3 Tips to Help Your eBook Reach the New York Times Best-seller List
Just about every author I have been in contact with has the goal and dream of becoming a best-selling author. They envision seeing their eBook alongside the best-selling authors such as E.L. James, J.K. Rowling and James Patterson. Unfortunately, reality states that it is incredibly difficult to achieve best-seller status. The good news is that it can be done and is being achieved on a weekly basis. You just need to do all you can to give your eBook the best chance of making the list. If you need some incentive as a self-published author to show it can be done, then you can learn how these once unknown authors became best-selling authors:
There are many ‘best-seller’ lists going around. There are also varying criteria to determine which eBooks make the best-seller lists. Some lists are only dedicated to fiction. Some include all categories. Some lists are category specific. Due to the overwhelming higher volume of sales for fiction eBooks you will rarely see a non-fiction eBook making the list.
What Not to Do!
I always cringe when I see certain online service providers, individuals and companies guaranteeing a client that they will become a best-selling author or they have the ‘secret’ to hitting the best-seller lists. While it is tempting to take-up their service, the only likely guarantee you will get is that they fail to deliver on what they promise and the fine print in their terms of service covers this shortfall and prevents any refunds. There is one well-known author service provider that has been heavily publicised and criticized for the excessive fees they have charged self-published authors while failing to deliver on what they promise. By ‘empowering’ you with the knowledge you require to take on these marketing tasks we hope that you steer clear of any provider promising you they can get your eBook on the best-seller lists.
I have also come across many unique and often less than ethical tactics used by both authors and publishers to push their way onto best-seller lists. While not all of these tactics are illegal, many are considered unethical and very costly. For example;
• One wealthy author spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a company go out and order and buy his eBooks thus pushing him to best-seller status.
• One author hired a team of people to go to book stores and enquire or buy his book in large numbers thus compelling shop owners to order his book in large quantities.
• Another used a marketing firm to call / buy copies online of his eBooks thus pushing up sales volume in a given period.
• One author paid a team of students to go around and place a copy of her book on the shelves of book stores (without making the shop owner aware they were doing this) and then return the next day to buy the book. They would walk up to the counter with the book; the bookstore owner would not be able to find the book listed on their system so they would then enquire with the publisher and place orders for the book to meet the demand so as to not lose a sale.
Anytime, an author or publisher tries to push their way onto the best-seller lists by using less than ethical means they are risking their reputation and could cause permanent damage to their author brand. So let’s stay clear of these questionable ‘unique’ and ‘creative’ tactics and pursue some of the more proven ethical methods.
So What Best-seller List is Regarded as the Most Highly Respected, Important and Sought After?
That would be the The New York Times Best-sellers list. eBooks and books that hit this list receive an incredible amount of publicity via many powerful traditional media outlets. To be a New York Times best-selling author is an award that will forever drive the sales of future eBooks you publish.
How Does The New York Times Compile this List?
They get their data directly from bookstores as well as from Nielson Bookscan. BookScan claim to cover about 75% of all stores. To learn more visit The New York Times
How Many Books Do You Need to Sell to Make these Best-seller lists?
Unfortunately there is not always one definitive answer. There is no magic sales volume number that will put your eBook on a list. Sales volume throughout the year varies and understandably the highest sales volume tends to be around Christmas when people are buying eBooks and books as gifts. Fiction eBooks will also sell in higher volume so lists that just take into account sales volume will often exclude non-fiction eBooks.
How Can I Track Sales of My eBooks?
I recommend you check out Amazon Author Central. This is a free service where you will be able to view your BookScan numbers and your Amazon sales. This can help give you an idea of how far off your sales are compared to those eBooks hitting the best-seller lists.
Here are 3 Tips to Help Your eBook Reach the Best-seller Lists:
1. Identify the Stores that Report Sales Data
There are some online and offline stores that do not report sales data so any eBook or book you sell on this site will not receive the credit you deserve. Most small online stores to not report specific sales to reporting companies so even if you sell 1,000 copies a week, no-one will know about your success. So, identify those stores and publishers (Amazon, Kobo, Penguin) that do report sales that can influence your chances of hitting the best-seller lists. If you wish to increase the chances of your eBook hitting the New York Times best-seller list then you will want to ensure that you ask each and every store selling your eBook if they report to The New York Times.
2. Pre-Orders Launch eBooks to the Best-seller lists
There is a reason why Amazon and other online stores all provide readers with the opportunity to ‘pre-order’ a soon-to-be released eBook. ‘Pre-orders’ can launch an eBook onto the best-seller lists as soon as it is published as there may be thousands of immediate sales which will be recorded in the first week of sales.
To Help Boost ‘Pre-orders’ for Your eBook You Can:
• Encourage your blog subscribers to ‘pre-order’
• Announce the publication date of your eBook on Twitter and Facebook
• Conduct a powerful ‘pre-publication’ eBook marketing campaign
• Partner with influential bloggers to talk about your upcoming eBook
• Provide an author interview and get it published on eBookAuthor.com or eBookAuthor.tv
• Write a press release announcing the publication date for your eBook and submit release to eBookPressReleases.com
• Place a banner on your author website announcing ‘pre-orders’ now available for your eBook and link directly to your eBook page on Amazon
• Conduct a live blog tour promoting your eBook
• Hold a ‘Win a Copy’ competition for your eBook using Rafflecopter
3. Time the Publication of Your eBook
If you publish your eBook near Christmas then you will experience huge amount of competition. If your eBook has a ‘theme’ or ‘specific topic’ then you may want to coincide your release date with a certain event. For example; if your eBook is about football you may release it just in time before the World Cup. If it is about the history of WW2 then you may publish it just before a WW2 anniversary or when a war story is in the news.
The key is to try and concentrate your sales in a given week as this initial boost in a given week is what will help put it on the lists. Sales spread out over a long period of time are nice in terms of receiving a constant stream of income, however; this may not be enough to get your eBook on a list.
The greatest thrill our team eBookAuthor.com gets is when one of our members hits a best-seller list or experiences great success with their writing career. If you are fortunate to hit the best-seller list then we would love to hear your story!