3 Self-Publishing Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs

Self-publishing is as much about avoiding the wrong things as it is doing the right things.

I’m a strong advocate that almost any self-publishing tactic can work well if applied properly and mastered.

However, doing the wrong things will always hurt you, each and every time.

The following are some of the main mistakes I’ve seen people make. Avoid them at all costs!

Ignoring Your Competitors

While it’s definitely more important to work on your own goals and projects than it is to focus on your competitors, a balance needs to be struck.

Too many self-publishers take the ‘indie’ label to heart and see themselves as being totally independent and unique. This is a massive mistake. As humans, we learn a lot better when we pay attention to the moves others are making.

After all, none of us has all the knowledge and experience. It, therefore, makes sense to benefit from the perspectives and insights that others have.

Some of the ways to apply this principle effectively include –

  • Scheduling a set time for competitor research. This allows you to strike the right balance between paying attention to what others are doing and working on your own projects.
  • Look outside of your niche. As authors, we run the risk of getting stuck in an echo chamber, where we only hear ideas and thoughts similar to our own. This can be amplified further if we keep a small circle, such as authors within the same specific genre as us.
  • Look outside of self-publishing all together. For example, Kyle of fooddeliveryyguru.com releases a mix of interesting content types, such as his recent guide to smoothie services. His mix of content has inspired several ideas for future articles of my own, albeit applied to self-publishing.
  • Keep an ear to the ground. Often, hot topics in the self-publishing community, such as changes to CreateSpace royalty payment dates, will emerge in the forums and Facebook groups before they make it to the blog posts. By keeping an ear to the ground, you stand to benefit from the hottest news out there.
  • Deliberately listen to people you disagree with. From an ego perspective, it can be nice to only listen to people who hold similar views as us. However, sometimes people we don’t agree with are actually the ones we need to be listening to most.

This is by no means a suggestion to rip off your competitors, or to spend too much of your time keeping an eye on them.

However, you need to devote at least some of your time to keep an eye on what’s going on out there, otherwise, you run the risk of missing out on important knowledge or information.

Reinventing The Wheel

Similarly to how many self-publishers neglect the importance of carrying out competitor analysis, as described above, many also try to reinvent the wheel which, as we all know, costs a pretty penny.

It’s good to be creative. It’s good to be original. However, it takes a certain level of arrogance and a lack of realism to feel you are doing something truly original.

After all, even Shakespeare’s stories were based on existing tales! Are you better than William? Are you?

Some of the ways this problem manifests include –

  • Failing to respect genre tropes and conventions for your book cover. Readers don’t care enough to look past whatever creative intention you had at the time.
  • Refusing to place your work in any particular genre. There are genres for almost everything. If you feel your work can’t be classified, you probably don’t know it well enough.
  • Ignoring marketing ideas that are tried and tested, such as an author website, or building an author mailing list. No one is above the process.
  • Failing to benefit from the mistakes others have made. There’s nothing noble about being easily avoidable errors in the name of being stubborn. It’s a lot smarter to stand on the shoulders of giants, and benefit from the trial and error of those who have walked the path before you.

There’s no harm or shame in being creative or trying something original. However, failing to at least consider tried and tested good and bad ideas is a foolish level of arrogance that will condemn you to a certain frustration and failure.

Failing To Use Tools To Grow

Some writers take a weird pride in being Luddites.

I’m sure you know the type. Writers who take a weird pride in not having a smartphone or some other quirk.

While I’m not a slave to any piece of tech, nor am I a blind advocate for tech I do strongly feel that many authors miss out on valuable opportunities offered to them by tech tools.

Some of the opportunities I see people miss out on include –

  • Not generating keywords automatically for their AMS or other advertising campaigns. There is nothing noble about doing this by hand! Give yourself a chance guys.
  • Not using editing tools or digital writing coaches, such as ProWritingAid. Yes, human editors are awesome, irreplaceable people. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t waste their time by not using a writing checker first.
  • Not being open to using tools such as book title generators to help you break through a creative impasse.
  • Failing to carry out any type of keyword research or SEO for author blogs. Why waste your valuable writing time and effort on a post if no one is even going to read it? Wouldn’t you rather help people by offering something they are actually searching for?

