First of all, congratulations! You’re now a published author – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Second, you’d be amazed how often I hear that question in LinkedIn’s author groups. With some 3,000 new books published every day, I have serious doubts that you can just sit back and wait for readers to stumble on your book, or for word of mouth to work its magic. The chances of that happening are probably similar to that of winning the lottery, in which case you don’t even need the long hours and hard work that goes hand-in-hand with a career as an author (if you don’t believe me, you may want to check out this post by Pedro Barrento on Indies Unlimited).
So, what are the next steps after publication? Before I can answer that, I need to ask one question of my own first: is this your first book? You see, until you’ve written at least three books, the simple answer is, “get started on the next one.” Once you have a minimum of three books, promoting them gets so much easier.
1: Platform Building
In the meantime, you should do what you’ve hopefully been doing since the day you decided to become an author: expand your platform. This refers to the social media you visit. Don’t make the mistake of tweeting incessantly about your book. Instead, be yourself, be helpful and courteous and have fun. Make new friends, exchange ideas and view the whole thing as an experience authors would kill a dozen years ago to have. The ability to share manuscripts, beta-read and network with people across the globe is a thing of beauty. Be sure to take full advantage of it by offering people what they need.
When are posts about your books interesting to readers/followers? When they are engaging. For example,
- When the posts are about them, not about you, as when you’re running a discount/free day, and want them to have the best possible deal;
- When you want to share something really wonderful and you’re genuinely enthusiastic;
- When you’re asking for their help/opinion on something;
- When they’re helpful to your audience.
- Find a cool/inspirational/chilling quote from one of your books and tweet that
The golden rule is, don’t think of people as buyers, but as friends. And the test here is, would you want to read the post you’ve just written if it had just arrived to your timeline? If not, chances are that few others will.
So, what can you do to expand your platform? Write engaging, helpful and unique content. The idea here is that people will think, “Here’s someone with something interesting to say. Perhaps their book will be equally interesting.” There is no silver bullet for building one’s platform. I often see people agonize over metrics: ratings, number of followers/tweeps etc. These are only useful as an indication of whether you’re moving in the right direction, and little else. If, for example, you notice that a specific topic is of interest to your new friends, write more posts on that topic. Other topics that bore them, can safely be dropped. We are authors; by definition this means that we can research and write up posts on a number of subjects. Take advantage of our chosen profession’s strengths to help people.
When should you start working on your platform? Ideally, a few years before you publish. If it’s too late for that, you can start right away; just remember that you’re an author, not a social media expert: first and foremost, you need time to work on your writing.
2: Choose Wisely, Young Padawan
The following applies to Amazon specifically: When you publish a book, you’re asked to put it under two categories, and submit up to seven keywords. Many people make the mistake of choosing a broad category – e.g. “Fiction – Romance.” As a result, even if they sell a thousand copies, their book will still not make the top hundred in its category.
What you should do instead, is choose as specific a subcategory as possible. This is because when you’re listed under a subcategory, you’re automatically listed under the main category as well. This makes sure that, by making a few dozen sales, you may find yourself with a best-seller!
In the previous example, the category Fiction-Romance has 193,606 books. However, Fiction-Romance > Historical Romance has only 24,447 books. And Fiction-Romance > Historical Romance > Ancient World has a mere 440 books.
Choose carefully, and may your book never leave the top 100 paid books in its category. To help you with this, I’m including a MS Excel spreadsheet with all of Amazon’s book categories/subcategories, listed according to competitiveness: categories at the top are the easiest to break into. Use the keywords to add more subcategories. In the above example, if you have already used up your categories, add “Ancient World” and “Historical Romance” as keywords – the effect will be the same.
Hint: The spreadsheet includes many categories unavailable from the KDP page. If you want to list your book in one of those, just mark one category as “Other,” then contact KDP to ask them to list your book under your desired one.
Update: As my friend and fellow author Dylan Hearn points out, don’t think that once you have chosen your categories they are fixed forever. You may wish to change them every now and then to expose your book to new readers. Just make sure your book does fit into the category you’ve chosen. There’s nothing worse than facing the wrath of a romance reader upset you’ve put your zombie horror (with a bit of hand holding) into their category.
He also says that some categories may be available in one Amazon market – e.g. amazon.com – and not in another (e.g. amazon.co.uk). I haven’t been able to verify this, as the categories are based on BISAC, but it’s something to consider.
