals, Hush Money, Increasing Kindle Rank, self-publishing, Talent Chronicles, tips, writing

18 responses to “Kindle Rank: Unknown to top 1K in 8 Weeks

  1. Lauralynn Elliott

    It took me about 3 months to hit 454 in the Kindle store with Club Blood. I stayed under 1000 for quite awhile. Right now, it’s doing terrible. My other novella is now doing better than that one. Go figure.

    I honestly believe that what helped me the most was being visible on Zoe Winters’ blog. And then Amazon’s “customers who bought this also bought”, which I think was also started by being on Zoe’s blog. People who bought her books bought mine. And people who have bought mine have also bought yours and Kait’s.

    I’m sort of feeling the same way you are about the book pricing right now. I tried to sell the novels for $1.99 and they weren’t doing anything. But when I lowered them to $ .99 like the novellas were, the sales jumped at once. I know that the sales may be to people who are just looking for a bargain, but sales are sales. I’m making more money selling more at $ .99 than selling less at $1.99. And I’ve always felt good about selling them at $ .99 so that the people who can’t afford to buy a lot of books can afford to buy mine. I’ve been there and I understand. There are a lot of things I would love to buy and I KNOW they are worth the price, but I can’t personally afford them. So I want to help other people who are in that situation.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Lauralynn. Blog-hopping is something I don’t do well. More often than not, I feel like I’ve got nothing to add that hasn’t been said already and don’t leave a comment. Not helping visibility. But I think you’re absolutely right. I think Zoe’s gotten a lot of visibility from all her comments on Joe Konrath’s blog, for example. When I was considering getting back into writing/self-publishing, I just kept seeing her popping up, and really started to see her as an indie figure, of sorts. So definitely a good strategy for getting noticed at first.

      Right now there are a lot of indies supporting other indies. There are a lot of people who are curious, perhaps hopeful that they’ll find they write just as well as an indie author who is doing well, so that they’ll be motivated to try it themselves, etc. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen to the market when the indie thing more old hat. Even though there are still people who claim they won’t read us because we’re indies, I’m also pretty sure we get sales just because we are.

      There’s a LOT of pressure right now to raise prices. For those who are ok with keeping them low while they build a base, I think there are a lot of good reasons for doing so, and I’m definitely going to be talking about this week.

  2. Stacey Wallace Benefiel

    Thanks for the information, Susan! I’m definitely going to be giving away a lot more e copies of Glimmer than I did Glimpse and now I know the right bloggers to send them to. Reviews were definitely the place where I need to do things differently this time. Also, I probably should’ve made it .99, but there’s no going back now. πŸ™‚ Everything else you mentioned I did too, so I figure that giveaways and reviews are what I need to concentrate on.

  3. Kait Nolan

    Considering the blood, sweat, swearing, and possibly tears you’ve put into ME as a crit partner over the years, pimpage for a book I really believe in isn’t a hardship. πŸ˜€

    I think one of the best things you did was giving away review copies via Goodreads. I, of course, gave them away too, but it took a while as the blog and Twitter was my vehicle, so there wasn’t the exposure. Doing a Goodreads event that several of us passed on to our groups ensured that you were able to get a lot more of them out in a short span of time.

  4. Great post. I’m working towards my first release and fret over the marketing. Thanks for the clue in. It gives me a place to start when the time comes.

    • Thanks. Good luck with your release, Reena. I’m happy to pass out a clues on the rare occasions when I have them. My email addy is on my about page if you need to use it as you go forward.

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  8. Thanks for this, Susan…I’m spending this whole month researching and learning about marketing (my own efforts have been hobbled by a severe lack of time this fall), and I’m eagerly taking notes here. Just read your post on Goodreads, and I’ll definitely be scheduling giveaways starting in November.

    I’m looking forward to your next post – and congrats on doing so well so soon! πŸ™‚

  9. Pingback: One Author’s Rise from Unknown to 1K in Weeks | Self-Published Author's Lounge

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