Like all things in self-publishing and in life, there’s a happy middle ground to be struck when it comes to using tools. Don’t come to rely on them too much, but also don’t overlook the genuine ways they could benefit you as an author and self-publisher.


Why Book Covers Matter For Marketing

Often, the most powerful aspects of book marketing are overlooked due to their simplicity.

A lot of self-publishers fall into the trap of seeking out super-complex marketing strategies in the hope of gaining an edge over their competition. While the more advanced aspects of book marketing are indeed powerful, and important, it’s important not to overlook the basics.

One of the most important marketing factors playing into your book’s success is its cover. People believe in the saying that books aren’t judged by their covers. In actual fact, they absolutely are.

Your book’s cover is one of the most important influences the first impression a potential buyer has of your work.

Read on to discover three ways in which your book’s cover is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal.

Catching A Reader’s Attention

When book browsers are checking out online marketplaces, such as Amazon’s Kindle store, they are overwhelmed by a wide range of titles.

The sheer volume of book titles available via the Kindle platform means that book buyers don’t spend too much time looking at any one book. It’s important to have a cover which is able to grab a reader’s attention and cause them to stop and consider the book further.

Some of the key factors to make a book’s cover worthy of a browser’s attention are the colors it uses, the size and font of the title and author name, the image used for the background and the brightness and other technical aspects of the cover.

There is no one size fits all formula for a great book cover. Different things work in different genres, and trends come and go over time.

However, it’s vital to avoid certain key mistakes, which are always sure to repel readers.

Making a book cover too crowded means it is not easy on the eye and not persuasive for readers to pay closer attention. Making the title or author name in too small text also puts readers off checking out a book further.

Perhaps the key mistake self-publishers make is creating their cover themselves, without really knowing what they are doing. This almost always results in an amateur cover which makes the entire book seem low-quality, regardless of the written content.

Showing Your Book Fits Expectations

The second reason that your book’s cover is crucial for marketing is that it informs a reader what your book is about.

Titles aren’t always clear, especially in the case of fiction. However, different genres have particular conventions and expectations when it comes to book covers.

If you check out a genre section of the Kindle store, you will soon see that there are conventions in terms of color, type of image, style of font etc. for that particular genre. A horror book, for example, will tend to have darker colors and images than a romance book.

When browsing through an online book store, your book’s cover allows a reader to make a snap judgement as to whether your book is a good match for their expectations in terms of genre.

To utilize this to your advantage, make sure that your book cover design is appropriate and is well received by readers of the genre. Test this ahead of time to see whether your potential cover feels right to actual fans of the specific genre you are writing in. Many self-publishers make the mistake of asking other authors, rather than fans of the genre, for their opinion. Feedback is only useful from the right people.

Don’t miss out on the chance to show readers that your book is right for them. Respect genre conventions.

Showcasing Your Title And Author Name

When you really think about it, what is book marketing all about?

Getting your name out there as an author, and making readers aware of your book titles, right?

Your book titles are a prime opportunity to get your author name and book titles out there in front of the eyes of readers.

This can happen in a variety of ways. Firstly, on online bookstores themselves. Even if book buyers don’t choose your title on a particular occasion, they still become familiar with your author name by being exposed to it. Book covers are also often featured on promotional sites, in online advertising, and in mailing list mailouts. As a result of that, it’s important that your author name, and book title, are clearly visible against the backdrop of your image.

If you spend some time checking out books released by major publishers, and unsuccessful self-published books, you will notice that the title and author text is always very clear on the professional books, and is often less so on the self-published books. There are countless comedy lists showcasing the worst book covers ever, just in case you need a clear example of what to avoid!