3: Free Days
I’m aware of the controversy surrounding free days, and here’s my take: Free days work completely differently if you have a few books under your belt, and if you’ve only got the one. You should adjust your strategy accordingly.
In the former case, you give one book away (usually the first in a series) so that people get to know your writing. If they like what they’re read, there’s a good chance they’ll come back for more.
If, however, you just published your very first book, then free days are useful to put you on the map. When even your mother would be hard-pressed to identify your book in a lineup, chances are no one will find you on their own. Why not reward your platform friends from their support by giving away your book for a few days – and notifying them well in advance? This will help push your book to the coveted top 100 group, as long as you’ve chosen your categories carefully. More importantly, though, it will please your friends and create buzz around your book – the much coveted word of mouth.
You can read my experience with free days in my relevant post, A-Z Guide: How both my books reached #1 on Amazon.
Step 4: Countdown Deals
Countdown Deals are Amazon’s answer to the diminishing returns of free days – a problem of Amazon’s making, since they have reduced the impact free downloads have on a book’s ranking. This seems to be part of a conscious effort to increase books’ value, for example by only offering a 70% cut for books selling for over $2.99 (just a year ago, that was $1.99).
Countdown deals are a fancy word for sales, although Amazon has added a couple of nice little extras. One is a countdown counter next to the price, notifying visitors of when the deal ends. The other is the ability to increment your price with time. For example, the first three books of my epic fantasy Pearseus sell for $3.49. A countdown deal lasting three days may sell it for $0.99 the first day. The next day the price will go up to $1.99, then $2.99 before finally reverting to the original price.
You can read my experience with countdown deals in my relevant post, A-Z guide: Increase Sales with Countdown Deals.
Step 5: Advertising
My take on advertising: banners offer very little Return On Investment (ROI). This is especially true in the case of full-priced books, when you have to compete against bllions of other ads. The fact that so many websites offer quite expensive ads bemuses me. I have only been able to cover my expenses when I use banners to advertise a promotion (obviously, not a free days one).
Don’t get me wrong – I use ads to announce my countdown deals, sales etc. The chances of people finding out about your free days without you spending money to tell them, are about as many as winning a second lottery ticket, after word of mouth alone has made your book a best-seller. In which case, you’re Gladstone Gander and I hate you.
Anyway, as I was saying, ads do have their uses. In October, I’m starting a “rolling ads” campaign to promote my books, culminating at Christmas. I will be making one of them available at a discount for the duration of the month, and placing an ad on a different medium every five days or so, to target different audiences. I’ll let you know how that goes, and which media were the most successful.
Apart from that specific use, however, I have not seen any particular benefit from placing ads and banners. I have even tried Google ads. This led to some sales, but when I did the math, I was paying people to read my books. A nice short-term strategy, but a lousy long-term one – kinda like the cobbler who didn’t mind selling his shoes for less than they cost him to make, in the belief that he would make it up by volume sales.
Be the Change
I self-published my first two Pearseus books on October 17th, 2013. I didn’t know what to expect, but using the skills I had picked up in my twenty years of Internet marketing was not in my agenda. In fact, I started writing because I had tired of promoting other people’s products and wanted a change.
It turns out that Internet marketing is possibly the most useful skill an Indie author can possess, after writing (the irony is not lost on me). The good news is that Amazon is making everything in its power to help you out, by being ready to push your books, as long as they make the top 100 paid in any subcategory. This is great news: you’re not on your own, but have the world’s best and biggest salesman watching your back.
At the end of the day, however, it’s all up to you. Write, then write some more. Marketing is a great tool, but you can’t sell dross – and if you do, people will notice as fast as you can spend your lottery money (what are you still doing here, Gladstone? Go pester Donald). Work on your craft, improve your writing skills – the ones that really matter, in the end – and, most importantly: Don’t give up!
Update: The Stinky Ink Guide to Publishing
I came across a lovely resource the other day, courtesy of Stinky Ink. The free Stinky Ink Guide to Publishing includes information on everything, from getting an ISBN to cover design tips and recommended proofreading and editing companies. It is aimed at both Indies and writers interested in being traditionally published. Why not check it out and see for yourself?
Read my multiple award-winning children’s book, Runaway Smile, for free on my blog!
