Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 2 of Huntress Moon launch and giveaway (Bestseller lists and Tag lists)

Well, how wonderful to wake up to find Huntress Moon on so many Amazon bestseller charts!  Thank you so much for Liking the book and Sharing on your Facebook pages - you are rock stars.

Right now Huntress is

#1 in Hardboiled Mysteries
#2 in Mysteries
#2 in Police Procedurals
#4 in Mystery/Thrillers
#8 in Genre Fiction
#9 in Fiction
#9 in all Free Books  (this list is a little weird to look at because it's the top books in ALL genres, and most of them are cookbooks!  If you knew how funny that was for me... But it's a great place to be, because some people just go directly there to shop.)

And this is where you want to get. Because now I can relax (kind of!) and let Amazon's incredible automatic marketing machine do the work for me (at least for my promo days!). 

If you are unfamiliar with the Amazon bestseller lists, you should click through all the links above and take a look.  The first thing you will notice is that the top free books are listed right next to the top paid bestsellers.  This is the most awesome part of the Kindle Select free promo. If you can make it to those charts (and that's a big IF that we will talk about in subsequent posts) you get this kind of incredible exposure for up to five days in a row (though it's generally advised that you don't do a free promo for more than three days in a row, which I'll talk about).

A lot of people use those charts as one stop shopping for their reading material, just like in bookstores people tend to shop those front table displays of bestsellers. Exact same principle. The MAJOR perk of being a bestselling published author is that your publisher will pay bookstores a great deal of money to make sure that YOUR book is on that front table.  And they don't pay that co-op money for midlist authors, which is what used to ensure that midlist authors stayed on the midlist.

But with an Amazon Select promo, you can get your book on the equivalent of that front table - of the biggest bookstore in the world - for free.  It levels the playing field in an amazing way.

Currently in Mystery/Thrillers, I'm on the Top Ten charts next to incredible bestselling authors like Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Deborah Harkness, Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz and Gillian Flynn.  My book and my name is being associated with thriller writers of that caliber.

And these charts result in some fantastic random placements.

For example, if you look at the Mystery/Thrillers page (at this moment, it changes hourly!) you'll see Huntress right next to Catherine Coulter's Backfire.  This is a wonderful placement for me because Coulter writes a bestselling FBI series, and... well, look!  There's a new FBI series you can try for FREE right next to Catherine's!  How about that?  I think I'll just click to download that and give it a try! 

When I ran Book of Shadows for free last month, I consistently ended up right on the same lines as Stephen King and Suzanne Collins.  And this month the book is still on several paid Top 100 Bestseller lists next to those same names.  I am being associated with those authors, and my book is being bought (and recommended, and praised, and passed on - because, remember, you have to start with a good book.) 

Do you see how that works?  And this exposure is to hundreds of thousands of avid readers - and moreover is AUTOMATICALLY AND SPECIFICALLY TARGETED to readers in YOUR genre.  The chances of that kind of reader (who is there specifically to buy books to begin with!) at least picking up your book to look at it (in a virtual sense!) are fantastic.

After that, it's up to you - your blurb, your reviews, your first chapter (or first page...)  But the rest of it - Amazon does for you, for free.

No number of time-intensive blog tours is going to get you even close to that kind of exposure. No way that blogging on your own is going to do it. Your Facebook posts? Well, there's a potential of going viral there, but I'm not convinced it's worth the time that you should be spending WRITING YOUR NEXT BOOK.

Also Amazon doesn't just target to your genre.  It targets to your specific SUBGENRES.

And that's where categories and tags come in.   I'm not going to go into categories yet, I'm still experimenting with my own and compiling information.   But let's just do a little more on tagging, today.

Now, I know some of you really did try the tagging exercise I asked you to do yesterday, because I saw the numbers were up on my tags this morning.  Thank you.   I have just recently understood that tagging a book will move that book higher up on a whole other set of lists, the Tag lists.  You may not even know these exist.  In fact, chances are you didn't tag my book, yesterday, because your eyes were already glazing over with information overload.