The bottom line is that making your author name and book title unclear on your cover hurts you in two ways. It not only ensures that readers miss out on being exposed to your brand – but it also brands your book as unprofessional and low quality.

Book Cover Marketing Summary

Hopefully by now you see that –

Book covers are a crucial marketing factor
Book covers should grab a browser’s attention
Your cover shows your book is right for a genre
Your author name and book title should be clearly displayed

As much as we might like to think otherwise, readers do judge books by their covers.

Don’t miss out on a prime marketing opportunity.

Give your cover the attention it deserves, and you will reap the benefits in extra sales and visibility.


How To Market Your Book - Expert Methods & Resources

Do you ever feel like your book is a tiny fish in a vast ocean swimming with larger, meaner predators?

If you are struggling to get your book noticed, don’t become despondent. It doesn’t necessarily mean your work is bad. You definitely shouldn’t give up. Instead, learn how to market your book.

I’m a firm believer that the majority of self-publishers have more trouble marketing their work than they do create it. Completing the creation of a book, from its initial idea to its final rewrite, is a mammoth task in and of itself. It’s not surprising that writers often have little energy left in the tank for marketing. Plus, there are a seemingly endless array of marketing tactics and methods. It can be difficult to know which to trust and which to avoid.

Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Read on to discover the best ways to market your book, as taught by some of the biggest names in the game.

Build Your Author Mailing List

Building an author mailing list is one of the most effective ways to market your book out there. After all, who better to market to than a list of people who have expressed interest in, or even purchased, your work in the past?

According to Jeff Goins, an author mailing list is so effective because it is personal, private and in your control. You don’t have to rely on a platform like Facebook. Instead, you can reach out to your readers directly and start a conversation.

A top tip for getting started is to offer something of value for free. People are far more likely to offer their email address if they know they will be getting something in return. This could be a short story, an excerpt from a nonfiction book, or a chapter of a full novel.

Investing the time into building your mailing list will let you market your books in one of the most effective and targeted ways far into the future.

Use The Best Book Promotion Sites

One of the keys to generating momentum for a newly launched book is to ensure it gets a lot of attention early on. Book promotion sites are one of the most effective ways to generate interest in your work, particularly if you are relatively unknown. An effective book promotion site is able to put your work in front of readers who would never have been otherwise exposed to it.

There is a mix of free and paid book promotion sites, but not all are created equal. It’s important to understand how exactly each site will promote your book, and who it will be promoted to. Some sites offer targeted services to fans of particular genres or topics. It’s always better to target the readers most likely to read your type of book rather than irrelevant and uninterested fans of other genres.

If you are thinking of spending money on a book promotion service, please do your homework first. Check that they have a solid track record of getting results, and take the time to compare their pricing and benefits to whatever else is out there. It’s good to invest in a paid book promotion site but invest carefully. Be cautious.

Showcasing Your Title And Author Name

When you really think about it, what is book marketing all about?

Getting your name out there as an author, and making readers aware of your book titles, right?

Your book titles are a prime opportunity to get your author name and book titles out there in front of the eyes of readers.

This can happen in a variety of ways. Firstly, on online bookstores themselves. Even if book buyers don’t choose your title on a particular occasion, they still become familiar with your author name by being exposed to it. Book covers are also often featured on promotional sites, in online advertising, and in mailing list mailouts. As a result of that, it’s important that your author name, and book title, are clearly visible against the backdrop of your image.

If you spend some time checking out books released by major publishers, and unsuccessful self-published books, you will notice that the title and author text is always very clear on the professional books, and is often less so on the self-published books. There are countless comedy lists showcasing the worst book covers ever, just in case you need a clear example of what to avoid!

The bottom line is that making your author name and book title unclear on your cover hurts you in two ways. It not only ensures that readers miss out on being exposed to your brand – but it also brands your book as unprofessional and low quality.

Run Facebook Ads For Authors

Facebook advertising can be a true game-changer for authors. The benefits are myriad. Targeted Facebook ads can build your author mailing list, grow your Facebook fans and drive traffic towards your free downloads.

