4 tips for hitting #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller list

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This is a Guest Post by Angela Clarke on building author brands, social media and Amazon’s algorithm. Angela is the Amazon Fashion Chart bestselling author of Confessions of a Fashionista. Her first crime novel, Follow Me (Avon), is out this December.

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I was tickled pink when my memoir, Confessions of a Fashionista, became a number one Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. I don’t have magic designer shoes, famous friends, or an aging portrait of my book hidden in the attic, so how did Confessions become a success? I had a great team at Ebury, and an excellent editor in Hannah Knowles, and Lady Luck showed up when the memoir struck a cord(uroy jacket) with readers. But I also learnt and implemented some helpful strategies along the way. Here are my top tips on how to get your book up the charts:

1) Think of The Three P’s – PR, Publicity and Personality

Every book needs the three P’s – PR, Publicity, and Personality – to give it a fighting chance. In today’s competitive market, authors can’t afford to be garret-dwelling hermits who leave publicity to the publishers. As a writer it’s your responsibility to get yourself and your book out there. Be it by organising an intimate reading at your local library, or securing a mention in an article in a national newspaper: all coverage builds exposure. And exposure means sales.

2) Be a Social Butterfly

Engage with your readers. Social media platforms including GoodReads, Facebook, and Twitter can, and do, affect sales. Many of the Amazon reviews for Confessions of a Fashionista mention customers who bought my book after following me on Twitter. Keep social media profiles upbeat with a good mix of humour, news and views, and never just tweet about your book. There’s no surer way to lose followers than drowning them in book spam.

If anyone does contact you to say they enjoyed your book, ask them to consider writing an Amazon review. The more positive reviews a book has, the more Amazon’s algorithm suggests that book to potential customers. This website has a great explanation of how customer reviews on Amazon convert into sales.

3) Make a Big Bang

Make technology work for you. Consider using software such as the crowdspeaking platform Thunderclap, which allows a single message to be mass shared at a chosen time and date to create a bigger social media impact. This ensures your readers, followers and supporters all post about your book at the same time: raising its profile and giving you a shot at trending. Aliza Licht, author of Leave Your Mark, used Thunderclap to reach a staggering eight million prospective book buyers. Get up to date and get on it!

4) Play The System

Amazon uses a self-devised algorithm known as A9 to determine what shows when customers search for various terms, say ‘fashion books’. The algorithm responds to sales spikes and review clusters, suggesting a popular book in response to relevant search terms. Try to coordinate multiple sales being made on the same day: with a teaser prior to publication date, or a flash 24hour sale. Or encourage those who are going to review to post their reviews at the same time, for example, with a coordinated blog tour where book bloggers all post on the same date.

You can follow Angela on TwitterFacebookInstagram and website.

With thanks to Claire McGowan author of The Silent Dead (Headline), out 19th November 2015, for the Thunderclap information.

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