Amazon Top Twenty

Dead and Kicking has been out for about six months now and I have been very happy with results. When I first published, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would anyone (besides friends and relatives) buy my book?

Top 20 zon com Apr 5

Well, the answer is yes! You have been buying it. In fact, Dead and Kicking just broke into the top twenty on yesterday. While it has been in the top twenty frequently on the site, this is the first time it has hit the top twenty in the much larger US market.

Besides being an accomplishment in itself, hitting the top twenty also has the added benefit of increasing Dead and Kicking‘s visibility on Amazon. This means that even more readers looking for something to read in urban fantasy will see Harry’s first book and hopefully buy it.

A big thank you to everyone that has already bought Dead and Kicking. Can I ask a favour though? How about leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or whatever retailer you purchased your copy from? Reviews are the fuel in the marketing engine, especially for an independent author such as myself, and now that more people are finding Dead and Kicking, your favourable review might just be the extra push they need to decide to click ‘Buy’. It’s not hard to leave a quick, honest review. It only takes a couple sentences.

book review easy

Thanks again, and don’t forget Tooth and Claw is already available and Deadlocked is set for release on June 6th! Pre-order your copy today.

We Have Your Results and the Test is Positive!

(Pssst! Looking for the Jingle Book Blog Hop? Click here.)

So about a month ago, I told you about my experiment to improve my sales on Amazon. Basically, I moved my book, Dead and Kicking, from a category that had tens of thousands of other books listed to one that fit my book but had a significantly smaller number of books listed. The idea behind this is to improve a book’s ratings and by improving the ratings, increasing sales. The lower rank a book has, the easier it is for readers to find and therefore buy.

Here’s what I mean:

Before I made the change to Dead and Kicking‘s category, it was ranked (at that particular moment) #5740 out of 307,344 books in the Parnormal & Urban category on  A person would have to be really persistent to go through the Amazon top seller’s list twenty books at a time to get to 5740, so basically unless a reader knew to look for it, they weren’t going to find Dead and Kicking.

After the change, I noticed an improvement in my rank almost immediately. The next day in fact, Dead and Kicking was ranked #140.  Not too shabby.  And it only improved from there, breaking into the top 100 in just a couple of weeks.

Things were even better on the side of things.  The day after the change in category, Dead and Kicking sky-rocketed to #27!  That meant a reader only had to decide to click over to the next page once and my book would be visible in the top sellers list.  Three days later I hit lucky #13 on the list.  In other words it was on the top screen in the list so it would be immediately visible to a prospective buyer.

Lucky 13 Nov 24 Amazon.caSo did a better rank equate with increased sales?


I wish I could say it was a dramatic increase, but it wasn’t. It was a noticeable change, however, especially on where my book was ranking higher.

As you can see from the graph below, sales were pretty steady before the change (the left side of the green line).  I was making sales but the numbers stayed pretty consistent.  After the change (as indicated by the green line), I saw steady growth in sales and momentum is continuing to build.


whitespaceIncreased visibility = increased sales

change in sales after category switch

The other thing I noticed immediately after the change is that my rank didn’t fluctuate as dramatically as it did when it was in its original category. When Dead and Kicking was first released, the rank would jump all over the place from the thousands to the hundreds and back again over the course of an hour or two.  With the new category, the fluctation is much slower and the rank usually stays constant for several hours at at time, if not the entire day.  That isn’t to say it doesn’t fluctuate at all, but the up and down swing is much shallower.

On where my rank has been the best, there is a steady momentum towards the top five.  Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before it hits #1!  It was #4 all day yesterday 🙂

So, the moral of this story? Pick the categories for your book carefully. It does make a difference!




A Needle in a Haystack

As promised, I’d like to tell you a bit about the experiment I’m trying on Amazon to see if it increases my sales (as touted by the free video series by Nick Stephenson that I watched – more details and sign up here).

A search engine browser window with a magnifying glass

Amazon is basically a huge search engine. In fact, it is the second largest search engine on the internet next to Google. To increase your sales on Amazon, beside having lots of helpful (as determined by Amazon users that read the reviews and mark them as helpful) positive reviews, you need your book to filter to the top of search results so that people can actually find and buy your book. And that’s the hard part.

The trick is to figure out what category and keywords that result in a smaller search results base best fit your book. For example, I orignally placed Dead and Kicking in the category “Science Fiction & Fantasy -> Fanatasy -> Paranormal & Urban”, a category that yields almost 39,000 results. Talk about a needle in a haystack!

So after watching the webinar, I spent an hour or so exploring categories on Amazon to try and find a better fit, i.e. a category that still applies to my book but that has less competitors. I finally settled on “Mystery & Thrillers -> Suspense -> Paranormal” which only has about 3000 books listed. Much better! What makes it even better still, is this happens to be a category on Amazon that will then use your keywords to further filter the genre. So, by adding Vampires as a keyword, suddenly the results set is 730 titles. Use the keywords Werewovles & Shifters and it’s reduced even more to a much more manageable 509 titles. The chances of a reader finding my book just got a lot better.

Will this have a noticeable result on my sales?  I sure hope so.  It’s too early to tell right now, but I will definitely keep you posted.


I Love this Review

A little part of me can’t help but go ‘Squeeee!’ when I read a review like this about Dead and Kicking.  Click on the picture below to go to the review on Amazon, and please let them know if you thought the review was helpful.  It helps.

And also, I apologize. I really didn’t think of it as a cliffhanger.  I was thinking of it as more of a hook to the next book.  Honest.

Amazon review Nov 17

Broke Amazon’s Top 100!

Well, today for one brief moment, probably more like several hours, Dead and Kicking kicked its way into the top 100 for its category on Good thing I took a screen capture, because it was fleeting at best.  This time at least.

one fleeting moment Oct27

Self-publishing a book is what you call a long game. Sure, there are some that luck out and find themselves with just the right set of circumstances at just the right time that helps them to rocket up the charts, but for the most part, it’s a slow and steady momentum as you build up your social platform and spread the word.

I think I’m doing the right things, pushing my book, but not pushing so hard that people are put off. Joining in on the conversation on Goodreads and Twitter, contributing to the communities there, without laying on a constant sales pitch. Trying to engage you, my readers both here and on Pinterest.  Getting my book out in front of bloggers and reviewers.

I think I’m succeeding.  I hope I’m succeeding.  I guess if sales continue to grow, I’ll have my answer. Hopefully next time I hit the top 100, I’ll be there to stay.