Running your first Facebook advertising campaign as an author can be a little intimidating. If you keep the following keys in mind, it should simplify and demystify the process a little.

Target.

Facebook has over 1.8 billion active monthly users. This sounds awesome but is actually a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can use Facebook ads to reach almost anyone on the planet. On the other, the vast majority do not and will not care about what you have to offer. Target your ads to the most filtered, niche audience possible, and you will see a lot better results.

Budget.

One of the discouraging aspects of Facebook ads for many authors is the worry that the cost and duration of an advertising campaign will spiral out of control. You need to set a strict budget and duration for your campaign. This will allow you to keep your expenditure in check, allowing greater profit overall.

Monitor.

By running different campaigns, for example by targeting different sets of Facebook users, you can assess what is and isn’t working with your Facebook advertising efforts and make changes accordingly. Only by monitoring your ads can you make effective changes to campaigns and invest money into what’s working instead of what isn’t.

Implement Amazon Book Ads

Amazon Book advertising is lesser known and lesser used than Facebook advertising. It can be considered one of the current ‘hot topics’ in ebook marketing, and with good reason. Amazon has made key improvements to their advertising targeting and, as a result, authors are seeing better results than they have in the past. Why?

Amazon is a buyer’s platform. Its users are all shoppers with a history of buying behavior that Amazon understands. This does not apply to Facebook.

Amazon book ads are probably the best chance to get your ads in front of fans of similar authors and styles of writing. If you target your ads, you stand a great chance of reaching readers that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.

How To Market Your Book? Take Action

Marketing your book effectively requires you to get your hands dirty and take a risk. The methods for marketing your book in this post are tried and tested, but they need to be tried and tested by you.

Truthfully, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing books. Learning how to market your book specifically is something which requires you to test different platforms, monitor your results and understand the reasons why your efforts are or are not working.

By combining the ideas and methods of the book marketing experts listed above with your own firsthand experience, you stand a great chance of experiencing book marketing success.


How To Find A Winning Book Idea

Writing a book is an exciting and consuming task.

It’s easy to get caught up in the process of creation without thinking carefully about the commercial prospects of the work.

Not every book needs to be written with a purely financial motive. After all, there’s nothing wrong with creating for the sake of doing so. On the other hand, the time and money spent on creating a brand new book are in no way insignificant. After pouring your heart and soul, not to mention many months or even years of your life into creating something special, it’s great to have your efforts validated with significant sales.

So how do you give your book the best possible chance of success?

It’s essential to think from a marketing perspective before you write your first word. The first stage in the marketing process is market research. The basic purpose of market research is to make sure there is demand for your idea, and that you have a chance of offering something better than the existing books on your idea.

Assessing demand and competitive potential can be achieved either manually or through the use of specialist software. We’ll now take a look at both approaches.

Researching Your Book Idea

A common piece of advice offered to writers is to ‘write what you know’. While it’s definitely important to have knowledge and enthusiasm about your chosen subject matter, it’s not enough to guarantee that your output will be well-received.

It’s important to ensure that a market exists for your book and people will be served by the information or story you provide.

Google and Amazon are two of the most useful places to assess the demand for your book idea.

Using the free tool KWFinder, you can put search phrases related to your book idea into the tool, and it will return ideas on the types of related topics people are actively interested in, along with relative demand levels, as seen below.

As we can see from the above image, ‘learn to play guitar’ is a more popular search topic than ‘guitar lessons for beginners’. If you were thinking about writing a book of this nature, you would already have a clearer idea of what people really want.

While checking for demand on Google isn’t exactly the same as checking on Amazon, it still indicates the extent in general that people are interested in your topic.

KDP Rocket is software which allows you to check out a wealth of data related to your book idea.

As seen below, after you enter an initial phrase related to your idea, KDP Rocket will provide a list of relevant topics that people are searching for on both Google and Amazon. In addition to showing the demand on Google, KDP Rocket also estimates the level of demand for your idea on Amazon.

