Well there’s a bunch of obvious stuff. Hopefully you don’t even need to hear those things, but I will idiotproof this post a little and state the common sense stuff plainly:
- Build up a big, loyal audience first.
- Be a social networking dynamo.
- Be able to write really well.
- Have an awesome book cover.
- Price the thing right.
- Choose the right keywords.
- Choose the right category.
- Pick a good title.
- Write a book on a topic a lot of people are interested in.
- Write a catchy book description.
You know, all those kinds of things. That’s really the meat and bacon (who eats potatoes anymore? Carbs OMG!) of having a successful run on Amazon. But I wanted to discuss a lesser known tactic to improve rankings that I call “price jigging.”
When you go “jigging” for say, a big Halibut out in the Pacific ocean, you jig for that thing, bouncing the rod up and down. Price jigging is getting some price movement up and down instead of maintaining a consistent price. Because of how Amazon works, jigging is very helpful, especially if you have built up any kind of web presence whatsoever to fuel buying activity when you need it.
The sales rank number on Amazon, what authors financially live and die by, seems to naturally have some inflation built into it. Let’s call it “rank decay.” Sales rank never gets better and better as a book just sits there. The rank starts to decay and your book sales slowly erode.
This is why a consistent price on Amazon doesn’t work, because there’s a leapfrog game being played. Other authors will have sales, or if they publish through KDP Select they will even run free days, and then their books leapfrog ahead of yours. They return the book to its normal price and then it goes through rank decay, and yours, unless you play the same game, will steadily move back farther and farther in the pecking order.
Rank is important. The higher the rank, the better the ranking in various categories, the more visible it is to people browsing categories and the more reputable the book appears. It creates somewhat of a snowball buying effect and can really improve sales for a while before the decay process resumes. You also sell a lot when you drop the price, and are likely to get some reviews during the flurry of sales, which is also vital to the “resume” your book gives off to prospective buyers.
Anyway, price jigging is easy. Just drop the price on all your books or one at a time in a rotation, preferably to the minimum of 99 cents on Kindle, and tell everyone you possibly can about the sale. It doesn’t need to last long. 2-3 days is plenty to create a blitz of buying action. An even shorter “1 day only” surprise sale might be even better to concentrate the number of sales per hour, which is what determines your rank. The more consolidated the sales, the higher your book will go. I’ve gotten books up in the top #200 in all of the Kindle store, and it had a lasting effect on many of my books’ success.
It might be a little painful. You may prefer to sell your book at $9.99 regularly and get nearly $7 per copy sold. At 99 cents you only get about 34 cents. Ouch. But it will pay off.
Firstly, you can send a bunch of potential buyers there through an Amazon affiliate link. You definitely want to become an Amazon Affiliate if you are going to publish books on Amazon. Sending them through an affiliate link will get you an extra 4 cents per copy. More importantly, you’ll get 4% on absolutely everything else the person may buy from Amazon in the 24 hours after clicking through your affiliate link. In my experience, this amounts to around $100 per thousand clicks, and considerably more on Cyber Monday and over the holidays. So you’ll probably make just as much from the affiliate link as you will from the sale of your books, effectively doubling your money.
More importantly, your sales rank will remain much higher than it would have otherwise been once you change the price back to normal. In the end, it will work out like this…
Before: 150 sales per month * $7 commission = $35/day
During sale: 1000 sales in 2 days * 34 cents = $340 + $340 in commission = $340/day
After sale: 300 sales in 30 days *$7 commission = $70/day
And then, a month later or so your sales rank will probably be right back where it started. And you’ll be due for another sale soon. The whole process of price jigging should nearly double your total revenue for several weeks or longer.
It’s also worth mentioning that the biggest eBook buying season of the year is the week after Christmas. A Christmas sale (aka price jig) should position your books for even better performance at that time and have an even bigger positive impact on sales.
In the grand scheme of things, once you’ve done everything else right to the best of your ability, price jigging is an unmatched strategy for improving rank.
So that’s that.
My business partner Rob and I are more than happy to assist you, answer questions, or help guide you through the self-publishing process if you are interested. If you have any questions please watch our welcome video HERE and fill out the Contact Us form and we’ll help you find your way.