I’ve been receiving emails from fellow writers asking me about the Amazon
promotion I was part of for August and what it means and how to get it.
Let me start off by saying that I have no idea how Amazon decides which authors to promote.
I promise there were no bribes of chocolate, no pleas or threats on my part. And let’s face it – the chocolate part – as if I’d willingly give that up! Prayers maybe – but how could I not when I saw other authors I knew being promo’d by them and seeing their rankings and sales soar through the roof.
What You Can Do …
What I can tell you is that instead of focusing on how to get Amazon to promote you, you need to focus on your book and your readers. With that being your focus, you’ll be amazed at the doors that open for you. Write a book – not just the best book you can write but a book that touches your readers in a way that leaves them wanting more. More of your writing. More of your stories. More of you. If you focus on your readers, they will help promote the book in a way that no one else can. When you focus on your readers, you’ll start to get real and honest reviews. The more reviews you have, the more likes and the more tags, the higher in the amazon rankings you’ll go. That’s what garners Amazon’s attention – I think 😉
But What Does It Mean…
It means doors open, dreams come true and you’ll have an ever-increasing smile on your face.
For me – it meant that I jumped from making around $5,000 in July to making 6 figures in August. Yes – I made over $100,000. In ONE MONTH! Yes – you read that right. Amazing. Simply Amazing. Did you read when I said dreams come true? That was one of them. I NEVER thought I would EVER make that much money in ONE MONTH. (Sorry if it seems like I’m shouting – but I am – SHOUTING that is, not apologizing). What does this kind of money mean? I means paying off all our debt and only worrying about paying our mortgage each month. It means breathing easier knowing I don’t have to worry about where the money will come to pay the bills. It means not having to decide if the shoes my kids need for school is more important than paying a bill in full this month. It means … you know what it means. What would it mean for you?
It also means having doors open for me that I had thought I’d never want open. It means having agents and editors come to me. I made it to #13 on the Bestseller list as well as other lists like Media Bistro, Indie Readers Top 10 and others. It means validation that my story was/is good enough. It means choices and options and making decisions that are right for me – not just for right now but for in the future as well. It means having to really evaluate my goals and maybe re-evaluate as well.
It Means Changing Your Focus…
One of the re-evaluated goals was whether or not I wanted or even needed an agent. I had the opportunity to go with an agent from one of the top agencies in New York. But I turned them down. I’m not about being a little fish in a big ocean – and when your agent has clients the like of Deepak Chopra, Maya Banks, Sylvia Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon and others – I knew I was going to be a tadpole compared to their sharks. I know some people are probably shaking their heads at me for turning down this offer – I mean, it’s a dream agent with dream connections and dream clients. But I knew that my goals might not mesh with theirs. Plus – I had made a connection with another agent who ‘got’ me and understood my goal to continue self publishing and wanting to be successful in any venue. I couldn’t have asked for more and she’s been an absolute godsend.
Did I give up being indie because I have an agent? No. But that’s for another post 🙂
The Bottom Line…
So … what does it mean to have Amazon promote you? It means reaching more readers and enticing them to want to give me a try as a new author. It means building my fan base, having ‘real’ readers join my newsletter instead of begging for it from holding contests and such (if you are a writer, you know what I mean). It means seeing an increase in sales in all my books and it not just being for that month. This is only the first week of September and I’ve already doubled my sales from July – not too bad!
How can you get Amazon to promote you? Write the best book that you can and focus on your readers – not on amazon. I have no idea what their secret formula is. No idea what they take into account before deciding to promote an indie author. I have no blessed idea, but I’m sure glad they took a chance on me. And when they take that chance on you – be sure to tell me! I want to be one of the firsts to congratulate you and help spread the word for you 🙂
It’s good to hear about another of us make it. I applaud you for your choices and congratulate you on your success. What a lovely, heartwarming post. WRITE ON!
*making it* LOL
A friend sent me your story and I am so inspired!! I recently left my publishing company and it is daunting to start over again. However, when I see your story I realized I did it once, I can do it again and there is hope I can do it well. What a wonderful blessing, keep up the amazing work.
Janiera – you can do it again! It’s been 2 1/2 months now – how is the journey?
Excellent post and good advice. None of us would have careers as authors without our readers.
Steena, thanks for posting this awesome article! God has truely blessed you, what an amazing thing to get out of debt! Our first book: Night Marchers had this happen as well. The only draw back is this happened after it was made free! Grrr 🙂 I am really hoping they pick up on our other books! While we do have some sales, they aren’t like what you’re talking about. Again, thanks for the encouragement!
Courtney, that must have been frustrating! Have they noticed your other books yet?
Yes, and no. Yes we have several hundred downloads on our other series (which in my opinion knocks the socks off the other one) so that is nice. I know deep down though, that if we got picked up and advertised by Amazon the sky would be the limit 😉
Awesome story Steena, and so happy for you and your accomplishments. It gives hope to the rest of us who wonder when I’ll turn will come, or when will we get our lucky break.
This may seem crazy, but I don’t know the answer so I’ll ask…what is the promotions that Amazon is doing for you? Is it a feature in their e-newsletter, promo’s on FB and Twitter, if you liked that- you’ll like this, etc?
HI Tracy. Amazon has a ‘best books for 3.99 or less’ that they highlight monthly. They put Finding Emma on sale and included it in their promotion. It was featured in their emails they sent out and on a banner they had going on their website. I hope that helps!