Thanks for a helpful article. I’ve written books for my living for almost twenty years – but so far only in Finnish. The readers know my name here in Finland, but not at all internationally. This summer I published my first book in English, and yep, I do agree with you about how difficult it is to reach the audience, when there are tons of other books, and internet resources to compete with…
I have two questions for you:
1. The spreadsheet about Amazon subcategories was interesting. However, it was only about fiction, wasn’t it? I write non-fiction (guidebooks about hiking), and such a subcategory listing would be very interesting. Would it be possible to compile such a list? Hmm, I browsed a bit. If I understand it correctly, there is a subcategory called Finland Travel Guides, isn’t there? For example that could be good for my guidebook Hiking in Finland? And maybe Walking, maybe Hiking & Camping Excursion Guides… This whole Amazon thing is new for me, as books in Finnish language are sold elsewhere.
2. Amazon. How does one get a book sold on Amazon? My publisher has been trying to get my book to Amazon for three months now, and still it’s not there. I don’t exactly know what the problem is, but what I’ve heard it sounds like something bureaucratic. How can Amazon be a big book seller if it’s so difficult to get one’s book on their shelves? Well, this was not a fair question, as you cannot possibly know the answer. But… well, I guess I just wanted to let my frustration out. 🙂 And I believe some day (hopefully soon) Amazon and my publisher will find a solution to that bureaucratic problem, and at that point the ideas of subcategories, keywords and such are of value to me.
I wish you creative moments and fluent writing!
Hi, Jouni, and welcome!
1. Amazon does offer some information on the classification it uses on its help pages. I understand you did manage to find it?
2. It’s ridiculously easy to publish on Amazon as a self-published author. All you need to do as Jouni is go to kdp.amazon.com (or co.uk or .de etc) and follow the instructions. Companies, however, including publishers, may have a harder time.
Thank you, Nicholas.
1. I found some similar kind of books and saw under which categories they were filed.
2. And thanks for the link, but I think that kind of Kindle self-publishing is probably not for my book. There are hundreds of photos in my guidebook, and a graphic artist has created a great layout, and my book is already printed (and sold as an e-book, too), just not in Amazon, yet. More info, example pages etc. at scricfinia.wordpress.com/books. But well, I’m visiting my publisher next week and I hope they will finally tell me good news about Amazon. 🙂 If not, then I have to check out your link more closely… And in any case I’m going to find out if my publisher is aware of those subcategories, top 100 books and so on, so thank you for useful tips!
And I see you have also other very interesting topics covered in your blog. I think I’ll comment something on them, too. 🙂
Thank you, Jouni! Looking forward to seeing you around my blog 🙂
Thank you for posting such a useful article! Thanks a lot..!! 🙂
A pleasure. Thanks for reading and welcome 🙂
thank you so much for this useful information. I was feeling a little despondent yesterday after reading a very honest but quite negative view of what to expect once your book Is published. I have been offered a contract and the book is under way, I am not dreaming of huge wealth, my expectations are managed quite well, the book is about personal transformation and the getting the message out there is more important than anything else to me. I too have a background in sales and marketing, and intend to use my book as credibility to support my new career in the field of spirituality mentoring. My advice to anyone else thinking about writing and getting published is to think realistically about what it is you want to achieve, consider where that book can take you and see it as a vehicle rather than a lottery win. I will comment again when it is published and disclose how I managed to bag a contract by being creative and innovative and just a little bold, it is indeed a fantastic example of how to make ‘The Law Of Attraction’ work for you. Yes, this sounds like a sales pitch, it isn’t, books are energy and if you want to attract the things you want you need to add that desire and energy to your work like your life depended on it. And I will show you how I did it. Not a sales pitch, it’s a heartfelt thank you for this article which has lifted me up, your positive energy shines through and we need more of that. Be realistic, believe in yourself and don’t let anyone piss on your bonfire.
Thanks and welcome. I’m thrilled about your success in getting published – congrats! Managing one’s expectations does seem to be the key to one’s happiness 🙂
I have just published a ‘soft’ science fiction entitled “Alien Brother.” The self publisher (Page Publishing) is suppose to put the book on Amazon and others i.e. Google. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks
Yes, and it’s simple: don’t leave it up to anyone but yourself to promote your books. Check out my marketing link (at the top menu) and specifically my post “You published your book, now what?” and my “Marketing secret” one for some help in that respect.
Thanks for the great post but I was disappointed that your category list only contained Fiction. Mine is Non-Fiction. Do you have a list for that category??