The benefit of estimating the level of demand on Amazon is it helps to ensure that people are actually willing to pay money for your book idea. After all, there are a lot of topics which would interest people enough to search for on Google, but not to spend money on to buy an actual book.

This process of research can also help your creativity. By checking out what people are looking for on Google and on Amazon, you may be pointed in a slightly different direction than you had assumed.

Whichever way you decide to carry out your book research process, doing so gives you the peace of mind to proceed with writing, safe in the knowledge that people are legitimately interested in what you have to offer, and are ready to spend money on it.

Researching The Competition

If you’re thinking of buying a book, the odds are you don’t impulsively click ‘buy’ on the first book that seems slightly relevant. After all, the online book marketplace is so vast, there are almost always multiple books related to any given topic.

Instead, book buyers are likely to consider the various upsides and downsides of the books on offer to them and choose the most appealing option.

Some of the factors that affect the competitive appeal of any given book include the –

⦁ Book Cover. Readers DO judge books by their cover, so if you spot only awful looking covers on your competitor’s books, you know exactly where your potential competitive advantage exists.
⦁ Reviews. Book buyers will consider the number of reviews, the overall review score and also the quality of the reviews, such as whether they are verified or written in an authentic way.
⦁ Subtitle. A book’s subtitle can drive home the message of what a book is about, and also help it show up in the search results for certain phrases. Finding competing books with poor or nonexistent subtitles is a great area of opportunity.
⦁ Book Description. Chances are, if a book looks appealing, a potential buyer will take the time to read its description. The enticing and well-presented book description is an effective way to convert an interested browser into a definite buyer. If the competing books have badly written or ugly descriptions, you know how to gain an advantage.

Just as with your initial idea search, your competition research can be carried out either manually or using KDP Rocket.

To carry out the process manually, spend some time browsing around Kindle, or your online bookstore of choice, and open all of the books which would potentially compete against yours in new browser tabs.

Make notes on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of the books, and note down opportunities you have to beat out your rivals with a better offering.

If you decide to use KDP Rocket to analyze your competition, you’ll see a screen like this –

Without having to leave KDP Rocket, you are able to quickly and easily see the following competitive data related to your book idea –

⦁ Age of book
⦁ If your chosen keyword is in the book’s title and subtitle
⦁ How many reviews a competing book has
⦁ The review score of any competing book
⦁ The book’s sales page
⦁ Competing book covers

This allows you to carefully find a competitive angle without having to go through the laborious manual process of endless browser tabs and notes.

Regardless of whether you choose to carry out manual research or instead opt for KDP Rocket, you need to answer the following simple questions when researching your competition –

⦁ Is it realistic for my book to compete with those already on offer?
⦁ What are the strengths of my competitors?
⦁ What are the weaknesses of my competitors?
⦁ What is the smartest approach for my own book?

If you find the competitive situation for your book is too strong to overcome, think of going for a more nuanced and niche approach to your initial idea. Narrow down the focus of your book, and you may well find a more appealing competitive reality.

Book Market Research Final Thoughts

We’ve now seen the two most important aspects of book market research. To recap, you should always –

⦁ Make sure people are interested in your idea, and willing to pay money for it
⦁ Check whether you stand a chance of competing with existing books
⦁ Assess specific ways that your book can outdo the competition
⦁ Consider finding a more niche or narrow book idea if the competition looks too difficult

Have you had any personal experience in carrying out the market research process for books? What’s worked well for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.


Kindle Categories

Kindle categories cannot be overlooked.

Spend some time around the self-publishing community and you will come across countless tales of authors crafting well-written books, agonizing over their choice of cover, and testing out titles.

Despite all of this effort, the book doesn’t sell as well as it could.

Why?

Many writers overlook the magical marketing ingredient of Kindle categories.

There’s a commonly held belief that categories are nothing more than a browsing aid for buyers. This is far from the truth.

