With more than 20,000 publishers and 19,000 titles being released every year (with growth of 30% per year), if you think your book can even get noticed by the readers without appropriate publicity, then it means you are waiting for a miracle to happen (and that’s never going to happen).
In India, roughly, more than 200 books are being released every day. India has never seen such a scenario ever. With around 500 million population below the age of 30, sales of books in India is actually surprising every one on the world stage. If you are an Author and have written a book and the scheduled release of the book is 1st January, you have to start working on the promotion now (By my experience in the industry, you are already late).
Talking about the promotions, there is no set rule. I have seen people spending lakhs on books and still not even managing to sale the first 1000 copies and on the other hand, I have also seen people spending few thousands and selling tens of thousands of books.
Under Author Paradise, I have worked with almost 70 to 80 authors and have witnessed the successes and failure of many. So when my book, ‘Let The Game Begin’ was about to hit the market, I thought to do one experiment but before explaining my experiment, I would like to tell you something about current trend of book’s sales in India.
Why I chose Amazon?
If we forget the trends in metro cities, mostly the bookstores are in loss and the reason behind is the huge discounts running over e-retailers. India is a place where middle class dominates and middle income group loves to stay within their budget, no matter what. So discount actually means a lot. Bookstores, around the country are being shut down and the reason is the same – big loss.
If you are already a big name (Already sold lakhs of copies in past), bookstore sell matters a lot. If you are being published by a big publisher (Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, Penguin, Westland etc), bookstore matters there too but the initial thrust is always provided by the sales on websites like Amazon & Flipkart. Which means, among those 200 books being released in a day, if you leave 2 or 3 books, other have their destiny intact with the sales from Amazon & Flipkart only.
But why only Amazon? Why not Flipkart?
Amazon is having higher traffic than Flipkart when it comes to the sales of books. Flipkart initially was launched as a seller of books but now have totally ignored it and that made the customer fall for Amazon.
Being a seller on Amazon, I came to know few things, how Amazon helps in promoting a new author. These points are listed below.
- Amazon Bestselling ranking: Amazon provides a rank based on various factors (primarily sales) and that ranking helps a reader to decide what to pick as their next buy.
- Recommendation: A feature that you see while browsing new books on Amazon is ‘Customer who bought this item also bought’. Well this is not a unique feature but I’ll let you know later, how I used this feature to boost the sales of my book.
- Lightening Deal: The most important factor to become an Amazon Bestseller overnight.
- Email Notification recommendation: If you are not browsing new books on Amazon, it will still send you emails to notify about new books in a particular genre that you love the most.
The building block of my experiment was ‘Amazon Gift Cards’. Recently I read an article on a blog of an author who misunderstood the importance of ‘Gift Cards’ and that’s why I thought to wrote this whole article.
Before releasing my book on Amazon, I studied some avid readers (Readers who purchase books from Amazon). I decided to give 50 gift cards to those readers and requested them to buy my book at a particular time. Why time? Because ranking changes every hour on Amazon. If a book is getting sales of 50 in an hour, it will surely touch the top 10 sellers of that hour. This strategy made me hit the top 10 books on Amazon on the launch only and made my book reach the eyes of anonymous readers who are active on Amazon and for the next 5 days, my book was getting sold from all over India. So by giving 50 gift cards, I sold around 150 books in next 7 days.
Slowly, the sales decreased, but then another thing took over and that was ‘Lightening Deal’; the best thing that amazon offers. Within Lightening Deal, Amazon offers the discount of around 40 to 50% for the next 4 to 5 hours. I wasn’t aware of lightening deal when I slept at 12’o clock that night but when I woke up next morning I saw that within 2′ o clock to 6’o clock, my ranking reached from 2000 to 20. And reaching the rank 30 means, guaranteed good sales for the next 1 week. You won’t believe that how many people stay active at night just to explore these lightening deals.
Now let me tell you why I distributed gift cards to only those people who loves to buy books from Amazon only. The reason was ‘Customer who bought this item also bought’. Your book is getting recommended to many who are exploring new books because of those few gift cards that you distributed for free.
Few points for other upcoming authors
- Promotion is must. You have written a book to reach to the readers and promotion is the only way to reach the unknowns (If you are writing to reach just to the knowns, go for blog, as it is feasible and can fetch a good readership).
- Promotion can only be done in two ways. Spending money (Wisely) or devoting your time (10 hours at least a day on both online and offline; where offline is the major part).
- Don’t expect a miracle. As I said, 19000 books are getting released every year in India only and when you include international (Well established and classic) authors, the chance of a miracle gets almost to zero.
- None of the author reached the heights without spending ‘money or time’.
- According to an article, if your book’s name reaches 1 million potential readers, then the sales would be around 1% of it. So you have to work upon the ways to increase your reach.
- Your content may have been brilliant but if you are not publicizing it, you are insulting your own creation.
Thank you for your time. Do share it with your friends if you find anything useful in it.
P.S.: Facts and figures are taken from various other blogs and articles.