I’m afraid I don’t, but I have scheduled a post for March 4th that explains how to discover Amazon’s categories even for non-fiction works. So, stay tuned 🙂
I just sent you an email explaining a problem I have due to the fact Createspace seem to be a bunch of idiots.
Great post.Very useful.
Thanks! It’s one of my favorites 🙂
Hi Nicholas, need ur expert advice! My Publisher is printing a fresh batch at a new cost (Fiction Genre). I took the opportunity to insert 2-3 sentence changes in the original manuscript.
(However, title and text content is essentially unchanged except for those sentences and the cost) So,
1] Should this be labelled as Reprint or New Edition? 2] Will new edition require new ISBN? 3] Will it need separate space on Goodreads or will it get automatically clubbed under original? 4] Will new edition require to be uploaded separately on Amazon? 5] Will newer book reviews (of this print) accumulate under same title or will each edition’s book reviews be an isolated island?
Please do check with your publisher, but here’s my 2 cents:
Generally speaking, avoid changing your ISBN or creating a new KDP entry. Thankfully, from what you say, it doesn’t look like you need to change anything. You can even change the book cover and the title without updating the ISBN (as I’ve done with both The Power of Six and Pearseus). Minor text edits and price changes are a dime a dozen in publishing 🙂
To further clarify this:
1. You only need a new ISBN if you have a new publisher or have made changes to the print format (eg. you’ve changed the book dimensions from 6×9″ to 5×10″).
2. 1. If you do change the ISBN, put on the copyright page: Revised and retitled from (old title). You don’t really need anything else.
3. If you do change your ISBN, Goodreads and Amazon will need a new page.
4. If you did create a new entry in Goodreads, you could ask a Librarian there to combine the two editions (although I’m not sure if they will, given that you’ll have a new ISBN). This is not possible with Amazon, where you’d need to manually remove the book from KDP, or risk confusing your readers, who will see two versions of the same book. Unfortunately, doing so means that you lose all old reviews.
Hope this helps 🙂
Perfect! You’ve given me all the answers I needed. I cross checked with the Publisher and they assured me ISBN will be retained in view of minor changes. Am so relieved!
Thank you very much, indeed.
Glad to hear you’ve sorted it out 🙂
Reblogged this on Welcome to Blog Bella Luna : Posts by you, and for you from Sherry Carroll.
Reblogged this on Nina Soden and commented:
Have you written a book? Did you publish it? Are you confused as to what you should do next? Well, you are not alone. Nicholas C. Rossis attacks those very issues in his post ‘I Just Published my Book. Now What?’
Reblogged this on Ella Emerson and commented:
Love this article!!!
Reblogged this on Becoming an Independent Contractor in Public Health Research and commented:
Reblogged this on Author Silver Rain and commented:
I’m the new kid on the block and I found this post very useful.
Thank you, Nicholas. I did see the link in the post, I just didn’t know how to use the spreadsheet or look up things–virgin to Excel and often just, duh. With your help, I did get all my keyword searches. Thanks a bundle.
So glad to hear it! Let me know if you need any further help. I can even email you the file 🙂
Hi Nicholas. This is a wonderful blog with very useful information. Could you direct me where to go to get the Amazon Category List to include younger children’s books; chapter books, age 7 – 11 years, fantasy/adventure? Thanks so much for this article.
There are hundreds of relevant categories in the spreadsheet, so what I suggest you do is open the file in Excel and enter the term “child” (don’t include the quotes). Then click on “Find All.” This will produce a list of all the children’s books subcategories, from which you can select the most appropriate ones. Just remember: the smaller the number in the parenthesis, the better it will suit your needs!
Hope this helps 🙂
Yes, that helps. I wasn’t sure how to find the list I needed. Thank you so much!
Oh, sorry! I thought you’d seen the link in the post. Here is the direct link: https://nicholasrossis.com/uploads/AmazonCategories.xls
Reblogged this on Custom Cover Design by Michelle Rene.
Thank you Nicholas.. I came via Debs repost.. 🙂 Thank you for sharing some great advice.
Hi Sue, welcome and thanks for the comment. Great to have you over 🙂
Great advice. Thanks for sharing Nicolas.
So glad you found it useful. Thank you for the visit and the kind words! 🙂
Lovely, sane advice. Makes it all seem possible – and within eyesight. Cheers.
Thanks! As I mentioned on your blog, you’re follower number 1,000 (yay!), so I’d like to offer you any of my books as a gift, and a feature for your upcoming book 🙂
Eagerly awaiting your book copy. Thanx!
