No matter what kind of an author you are, it doesn’t take long before you start hearing about the Kindle 100. For anyone hearing about this for the first time, I’ll explain quickly. This is the list of the top 100 ebooks. Not by genre, the top 100 period. The best of the best so to speak. It’s also the easiest way to shop for books. In one or two clicks, you’re on the list and bound to find something interesting. Visibility like this is something every author wants, so it’s no surprise we’re always thinking up ways to get in there.
One of these ideas is to get enough people to purchase a book on a specific day to drive rank into the top 100. For the most part this doesn’t make sense to me.
Right now there are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available with more being published as we speak. The idea of getting into that gigantimous pool is daunting. How can your little book be seen in all that? From that angle I can totally see why driving sales into the top 100 if only for a day would be appealing. But it’s a lot of work. Promotion, people to organize, all in the hopes of getting the support you need on the big day. Prizes are offered as incentive to buy the book, but as of yet, I haven’t seen huge success with this tactic. Not a big surprise, it’s still new.
Eventually someone will break through (Maybe it’s already happened. I didn’t do a mega load of research because it’s not the point of this post.) and I’m wondering if all the energy it took to get there was worth it.
As I said, visibility is why you want to be there. The more visibility, the more sales . . . provided you’ve written a good book. My first point. Surging yourself into the Kindle 100 doesn’t mean you wrote a good book. Sure, people will check it out, but if it’s poorly written, you’ll disappear as fast as you got there with bad reviews for company.
But okay, you’ve written a good book. You get in the 100, but after the surge, sales drop along with your ranking. That’s not a long time for visibility. How many new fans will you get?
Maybe your goal to get into the top 100 is about getting noticed by an agent. Agents make money from sales, so if an agent is looking for a client, the aim is to select the one with the most potential for sales. If I’m an agent and the deciding factor is one author in the top 100 for a day and another author in the top 100 for six months, which one do you think I’ll choose? Of course many factors go into selecting a client, but I’d think consistent sales is a big one. It proves your product’s worth.
My last point is the amazon algorithms. Think of these as the little elves running around analyzing the sales ranking system. So when they see something like ranked 10k to 50 back to 10k, they go, “Hey! What just happened?” They keep their eyes peeled and then it happens again. “We got a problem here,” they say. The solution? They change how sales are evaluated, so what once got a book up in the rankings either doesn’t work or is much harder to do. If you’re new like me, this should worry you.
In my opinion, based on talks with authors I respect, a strong release is the best way to go to build a solid, sustaining fan base. It may not get you into the Kindle 100 for the first book or the second or third, but as long as your ranking goes up and can sustain, you’re in good shape. Besides that, there are many ways to market your work and you have to decide what’s the most bang for your buck. There are certainly ways to encourage sales during a specific time that may work better than the one day surge.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t look only at the immediate result. Think a few steps ahead or get someone’s insight that’s been there. I can’t tell you how much valuable information I’ve gained from more experienced authors. With that in mind, I’ve got a question.
What do you guys think of these one day blitzes? Is there a pro I don’t know about? Have you had success with a different form of marketing? Please, the floor is yours.
Info stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and be here Tuesdays and Thursdays for new posts on me, writing, superheroes, monsters, comics and any other geeky stuff on my mind.
And if you missed it, I guest posted on L.M. Stull‘s blog about platform building. Stop by and get in on the discussion. I’ll be waiting patiently for you to arrive.