Amazon Bestseller Day Best Seller or Bust? Part 1

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon

Amazon Bestseller Days have been around for years. They promise to make your book a bestseller, if only for a day. You “drive” buyers to purchase your book on a specific day by offering them gifts (bribes), thus fooling Amazon’s computers into indicating your book is a bestseller. (Which it is, for a while.)

If you’ve written a book, you’ve  undoubtedly heard success stories stemming from Amazon Party Days. Thousands of books sold. Lotsa, lotsa money made. Literary agents chasing authors down the street; major publishers coming out of the woodwork waving contracts. The tooth fairy setting up permanent residence in the family home.

We’d heard the stories, too. Here’s the Your Shelf Life report on our experience.

In the summer of 2008, my husband and I listened to a teleseminar in which Steve Harrison interviewed Randy Gilbert and Peggy McColl about their Amazon Bestseller Mentoring program. They cited many examples of authors taking unknown books to bestsellerdom in 38 days. Not only did they cite these stories, the authors got on line and, bubbling enthusiasm at almost unbearable levels, lauded Randy and Peggy’s program.

Randy and team were such good sales people, that Barry (my husband) and I were ready to sign up until they got to the bottom line: They wanted around $2,300 to work their magic. But their program guaranteed that it would take your book to the top; you got your money back if it didn’t work.

Even pre-financial market crash, $2,300 was a lot of money.

Our decision was made for us by my right ankle. Its arthritis had been percolating since a skiing accident in the 1960s. During the summer of 2008, the arthritis went bone-on-bone. This feels worse than it sounds. I was scheduled for to have the joint fused on September 15th.

My doctor gave me a stern warning: “Take your recovery very seriously. Your ability to walk the rest of your life depends upon how well you heal.”  No overdoing it, no compulsive working, I was to rest and relax with my foot up.

We scrapped the idea of Randy’s bestseller day and all the other publicity activities we had scheduled for my book, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money.

The surgery went fine––I felt better immediately afterward than I had before. Even though I was in a wheelchair, I felt pretty spunky.

One thing disturbed my perfect recovery: I could lie in bed and get on-line with my handy laptop. Sales of my two award-winning books plummeted to the 2,000,000th level on Amazon.

No matter that I had a compelling reason to scrap book promotion, seeing my darlings in Amazon’s freezing sub-basement killed me.

At some point in my on-line roving, I discovered ReaderViews, which offers a great number of services for authors. And one of them was an Amazon Launch Day! And they did if for only $275!

Anyone can do the math: $275 was way less than $2,300.

I contacted Irene Watson of Reader Views and we talked about when to do my party day. My first book, Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice, has a Christmas tie-in that had never been recognized. I wanted to let people know about about the profound experience I had when I finished the book’s manuscript days before Christmas. That meant we had to do the party in early December.

Irene had a couple of December dates left. I grabbed one and went to work.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING AN AMAZON BESTSELLER DAY, YOU HAD BETTER HAVE A MORE COHERENT AND WELL THOUGHT OUT GAME PLAN THAN MINE OR YOU WILL LAND ON YOUR FANNY.

This is a how-to blog illustrated by my personal journey. If you are planning an Amazon Bestseller Day, do this right now:

  • Buy Steve Weber’s Plug Your Book: Online Book Marketing for Authors. Immediately go to page 31, which begins the chapter Amazon Bestseller Campaigns. Read this chapter. Okay. Read it again. This is the best book I have seen on Internet book selling. Weber presents hard data on the results of Amazon Bestseller days. A few things he points out: You’ll have to sell 450 books (at $5 profit each) to pay for Randy Gilbert’s program. What’s the probability of doing that? Weber presents data on books plugged with online word of mouth vs. an Amazon bestseller campaign. Conclusion: Books getting their reputation by online word of mouth have steady, long term sales, often over years. Books plugged by bestseller campaigns show erratic sales which can deteriorate after gimmicky sales tactics.
  • Buy Brent Sampson’s Sell Your Book on Amazon. I had books for sale on Amazon for years before reading this book. Wasted years. I didn’t do so many things that I should have. Amazon offers you many ways of selling your book and many tricks about how to use its resources that aren’t explained well. Brent explains them in his book. If you’re planning on doing anything on Amazon, you should read this book before you start.
  • Buy Brent Sampson’s e-book “10 Steps to an Amazon Bestseller.” This e-book tells you what to go to successfully carry off your Amazon Day. You’ll need this kind of clear, detailed guidance.
  • Go to Todd A Fonseca’s blog, Tag My Book on Amazon. Read the whole thing. Sign up and begin tagging. You may discover your book’s Amazon sales ranking increasing amazingly––with no increase in sales. You may not need the Amazon bestseller day.