Terrific post, Nicholas! I’m bookmarking this. The book I’m publishing now is through an Indie, curated press, but the next one I want to self-pub. This will be my go-to resources 🙂
So glad you found it useful! 🙂
Most helpful hint here – Choose keywords carefully and concentrate on SUB-categories to be seen and stand out. Thank you, Nicholas.
A pleasure. Yes, along with the linked spreadsheet it can make a big difference to your rank and, hopefully, your sales 🙂
I just found this. Probably because I’m supposed to find it just now, since you’re answering a number of questions in my little writerly brain. THANKS!
Lol – excellent. Glad you found it helpful! 🙂
Especially loved your categories/subcategories spreadsheet, great info!
Thanks and welcome! It’s a shame this info is not available more widely, as it can be very helpful when self-publishing.
Reblogged this on E.Rawls and commented:
Lost what to do next after publishing your book? Read this post for great ideas that will get you started on the road to building your author career and author platform.
Reblogged this on The August Rose Press Blog and commented:
I absolutely love this post: it really breaks it down for indie authors.
Really enjoyed this post. So much valuable information. What about if the five books you have written were not all in the same genre? I have written two non-fiction and now have completed my third children’s book. Do marketing strategies change in that case?
Oh and thanks for the tip about classification. I didn’t know we had flexibility and the opportunity to add other classifications. I need to redo a couple.
Thanks and welcome! 🙂
I, too, write sci-fi and fantasy, but am about to publish my first children’s book. I haven’t changed my basic strategy, but it’s still too early. I promise to let you know if I come up with something new. 🙂
My basic marketing strategy, though, is this – and it makes no difference what your genre is: be real, be fun, be helpful. If you do that, you don’t even need to discuss your books.
The other day I was hosting a Facebook event for one hour. I had invited my friends, and decided to use that hour to promote their books. So, I asked them one after another as to what their books were about, then we chatted about the future of publishing. The hour flew by, and I still hadn’t mentioned my books.
With five minutes to spare, I then pasted the links to my books, saying a simple, “if you want to know more about me or my work, check this out.”
I sold eight books that day, without even trying. How many do you think I would have sold, had I pestered people with “buy my book” messages for an hour?
The right classification can make it so much easier to rise through the ranks. I wonder if that’s why Amazon doesn’t talk too much about it. I was pretty lucky to come across the spreadsheet.
So thankful for the spreadsheet. And I like what you said about selling without even going there intentionally. Love the creative part, hate the marketing. And with the memoir I wrote, it’s very different than bringing up a children’s book. And yet, I think my children’s books were just waiting for me to write Broken. They were hiding underneath.
You are always opening my eyes to possibilities. I had a question that one of the comments hinted to. How do you change the category of your book once it’s published? I’ll be keeping the post close to re-read
Glad to hear you find my posts helpful! 🙂
You can change the categories from your KDP page (kdp.amazon.com). You click on the book’s title and you get the “edit details” screen. That’s where you can edit the categories.
You can enter up to two categories and seven keywords.
The trick here is that you can leave one of the categories blank, if you can’t find your desired one in the default list. You can then contact KDP and ask them to add your category manually.
Hope this helps! 🙂
Thank you, Nicholas! I’ll be trying that. I didn’t realize I had so many choices. You’ve been a great help
So glad to hear it! Let me know if you need any more help 🙂
I started my blog at the same I stared writing my first book, unbeknownst to me at the time that I was building an author platform, or at least trying to. I’m taking a short break away from blogging in November (a week or two although I said a whole month at first but that is far too long I’m realising) while I roll up my sleeves and get that first draft finished. I’m a ways a way from publication but I’m learning the ‘what comes next part’ as I write on and all this helps newbie writers like me so much. Sage, clear-cut helpful advice like yours and my friend Dylan’s help keep my head straight. Thanks Nicholas 🙂
Thanks, that’s so nice of you to say! 🙂
As I was just telling Bonnie, my marketing secret is simple: having found out that there are many ways to market one’s books, I chose the one that most appeals to me – share helpful advice with other authors and make new friends along the way.
But I, too, need some time off every now and then to focus on writing.
Guess what? I just published my first book because although I published one three years ago I had the publisher cancel it this month.
What’s next? Reviews, press release, promoting and marketing on social networks?
I thought I might do a reading of three or so poems on my youtube channel and say a little bit about myself.
