A Little Warning & Apology

Okay, this post is going against my usual humble style and I’ll just preface all this braggy-sounding content by letting you know that all these amazing rankings were only in the Amazon Kindle Free Store (as opposed to the Paid Store) and so don’t quite count as much. Plus, I know the number of books I ended up giving away are pretty much what many authors sell every day even without big promo pushes and I should be embarrassed by them, not shouting them to the world. But still, last week was an exciting time compared to anything I’ve achieved so far with my books!

Annnnnyway…..as you may know, last Wednesday was the official Release Day for The Bonds of Osteria, the fourth book in my Osteria Chronicles series. After all the recent studying I’ve been doing regarding book marketing, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to put some of my book learnin’ into action.

My Goals for This Launch & Promo Push

Okay, you might think sales of the newest book would have been the main goal for a book launch. Sure, I might have been dreaming of selling 1000s of copies of that book on Day One, but I’m too firmly rooted in my cynical reality to fall too far into that dream.

My main goals were…

  • To get exposure for the series by getting Book One into the hands of as many people as possible
  • Hoping those freebies spilled over into purchases of the other books in the series
  • Boosting my rankings on Amazon in the hopes of making the Amazon algorithms “notice” me
  • Getting my own books into my Also Boughts on my books’ Amazon pages (since this is another key that helps get those durn Amazon algorithms to notice you)
  • To eventually entice some of those freebie grabbers onto my mailing list.

As I said I’ve been doing A LOT of studying regarding how to make this happen (and why I should) and a couple of the best resources were David Gaughran’s Amazon Decoded (which you can get for free here) and the latest edition of Let’s Get Digital. So let me just give a big THANKS to Mr. Gaughran!!!

Doing My Ads Workout

One of the basic principles I learned is that to get the Amazon bots to pay attention to you, you want to have a steady increase in “sales” over a four or five day period. To do this, you can cross your fingers and hope, but I opted to schedule some ads and spread them out over a five-day period during which I would have Book One on Amazon for free. This required a lot of planning to avoid having a huge sales day followed by a crappy sales day, which meant scheduling ads with a bunch of smaller sites and then going for a couple biggies toward the end.

Here’s what my ad plan looked like (these were all for Book One)…

  • Day 1 (free) – Mailing list announcement, AskDavid (which actually runs over all five days), Ignite Your Book, and Reading Deals. If I had a bigger mailing list I would have saved it for Day 2, but since my list is still puny… I also tried for an Awesome Gang promo but didn’t make the cut.
  • Day 2 (free) – BKnights on Fiverr (I’ve never used Fiverr before, but this one came highly recommended) and lots of social media begging
  • Day 3 (free) – Blog Announcement and Book Bub Ads (NOT Book Bub Featured Deal, for those of you who know the difference)
  • Day 4 (free) – Book Barbarian Free Book of the Day
  • Day 5 (free) – E-Reader News Today
  • Day 6 (99c) – Bargain Booksy
  • Day 7 (99c) – The Fussy Librarian

During this time, I also ran a Kindle Countdown deal of 99c on Books Two and Three, and I had Book Four at its launch price of 99c, but didn’t run ads on any of these titles.

So, how’d all this scheming play out? Well…..

Creeping Up the Ranks

Due to that cynicism, I honestly didn’t have to high of hopes of this scheme actually working. I’m going to embarrass myself by admitting that my books were lingering in the doldrums with an overall Amazon ranking in the 300,000s (meaning 300,000+ other books were selling better than mine). I hoped to get Book One up to maybe 1000, but would have settled for ANY increase.

By Day 2 Book One had already hit #818. Yes, there was a lot of “OMG! OMG! OMG!” going on in this house that morning. Due to a flub in the marketing plan, I dipped down to #1206 on Day 3, but soared up to #124 on Day 4. Dare I hope for more? I mean I had already exceeded my expectations. Ah, let’s hope to crack the Top 100.

And look what happened late in the day on Day 4…

Sneaking into the Top 100 (just barely)!!!

Holy Donkeys! I’m Number One (and Two, and Three, and Six)

This charging up the charts had me curious where my book was ranking in the multitude of categories I have the e-book in on the Kindle Store (I can cover the hows and whys of categories in a later post if anyone is interested).

This checkup didn’t have me squealing “OMG!” Nope, i went into full-on “Holy shit!” mode.