So we're going to do this again today, and this time DO IT, because what I explain next about tagging is not going to make any sense to you unless you have a basic familiarity with tags. So again:

Tag the book on the Amazon page

Go back to the Huntress Moon Amazon page and scroll down, past the book photo, past the reviews, past my photo and bio, and a bunch of tiny bookcovers to the section that says  Tags associated with this product.  In that section are lists of a bunch of descriptive phrases listed like fbi series, female killers, mystery and detective, police procedural with little boxes beside them. Click on each one of the little boxes  next to the key words and phrases you agree with (up to 15 of them) to identify the book as being about those subjects. . Or you can add tags of your own in the bigger box below the tags, or as the instructions say, by pressing the T key twice to get a box, and just entering a string of phrases like (fbi series, female killers, female serial killer, suspense thriller, serial killer, mystery and detective, police procedural, hard boiled mystery, psychological thriller ) etc.  

That moves the book higher on a list of books about those subjects.  Try this now - click through some of the tags to see the book lists that those tags take you to.

Clicking on Female serial killer  will take you to a top ranked list of books about female serial killers.  Well, look at that!  Huntress Moon is #1!  So anyone who searches for books by tags and is looking for female serial killer novels will find my book first.

If you click FBI seriesHuntress Moon is #4, right at the top of the line.  Fantastic!

If you click beach mystery, Huntress is #1.

Now,  you only get 15 tags for any one book so you must choose wisely, and this can get obsessive.  You have to have SO many tags to show up on the Top 100 tag list for police procedurals, for example, not to mention an overstuffed category like "thrillers", that you may want to use that tag for something more specific where you have a shot at getting better placement on the list. But I would love it if when you click on tags for me, you include "suspense thriller" and "psychological thriller", which will give Huntress a better placement in those very competitive categories.  Remember, tags are not about you RATING the book, they're just about identifying what the subject matter is.

Also, you can go back and change your own tag selections any time you want, so don't worry, there's no pressure here!

We will have a WHOLE post on tags and how important they are, and you should definitely do them for your own books, and any other book you like. But first, go through the above and tag, so that you know how to do it and will hopefully remember it's important.  

So that's enough for this post, I think - I probably tried to cover too much yesterday!

If you need to catch up, though, here are related posts on e publishing:

The Madness of Marketing
Letting it Ride (Kindle Select promotion)
Bestseller lists and Tag lists
Liking, Sharing and Tagging 
My e publishing decision 
To Nook or Not to Nook? 
Giving it Away (Kindle Select promotion)

And please, ask questions.

And obviously - Huntress Moon is still free today and tomorrow, if you haven't downloaded your copy yet!

- Alex


Jenni Legate said...

So glad you told us about the tags - I will do that now!

I'm on Chapter 8 and enjoying it.

Thanks Alex!

Virginia said...

I'm so happy for you! Thank you for sharing your precious advices!

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Jenni, it's a whole new world! Good for you - you're listening to me. ;) Free Amazon advertising, how can you pass it up?

And thanks for the update! Glad you're liking it.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hevonie, hi! Thank you, that's sweet. And you're very welcome.

Chemist Ken said...

I'd heard that Amazon was changing things so that downloading books for free was no longer affecting rankings as much as it used to. Have you found this to be true?

Alexandra Sokoloff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Ken, I hear that everywhere, too. Now, I just got my backlist back from my publisher, so I didn't have the benefit of that Gold Rush that happened at the beginning of this year, so I can't speak to the difference personally, but as I understand it Amazon has changed its ranking system so that a free book only counts one third as much as a sold book, which means that everyone and their mother who puts up a freebie are no longer cleaning up on it.

But personally I think that's a good thing. For a few months, ANYONE could make a fortune on Amazon, but that's no way to sell books, really, is it? Quality should count for something.

I put my thriller Book of Shadows up for a free promo last month - NOT a new title - but since that giveaway, I'm making more than I need to live on, on that book alone, now. It's holding steady in ranks and sales. And I don't have all my eggs in that basket, by any means, it's just one income stream that was extremely juiced by the free promotion.

So I think if you know how to work the Amazon system and have a good book (which I KNOW Book of Shadows is...), the Kindle Select promotion is still working just fine. Not just for me, but for a lot of other authors I know.

But I'm not looking to win the lottery, although I'm not going to turn it down. I want to make sure I'm making a comfortable living while reaching the readers I want to reach and writing the books I want to write and building my retirement and living the life I want to live through multiple income streams and ONLY writing.

And I'm doing that just fine, and OH, Kindle Select is making that so very possible.