I have no idea what to do next except maybe do a few interviews on Blogs.
Any advice for me?
Now I have a major headache. It’s too much to think about.
What have I gotten myself into?
The word Author seems to mean you have to wear so many hats.
All I want to do is sell some poetry from my book Titled: “The Chill Turned Warm.”
Is that The Poetic Bond – https://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Bond-Many-Other-Poets-ebook/dp/B006Y3P0TI/ ?
You’re right, authors nowadays need to wear so many hats, it’s crazy. My secret? I found out that there are many ways to market your books. I chose the one that most appeals to me – share helpful advice with other authors and make new friends along the way. It doesn’t even feel like marketing; just having fun. Apart from that, I haven’t got any advice that I haven’t already shared on this blog. As soon as I learn or find out something new, I promise to share. 🙂
This was soooo helpful! Thank you for being specific, as well. I’m sharing this to my writer friends on Twitter.
Glad you found it helpful. Thank you so much for helping spread the word 🙂
Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
Good advice 🙂
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
Useful info from author Nicholas C Rossi 😀
Reblogged this on Author P.S. Bartlett and commented:
So much excellent advice as always. Take it all in because everything here matters.
Thank you so much, I’m glad you found the post helpful! 🙂
Excellent post. Lots of info presented concisely. Snagged it for reading and re-reading. I hope to eventually grasp “marketing” better than I do now. I can bake a loaf of bread and knit a warm scarf, but marketing concepts seem difficult for me. I’ll keep plugging away at it. Giving up isn’t in my nature.
Lol – a warm loaf of bread and a scarf do sound more tempting than marketing! 😀
Reblogged this on A Life Singular and commented:
The generosity of some independent authors to their fellows is unending. Thanks, Nicholas Rossis, for these insights on raising our profile.
Fantastic post, Nicholas – thanks so much for the many insights! I will also reblog because this is so useful to indie authors, particularly those in smaller Amazon regional markets. Thanks again!
Thank you! I’m glad you found it useful, and grateful that you chose to share 🙂
Nicholas, I have been away for so long, I missed you and a lot more.
This is great advice, specifically the tips on choosing categories.
Sharing your link on Facebook, for others to benefit as well.
Wishing you all best!
So good to see you here, we’ve missed you. 🙂
Glad you found it useful!
Now comes the hard work: How to apply your advice!!! 🙂
Reblogged this on kyrosmagica and commented:
Excellent tips and advice from Nicholas C. Rossis about marketing self published books.
I reckon this one deserves an almighty reblog. Full of wonderful tips and advice for writers considering self publishing. I’m trying the traditional route first but who knows I may self publish in the end too.
I’m so glad you’ve found it useful. 🙂 Whichever route you take, I wish you success. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help. 🙂
Reblogged this on Effrosyni's Blog and commented:
I just had to reblog this incredibly useful post with lots of insights for indie authors from the blog of my savvie friend, Nicholas Rossis. I draw your attention specifically to the downloadable Excel sheet of all Amazon categories! Look for subcategories with as few books as possible (see numbers in brackets) but at the same time, choose a subcategory with a relatively high ‘competitiveness’ number too. If you fancy using more than the max 2 categories, just use the rest as keywords as Nicholas explains. How cool is that? I hope you’ll find this excellent post as useful as I have. Happy weekend, peeps!
Linked to this excellent post through one I wrote on the back of it! You can find it here https://involution-odyssey.com/blogscribe/ Rather a contrast to your journey of success!
I know, I got the pingback and was reading it. As I’m saying on your post, you’re very sweet, but you’re waaay overestimating my success and underestimating yours. The grass is always greener, I guess… 😀
Incredibly generous analysis and the categories list suggests I have to start again!
I’m so glad you found it interesting!
Categories is one of the least understood aspects of Amazon. The company seems to deliberately keep people in the dark about the inner workings of its algorithms. The spreadsheet offers a nice peek behind the curtain! 🙂
Reblogged this on Michelle Eastman Books and commented:
A must-read for indie authors…
Reblogged this on 1st Class Document Services and commented:
I enjoyed “I Just Published my Book. Now What?” for three reasons. First, Nicholas writes with his voice of experience, so clearly that one cannot help but to learn from this information; second, the information is a treasure for any self-publishing or wants to be a self-publishing author; and lastly, by posting this information he doesn’t just help himself, he is providing assistance to others showing that he remembers where he has been and is willing to help the rest of us avoid some of the pitfalls of self publishing.