Overall, The Trials of Hercules ended up snagging the #1 spot in Historical Fiction Fantasy, Greek & Roman Myths & Legends Fantasy, Action Adventure Fantasy, and Fantasy Dragons & Mythical Creatures. I also worked my way into the #2 spot for Fantasy Romance, Mythology, and thee other categories. Besides the #1s, the biggest “Squeeeee!” moment was to see old Herc making it all the to #4 and #6 in the broader (read: more competitive) Historical Fantasy Fantasy Fiction categories, respectively.

Holy donkeys, indeed!

Nailing the Also Boughts and Other Goals

Because that hoped-for spill over effect was actually coming to fruition, shoppers were snatching up copies of Books Two & Three & Four. This meant my Also Boughts on the books’ Amazon pages were finally filling in with the other books from the series. I haven’t seen a huge spike in sign ups for my mailing list, but there have been a few trickling in.

Lessons Learned

Unfortunately, although I am thankfully still ranking okay in the Amazon store, those rankings are slipping which probably means I didn’t quite get the perfect combination to keep the Amazon bots paying attention to me.

As for the ads, I was a little disappointed in the results with Bargain Booksy. I know many people have great success with them, but I’d be hesitant to fork out my cash to them again.

I also totally flopped on my BookBub ad which was frustrating because I’d been doing okay with BookBub ads in March and April and had been counting on that freebie BookBub Ad to boost my Day Three numbers. Instead, the flop lowered my rankings on Day Three. So, over the next month, I’ll be doing plenty of testing to hone those BookBub ads.

Besides being pleased with the results of the other ads, I was astounded by all the support I got from my followers on Twitter. Seriously, of all the happy surprises I got last week, the retweets and mentions from my fellow Tweeps was one of the best!

If you’re interested in the overall numbers of sales and giveaways, I’ll share those if anyone asks to see them, but until then I’ll not embarrass myself with those stats.

Moving Forward

I’ll be covering this more over the next few weeks, but after this big boost I’m now left wondering how to move forward. This includes scratching my head over what to write, whether to stay in KDPSelect, and how to plan my ads and promos in the future. But this post is long enough, so I better start wrapping it up.

One Final Sales Pitch Before We Go

Because I’ve been a bit lazy about resetting my prices, you can still get The Bonds of Osteria for only 99c, but I’m making a note to change the price to $3.99 Friday, so be sure to grab your copy today. And, if you haven’t tried out the series yet, you can jump into the captivating world of Osteria with The Trials of Hercules for only 99c (which is the standard price, for now).

Thanks for popping by everyone and thanks for your help with making this my best launch so far. Finn will be showing off some pictures from and telling some tales about his Ireland trip on Saturday and I’ll be back next week to contemplate where my writing world is going from here. See you then!!!

12 thoughts on “Making It to Number One on Amazon (sort of)

  1. HOLY COWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! Hhahaha I bet you were dancing around the house watching Herc skyrocket up the charts! I know I would have been beside myself to see anything do so well haha. CONGRATS! Isn’t that awesome to see your hard work researching pay off?? I really hope it does have a spill over effect. I’m SURE once people start reading the series, they will have to finish! Woohoo!! Well done, you! Here’s to well-earned chart success!


    1. If I wasn’t so busy trying to crank out another book, I might have had time for some dancing. Unfortunately, I think I got over-excited when I hit #99. Then I got greedy and wondered if I could make the Top 20…it all went downhill from there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh woweeeeeeee! Now, I started reading this post knowing that you’d hit the top spot, but even with that I was on the edge of my seat cheering you on as you described climbing up through the rankings! It’s awesome to see all your hard work paying off. And don’t be embarrassed about your numbers! You’re making bigger waves with every book that comes out… I reckon it won’t be long before you’re sitting in the top spot all the time! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I hack into Amazon’s system and wipe out all the other books’ listings, I will be Number One in EVERY category all the time!! Sounds like a far easier solution than actually learning how to market and write good books. Glad I was able to build up that suspense for you, now I need to figure out how to put that into practice in my novels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aaahhhhh, you’re too modest! You KNOW you’re doing that already! Mind you, the whole internet could probably use a spring clean… Both of us would do better if people only had a choice of Beasties and Osteria for their online entertainment! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.