Amazon is the third biggest platform, right behind Google and YouTube, and is probably the easiest to become a bestseller on. It really boils down to three things:

  1. Category selection (as of now, you’re allowed up to three)
  2. Deciding which format of your book you’d like to push the most (paperback or Kindle)
  3. Timing. They update their rankings hourly. If you are ranked within the top 10 of any assigned category, even if it’s for 10 seconds, you are considered a bestseller. If you hit #1 Bestseller (NOT #1 New Release), you are a number one bestseller. 

#1 Hot New Release just means a lot of people are clicking on your book in a very short amount of time, meaning it’s a very popular item at the moment. It does not mean that you are a bestseller.

How Amazon Works

  1. Category: Out of the 3 criteria listed, category selection is the most important. You’ll want to get extra clear on which categories make the most sense for your book about 1 week out from launch (no less). This helps you stay up-to-date with which ones are doing well. By being as niche as possible with these, you will minimize the competition for yourself. 
    For example (and these are fake numbers): Fiction (1,000 titles) > Historical Fiction (500) > Alternate History (200) > Teen & Young Adult Historical Romance (100)
  2. Format: If you have a paperback and Kindle available for purchase, you would select one of those to promote and drive the most traffic to. This could be through emailing, social media, word of mouth, anything. It’s also common to do a 99 cent Kindle campaign for the first week or two of launch. 
    By bringing more attention to one of the formats, you are increasing your chances of hitting bestseller. This keeps your sales from being too split between paperback and Kindle.
  3. Timing: If you really want to create a surge to greatly increase your chances of hitting bestseller (especially #1 bestseller), it’s usually best to have your friends, family, and colleagues order the book within the same window of time. Because Amazon updates their rankings hourly, you’ll want to generate as many sales as you can within those 60 minutes. 

Success Tips

The great thing about going for an Amazon bestseller is that you really don’t need a massive campaign like some of the other lists (e.g. NYT or WSJ). But, like I mentioned, you DO need to have a large, concentrated number of sales in a single day. That’s why it’s important to choose categories that don’t have books that are too new or recent; you want minimal competition when it comes to racking up sales figures.

Here are a few tips to help you with reaching bestseller on Amazon:

Final Thoughts

There’s really not too much to it when it comes to hitting Amazon bestseller. You just want consistency in a short period of time in a category or two with minimal competition. What’s important with that, though, is making sure you’re giving yourself enough runway. It’s unrealistic to expect your book to start selling itself after it reaches bestseller. Remember, marketing is always a marathon, hardly ever a sprint.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this bestseller series over these past few weeks! As always, feel free to reach out to me directly with any thoughts, comments, or questions you might have. I’d love to hear from you!

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