Thank you for sharing this amazing post, Nicholas! And I am so grateful for the categories list! You’re a star 🙂
Thank you, I’m glad you found it useful! The categories are really hard to find, so feel free to share with anyone you think might be interested in them. 🙂
Great tips Nicholas. It is a long long haul up that publishing mountain!
Hence that last point… 😀
Great insights, Nicholas, thanks! I especially find the categories intriguing and baffling. Will spend time on that next.
Lol – you have to! It took me a while to navigate through it. Basically, you want a category that has as little competition as possible, but is as popular as possible. Oh, and that is relevant to your book! It can be tricky… 🙂
I also just now Tweeted it. 🙂
Nicholas, This is a great blog. I reblogged it on Musings on Life & Experience. 🙂 —Suzanne
Thank you so much! It’s much appreciated! 🙂
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
This is a really helpful blog with equally helpful links.
Fabulous post! I will be reblogging this one too! 🙂
Oh, alright, if you insist! 😀
Great post…again. This website is a gem. With 6 books published through the traditional publishing route, I’m dipping into self-publishing for many of the reasons you highlight above – primarily the flexibility to experiment with pricing (conduct giveaways, countdowns, and free days), which I currently have no control over. Your guidance on building a platform is exceptional – thanks! And of course, penning great books is the foundation of a successful career right along with “don’t give up.” Persistence does pay off…stick with it. Listen, learn, stretch, and keep writing. My additional advice to new writers – love what you do and enjoy the ride; others will notice. Happy writing!
Thank you so much, you’re too sweet. 🙂
I’d love to hear about what made you choose self-publishing this time. A guest post, perhaps? 🙂
Very interesting post with useful advice. Thanks Nicholas!
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it – and welcome! It’s good to connect here as well 🙂
Also to stock up on tissues and hire a consoling shoulder for the bad times. I never realized how many lean months were in this business. It’s really frustrating, but all one can do is keep promoting and make it through.
True dat. There is a great degree of seasonality at play here. Have a look at https://www.davenportwrites.com/?p=1608 to see you’re hardly alone. My own sales have been see-sawing like crazy. 🙂
I think this year freaked me out because of the severity. I know November is a month of silence before a December boom (at least if I can get a new book out in time), but October wasn’t this bad. Maybe the entire industry is laying low for some reason.
I have a great system for whenever my sales are down: get down on knees and pray! 😀
Seriously, I don’t know how these things work. I will run a promo and sell 2 copies, then run the same promo a few months later and sell 150 books.
I edit, outline, or write to feel like I’m making progress. The rough part is that there are people who are watching my Amazon rankings and flip out when I ‘fall’. So this month has seen a lot of ‘condolence calls’ in regards to my author career. It really wears on the nerves and confidence.
I think it depends a lot on the economy and the temperature of the market. I know what you mean about the promos. I used the same system for Books 3-5 and it simply didn’t work with 5. I don’t know what happened there.
It’s like trying to score on an uneven, ever-shifting field, with moving goal posts. And having a hedgehog for a ball (disclaimer: I don’t advocate violence against any kind of animals, and I love hedgehogs).
What worked a year ago just won’t do today. That’s why I think it’s important to share when we come across something that did work (for me, the last thing that worked wonders was Sally’s video interview ).
Mercifully, most people over here don’t know or don’t care that I write. I’d never realized how great that is! 😀
Those hedgehogs are nasty. Only thing worse is stepping on Legos while barefoot . . . also being on the wrong end of a porcupine catapult.
I need to get my life stabilized for something like a video interview. I considered one a while back, but there was no chance of getting a quiet period. How do you contact her since I might have a few weeks of peace coming up?
Being in the shadows definitely has its benefits. 🙂
I’ll email you her address. 🙂
Is finding yourself on the wrong end of a porcupine catapult a common danger where you live?? 😮
Thanks. I emailed her back. By the way, I’m doing submission and interviews for HEI!Books, which is a free promo site I found last night. I’ll be posting more about it when I finish the interviews in an hour (one for each book.)
Porcupines aren’t a big threat here. Though I hear stories about the horrors from Vermont.