Hi Steena! Sorry I missed your achievement the first time around, but a HUGE congratulations on your success. You most certainly deserve it! 🙂
Francelia, you are too sweet! Thank you!
Steena – I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found you. I took a chance on your book and I couldn’t have been more pleased. I not only read a book that touched my heart and soul, but after I found your website my spirits were lifted and everything looked a little brighter (I’m laid-off, going thru a divorce with 3 daughters, lost my house, …) You are a true inspiration! I can’t wait to get the sequel to Finding Emma. You truly have a gift . . . thank you for sharing it with us!
Jean, first off – thank you for taking a chance of Finding Emma. I’m glad that something so simple as my website (which puts a smile on my face as well) can help. I’m sorry for what you are going through right now – with three daughters, you are a strong woman and don’t ever think otherwise!
Incredible. I am so pleased for you. Would love to see a post on the kind of things you tried or thought got you noticed.
Awesome Steena! You are a true inspiration!
Steena, dear, it has been such a blast to follow you along on this ride! You had a dream combined with great talent and a commitment to your craft. Your success is well-deserved. We are all anxiously awaiting your next release!
Patricia, it’s having friends like you stand beside me in this journey that helps me be successful! Together – we can do anything!
Wow, I am so happy for you! You wrote a great book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t wait for perhaps a sequel!?
Thank you Mary Jane! I’ll have more news about Emma’s Secret coming soon – the sequel to Finding Emma. I’ll keep you posted 🙂
So exciting Steena. And such good advice. You are an inspiration to us all. Now back to my wip.
Exactly Amy Jo – just keep writing!
Huge congratulations, Steena! And what a lovely post! Well done! Karen
Steena: Congratulations on your amazing success!
all i can say is WOW! and CONGRATS! your hard work–and talent–paid off big time!
Thank you so much Alan! It has been quite the ride being indie. Last month was an amazing month and this book has seen so much success.
All your hard work and dedication is paying off, Steena. I am very happy for you. And I love Finding Emma. Can’t wait to read Emma’s Secret 🙂
Thanks Angela 😉
Congratulations, Steena! You’re an exceptional role model. Because of your kind, giving nature, I’ve learned so much from you. You totally deserve this success! Enjoy!
wait till it happens to you Brenda!
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! that is all.
It’s a great cause for celebration, isn’t it? Knowing how far you can go as an indie?
Fantastic news, Steena. All of us are so proud of you, and my wishes are with you for it to continue. Your post was perfect, also. There is no secret. If you keep writing good books, things happen. Bravo!
Whoo hoo!!! SO HAPPY for you!! Sending hot dang hugs! And sincere thanks for sharing. Happy writing!
Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing. Your advice is spot on–focus on writing and our readers.
Your fourth paragraph should be a fiction writer’s mission statement!! Congratulations, Steena!!!
Agreed Heather! It should be about our writing and our readers. Keep those things in mind and you can’t fail. No matter what your genre is.
Big congrats! Making 5000 a month sounds incredible to me, let alone 100K. My debut releases with a small press in November, but I’m already counting the days for my indie release. Do you have a post somewhere on your initial success? Thanks!
Thanks Stacy! Can’t wait till your debut release comes out – November isn’t that far off! When when is your indie release coming out? My initial success was back in April for my debut month – that month rocked my world and proved to me that it could be done!
I just sent the indie release to my developmental editor yesterday, and right now I’m planning a March release. My debut comes out November 30th, and I’m trying to space things out accordingly. I’ll have another book ready for late fall, so still tweaking dates. Can I ask what you did for your debut month that worked so well? Other than write a great book of course? Thanks!
Are you excited? Hmm…what did I do? I used Goodreads to my advantage – had a contest, got involved in groups as a reader, did a blog tour and offered my book up for a soft release to garner some reviews from readers.
Yes, I am. And nervous. I need to work harder at Goodreads. I have a decent friends list but don’t engage in groups like I should because I find the whole system clunky. I’ve already set all my blog tours up for the debut release, so a soft release isn’t an option, but I’m definitely doing that for the indie. Thanks!
Wow! That’s amazing. I hope I can be as successful.
You can be Beth!
Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your achievements. You are a good role model.
Congrats!! That’s awesome! I am new at the publishing game, and love being independent so I have control over things – it’s great to know that the hard work and perserverence do pay off. :o) Now take a vacation!
HA! Vacation? I should…and will…but I need to start on a new book 🙂
Yay! So happy for you. And those numbers are truly incredible. You have every right to dine on chocolate and dance around your house! And shout on your blog if you want to!
Dine and dance – what a great idea Laura 🙂 Thanks darlin! The numbers are amazing, aren’t they! I’ve read about them from other authors but never thought I’d see them one day. I’ve learned my lesson about not dreaming big enough….
Thanks for sharing all that, Steena – I think it helps all of us indie authors to know what’s possible, even if we have no control over it. Now, off you go and enjoy every minute of your outstanding success!! 🙂
Thanks Owen. We do have a measure of control – on how we interact with our readers and what we write. There’s no reason we can’t be successful – it all depends on what our own personal measure of success is 🙂
So happy for you, Steena! Your sucess is well-deserved. Focusing on our writing and on our readers is great advice.
All the best.
We are always hoping for there to be a ‘secret’ of some sort, a one step to throw us into success – but I honestly think that if we just focus on our writing and our readers, we’ll get there. Everyone’s journey will be different and how we get there will determine the steps we take for our own books – but ultimately – the only secret is to keep writing.