Read on to discover the benefits that come with careful category selection and a step by step method to figure out the best Kindle categories. You will also learn about a way to simplify the entire process.

Kindle Categories – Why Bother?

I get it. Categories are boring. After creating an awesome book, choosing categories may seem like a pointless formality.

Don’t fall into this trap!

If you take the time to understand Kindle categories and make them work for you, there are three major benefits you stand to experience. They basically boil down to one thing – more sales.

MAKE YOUR EBOOK STAND OUT TO BUYERS

A bestselling book instantly sounds attractive.

Even the most famous lists of bestselling works, like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, use categories. If you make the monthly New York Times list for a book category like Espionage or Expeditions, you still have a New York Times bestseller.

Amazon also recognizes bestsellers – however, there are over 13,000 categories you can potentially become a bestseller in!

No-one is claiming that an Amazon bestselling book carries the same credibility as a New York Times bestseller.

However, Amazon will mark bestsellers with an orange icon, as seen below.

Put yourself in the shoes of an Amazon browser. If you saw a book with the bestseller icon, up against books without it, which would immediately catch your attention?

Interestingly, a book with a ‘bestseller’ icon does not mean it has sold more copies than a book without one – it just means that the book is doing better within its particular category.

The immediate visual attraction of the bestseller icon cannot be overstated. This is one major reason why following the steps to find the right categories is so essential.

AMAZON INTERNAL PROMOTION

If you manage to make the top 10 within any Amazon eBook category, you will reap benefits that extend beyond the boundaries of the category.

Buyers won’t have to come across your book’s sales page through chance – Amazon will actively promote your book within your chosen categories, and in others.

Ranking within the top 10 of any category also makes Amazon more likely to make your book a ‘recommended buy’.

Promoting a book is one of the hardest and most frustrating aspects for most writers. Why not let Amazon do some of the work for you? By taking Kindle categories seriously, Amazon will help your book to sell more copies.

AMAZON EXTERNAL PROMOTION

You’ve already seen how Amazon will promote your book within its own system if you take the time to rank within a particular category.

Guess what?

Amazon’s marketing efforts reach far beyond their own site.

If you have ever seen an email suggesting a list of books to buy based on your previous purchases or come across a Facebook ad which seems to understand your eBook preferences, this is no coincidence.

Think about it. Amazon will spend resources on external marketing for books which are ranking well – after all, Amazon stands to profit.

By ranking well within a category, yourself and Amazon both stand to benefit through external marketing exposure leading to better sales.

Now that you know categories can help Amazon do the hard work for you, read on to discover the exact process for category selection.

How To Choose The Best Amazon Keywords

Let’s take a look at the step by step process through which you will be able to make Kindle categories work for you.

The phases will be illustrated through the situation of someone exploring potential categories for a gardening book they wish to release. Gardening is a broad topic – but you will soon see that it has a lot of potential to uncover some great, specific niche Kindle categories.

PHASE 1 – COMPETITOR RESEARCH

The first stage to finding the most important Kindle categories for your book is to begin browsing through your competitors’ offerings.

A lot of the time, you may not be able to find any categories outside of the obvious ones you were already aware. However, now and then, you will be able to come across a great, obscure category that never even crossed your mind – heck, you might not have known it even existed.

You want to check each competing book out, one by one, and scroll down until you come across the following data –

From this image, you can see that the book has several categories.

PHASE 2 – FIND THE MOST SPECIFIC NICHES

When it comes to Kindle categories, it is always wise to go as specific and niche as possible.

Many Kindle writers make the mistake of choosing a broad category for their book, rather than delving deeper into the dark, dense jungle of Amazon subcategories.

In the following image, you will see that underneath the broader category, there are a range of smaller, more specific categories that can be chosen.

Put yourself in the shoes of an Amazon browser. If you could find a more specific, specialized category that more closely related to what you wanted, you’d choose it wouldn’t you?

By putting your books into these highly specialized categories, you stand a much greater chance of reaching the right readers for your work.