Looking forward to the post! 🙂
Just went live. Though I might have run out of steam around the 4th interview.
the last one is the hardest: don’t give up… :o) thanks for great tips, I hope once I’m brave enough to write a book :o)… it’s easier to dream about than to do it :o)
One day at at time; that’s all there is to it. 🙂
Excellent advice. The only thing I would add is that some categories can be available in one Amazon market – e.g. amazon.com) and not in another (e.g. amazon.co.uk) so it is worthwhile playing around with them. Also, don’t think that once you have chosen your categories they are fixed forever. Change them every now and then to expose your book to new readers. Just make sure your book does fit into the category you’ve chosen. There’s nothing worse than facing the wrath of a romance reader upset you’ve put your zombie horror (with a bit of hand holding) into their category.
I didn’t know that, thanks for the interesting point. I’ve now added it to the original post.
Amazon does a great job of hiding away the categories. Most of these are nowhere to be found on the site or on kdp.amazon.com, and yet they are the ones it uses behind the scenes.
And yes, you should always make sure that the categories are relevant!!! I thought it went without saying, but I’ve now made sure it’s clear in the post. 🙂
Any help on WHERE one is able to CHANGE any category is greatly appreciated! I can’t see anywhere that allows an author to login to change this???
I barely see the category itself listed on the book’s page, except way down at the bottom. I would LOVE to try this but have no idea HOW????????
The categories are added through https://kdp.amazon.com . If you can’t find it, I can post a detailed description with screenshots to help you out. 🙂
Congratulations – Enjoy your weekend.:)
Thank you! Why are weekends over so soon… 🙁
That’s a really useful article and the spread sheet is gold. 🙂 thanks. The 3,000 stat is good, too. It was a number ive been looking for for a talk I’m doing next week.
I’ve heard everything from 1,500 to 3,000. I think the two numbers must refer to different things; eg 1,500 books published daily on Amazon, 3,000 globally.
Amazon does a great job of hiding away the categories. Most of these are nowhere to be found on the site or on kdp.amazon.com, and yet they are the ones it uses behind the scenes.
Yeh, I’ve heard this and I’ve heard that to get yourself listed in a suitably obscure one, with less competition, still gets you the perks of someone selling hundreds of books a day in say, Romance or Thrillers!
Lol – I sure do hope so! 😀 Since October 1st, The Power of Six has been doing really well in the obscure category I’ve picked for it (World Literature, as one of the stories takes place in Athens and hey, I’m Greek, so stop asking). I like to think this has helped it maintain a high rank/visibility for longer.
I’d like to list mine in World Literature, British Authors, Humour and Satire but it isn’t available to list. I’ve added it to the keywords to see if that gets a listing as, in the case of my book, it’s quite appropriate. 😉 I’ll see what happens.
Here’s what I did: I left the second category empty, and contacted KDP with a request that they include the book there. I also explained why I thought it belonged there. A week or two later, they obliged.
I also added the word to the keywords.
I was a little worried that if I made any changes to the book (say change the price) I’d need to go through the “ask the KDP guy” routine, but so far it seems to be stuck there.
Hope it works for you! 🙂
That’s brilliant. Thank you very much. I’ll give that a go.
That excel file is a gold mine. Thanks, Nicholas.
Glad you found it useful! It’s a shame it’s not more widely available.
Reblogged this on TJ's New Book Blog and commented:
Some useful tips.
Reblogged this on MM Jaye writes… and commented:
An unmissable post if you’re unpublished, just about to publish or have just published your first book. Nicholas even gives out an Excel sheet with all Amazon categories and sub-categories—the ones you can’t know because you haven’t uploaded a book yet. Plus great tips on advertising and promoting.
Fun read and extremely useful! Thanks, Nicholas!
Thank you! Truth be told, Amazon does a great job of hiding away the categories. Most of these are nowhere to be found on the site or on kdp.amazon.com, and yet they are the ones behind the scenes. I only found out about them thanks to two Amazon gurus I worked with (they’ve asked me to say no more until they’re ready).
Seriously, was that a gift to me?! Being a mere month away from publishing, it gives priceless info especially with the Amazon categories and subcategories. I also loved the images! The post looks like a Goodreads romance book review. Those girls fill their reviews with captioned images and GIFs. Great job, Nicholas! I’m reblogging…
Lol – yes. I totally wrote it for you. I expect my payment in the form of a galaktompoureko on Wednesday. :b
A Goodreads romance book review – now there’s a place I don’t visit often! 😀
No, not just for MM Jay! For me too! I am in my last edits, and very small platform!!!
Fine, then I expect a galaktompoureko from you, too! 😀
congratulations – amazing!!