Okay. That’s it for now. Study the resources above and I’ll tell you more of my story the next time I write. Pulling off an Amazon day is a huge undertaking––be prepared.

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan

All the best,

Sandy Nathan

I’m sixty three in the picture to the left. I was 46 in the picture at the top. Still no nips, tucks, injections or fancy lenses. Success in life is a matter of longevity.  Shelf life. That’s what I’m after.

I’m putting up these picture not to brag about what I look like–-believe me, I never thought I’d look like I do. It’s easy to look good at 25. Ditto 35, 45, and 55. Over 60, you find out what you’re made of.

And that’s the point. The end’s the same for all of us. Shoot for goals that last longer than the flash of a “diamond” in a Cracker Jacks box.

Winning matters. What you win matters more.

I wish you all the best,

Sandy Nathan kept going and became the winner of seventeen national awards, in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Her books are: (Click link for more information. They’re available in a number of formats.)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with a late (very late) 2011 publication date, or early 2012. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.

SERIES INDEX:
Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust
Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas
Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top Sponsors!
Amazon Bestseller Day 4–Recap of 1-3 + Do Your Homework
Amazon Bestseller Day 5–How Many Books Will You Sell/Dealing with Amazon
Amazon Bestseller Day 6–It’s a Numbers Game: Have a Giant Mailing List
Amazon Bestseller Day 7–Blow by Blow of THE DAY
Amazon Bestseller Day 8–Was it worth it? Post-game Recap


10 Responses to “Amazon Bestseller Day Best Seller or Bust? Part 1”

  1. Great post. Thank you. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. Sandy,

    Thank you for a superb and fascinating blog. I’m agog to hear how the $275 Amazon Day went.

    Amazon does indeed offer authors a lot of ways to sell books on Amazon. Some of them seem more helpful to readers than others.

    I’m delighted to see that you also subscribe to Penny Sansevieri’s blog/newsletter, which is a goldmine… no, a diamond mine… of free information.

    Amazon isn’t the only game in town, though. BarnesandNoble.com has a very nice website and bookclubs, and authors can set up their own profiles there, and chat on the forums with readers.

    Authors should also see what forums their own publishers make available. Sometimes we don’t see the wood for the trees!

    Best wishes,
    Rowena Cherry

  3. [...] have the benefit of the reading list that I gave you on the first article of this series. (Go back and look at it. Part 1.)  I was working blindly on my own hard-headed and mistaken ideas. Somewhere around this time, I [...]

  4. [...] On Part 1, I introduced Amazon Bestseller Days as those events where you induce a bunch of people to buy your book on the same day, thus driving your sales ranking to the top of Amazon’s charts. I told you my story, show and telling the need for a COHERENT MARKETING STRATEGY AND GOOD TIMING in planning your day. I introduced four invaluable sources of information you should devour before beginning and gave the names of two organizations offering to coach and host your Day. [...]

  5. [...] saying it again: If you’re thinking of doing an Amazon Day, click back to part 1 and buy those resources [...]

  6. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–– Amazon Bestseller Day 2–– Amazon Bestseller Day 3–– Amazon Bestseller Day 4–– Amazon [...]

  7. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top [...]

  8. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top [...]

  9. [...] INDEX: Amazon Bestseller Day 1–Bestseller or Bust Amazon Bestseller Day 2–Forget Your Own Marketing Ideas Amazon Bestseller Day 3–Get Top [...]

  10. ravenhenry1 says:

    Sandy,
    absolutly awesome story, thank you so much for sharing this story. You are all the more a wonderfulful person that I have always thought you were.

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