PHASE 3 – CATEGORY COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

After following the first two steps to this method, you should have a wide range of potential categories in which to place your book.

Knowing the categories is not, on its own, enough – you need to know which categories are good options, and which are less favorable.

The guide by which you will evaluate your identified categories is easy – how competitive are they?

Sadly, Amazon does not directly tell you how many books are selling within a particular category.

 

PHASE 4 – COMPETITOR SALES RANK

The number of competing books within a particular category is not the only evaluation you need to carry out.

On the surface, a category with 3 books competing in it, and a category with 300 books competing in it may be an obvious decision.

But what if the 300 books weren’t selling, and the 3 books were selling like hotcakes and were written by some author with the last name ‘Rowling’?

Knowing how well a competing book is selling is important in judging how easily you will be able to compete against it.

As a general guideline, books ranking between the 100,00 and and 30,000 mark on Amazon have the optimum combination of enough sales to be worth your time, but enough chance of you beating them out and standing a chance.

PHASE 5 – SECURE YOUR TARGET CATEGORY

Now that you’ve found your target categories and analyzed their competitive situation, that’s job done, right?
Wrong, my friend. Very wrong indeed.

Much like finding the person you want to settle down with, you’ve still got to convince Amazon to say ‘yes’ to your category marriage proposal.

Sometimes, Amazon will make it easy and offer your category to you, on a plate, at your time of publishing.

Other times, it’s a little more difficult. This guide will help you out.

Kindle Category Cheat Codes

Maybe carrying out the steps needed to find the right Kindle categories sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry to you – maybe watching paint losing moisture even sounds like a pretty fun option at this point in time.

If so, don’t worry.

https://youtu.be/kB1OvSnH1wU

Check this video out.

Kindle Spy is a small, easy to use browser extension which works with Chrome or Firefox.

It allows you to do in seconds what would take hours to carry out manually.

If you use Kindle Spy well, you will be able to recoup its cost through your first book.

The software isn’t perfect and could be improved in several ways, but it’s useful all the same.

Kindle Categories Recap

Phase 1 – Competitor Research

Phase 2- Find The Most Specific Niche Categories

Phase 3 – Category Competitor Analysis

Phase 4 – Competitor Sales Rank

Phase 5 – Secure Your Target Category

Kindle Categories Conclusion

Following the above steps will help give your book the best chance in an increasingly competitive Kindle world.

Most authors are like the citizens of The Matrix – they are plugged into a complex system and they don’t know the extent to which the evil Amazon agents manipulate their reality through aspects like categories.

You are now like Neo – you can see the Kindle Matrix for what it is – even if that reality isn’t pretty.

Knowing how to choose the right Kindle categories is like calling into a specific Matrix phone booth – you give yourself the best chance of survival in a crazy code based world.


Fake Amazon Reviews

It can be difficult to find out exactly which money making ideas on Amazon are worth your time and effort.

If you are new to the world of Amazon then you will come across a lot of conflicting advice online.

It seems like almost everyone out there has a philosophy on the right and wrong way to make the most of Amazon – in fact many people are looking to sell you a product such as a course or an ebook on that very topic.

Due to the fact that so many people have vested interests in persuading you they know what they are talking about when it comes to Amazon, people will often cut corners and seek to present to you slightly scammy, black or grey hat tactics for earning income through Amazon.

One such tactic you might come across is the practice of buying or otherwise arranging fake reviews for a product, such as an ebook, which you have for sale on Amazon.

Allow me to set out this article’s position on this topic unequivocally – just don’t do it.

That’s right.

Just say no.

Why?

Simply put, it’s not worth it.

As you will see over the course of this article, choosing to go down the dark side of the force route of buying Amazon reviews almost always ends up being a bad idea.

Perhaps over every other reason, it all boils down to one thing – you don’t need to do it!

If you take the time to learn about legitimate ways of earning income through Amazon, then you will have no need to resort to these scammy, underhand tactics.

So why do people advocate using fake Amazon reviews in the first place?

It is a widely known fact that if your product on Amazon is well reviewed, it will receive a boost in Amazon’s own marketing efforts, as well as being more attractive to potential buyers.

Picking up on this fact, people attempted to game the system by purchasing reviews, aiming to trigger Amazon’s promotion mechanism as a result.

A dirty industry sprung up on Fiverr of ‘professional reviewers’ who would leave a five-star review of your product – for a price!

Amazon fought back against this type of manipulation, rightly looking to protect the integrity and reputation of their review system. As a result, many of the Fiverr reviewers were sued and their accounts removed from the internet.

Countless paid for reviews also vanished from products, meaning the money spent on them was entirely wasted.

In spite of all this, people still attempt to play the fake review game.

Don’t be one of them

Here’s why.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – It Hurts Your Reputation

Some of the fake reviews for Amazon products are so badly written as to be almost embarrassing. They are often in broken English and speak in vague terms that in no way describe the product they are reviewing and any strengths and weaknesses it has.

Having this type of review attached to your product screams of desperation. Anyone who notices that you have resorted to these tactics will know right away that you are trying to pull off something underhand.

In the social media era, word of your black hat marketing efforts can spread quickly. People will lose all faith in the products you are offering should you become known for trying to manipulate potential customers with fake reviews.

If your name becomes known for this type of scammy activity then it will always be attached to it through the longevity of google search results. This means you run the risk of being associated with a bad way of doing business far into the future.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – You Risk Being Banned

If Amazon catches you out using fake, paid for reviews, then you run the risk of having your Amazon account deleted.

Spend some time browsing self-publishing forums and you will come across tales of people who got caught out doing something they shouldn’t and had their Amazon account banned as a result.

This can actually result in accrued earnings being withheld and your titles disappearing from the sale.

Think about the frustration that would arise if you woke up one morning to find that your entire catalog of titles had vanished without warning. This has happened to countless authors – and you risk becoming one of them if you try and take your chances with fake reviews.

Building up an author’s name amidst the fans of a genre can take a long time indeed. It is also a slow but worthwhile process to build up a funnel of external traffic to a book’s sales page through efforts such as social media promotion and placement on chosen websites. This can easily become a wasted effort if Amazon determines that your use of paid reviews is severe enough to warrant an account ban.

The potential impact of an account ban cannot be overstated – it can take you months to build up a following within a genre again. Worse still, titles that had momentum build up over time, perhaps over the course of several paid for promotion campaigns, can vanish without a trace.

UItimately, choosing to mislead buyers through fake reviews is not only disrespecting them – it’s disrespecting your own time.

By buying a fake review, you are saying to yourself that the time you spent writing and promoting your ebooks is time you are willing to risk being sacrificed forever for the sake of a cheap promotional boost.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – You Risk Long Term Success

Ultimately, using fake reviews is a strategic error. This is due to the fact that it betrays a short term approach to ebook marketing.

A serious ebook marketer, looking to build a steady and reliable source of passive income through the selling of their work, seeks to build upon a foundation of quality content which is sensibly and intelligently marketed to genuine fans.

The wise ebook marketer realizes that it is better to build a more solid foundation over time than to chance rapid success on a flimsy, black hat tactic which may cause the whole house of cards to come tumbling down at any time.

The legitimate way to achieve success over time is to place a call to action within books asking for an honest review if the reader has enjoyed the work.

Smart authors also ensure that they sign readers up to their mailing lists – therefore having them as potential beta readers in the future.

Sending out early review copies of books, and using these to solicit genuine reviews, is another way in which authors are able to genuinely achieve what the fake review shortcut is looking to attain dishonestly.

Fake reviews ignore all of the above, legitimate ways of attaining Amazon success. Fake reviews ignore the legitimate long term potential of Amazon. They betray a lack of strategic vision and a blindness to the importance of building solid foundations – even if it takes longer to do so.