Amazon Bestseller Status image

Amazon Bestseller Status: The Journey Awaits

The results are in for my newest book SMART FOCUS How to Stay S.M.A.R.T. and Achieve Your Most Important Goals One Step at a Time. In this blog post, I'll share my goals of becoming an Amazon Bestseller and the results I've achieved so far—complete with screenshots!

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Rising Through the Rankings: Achieving Amazon Bestseller Status

It's been an amazing—and nail-biting—month for my first self-published book, SMART FOCUS How to Stay S.M.A.R.T. and Achieve Your Most Important Goals One Step at a Time (henceforth referred to as SMART FOCUS Book 1)! I've seen the numbers go up and I've seen them go down. Now the results are in, and I've got some ideas about how to increase my rankings and sales even further.

As of right now, the rankings aren't looking as good as I would like. However, at the beginning of the launch there was a decent overall response. SMART FOCUS Book 1 was downloaded 143 times during the 5-day free promotion phase, which was a big factor in helping me rise to the Top 100 Free Kindle Books in Amazon (also known as Amazon Bestseller status). Here's the breakdown of the first five days of my free promo campaign.

Amazon's Top 100 Free Kindle Books

Day One Free Rankings

  • Overall Ranking: #8,085 (#6,401 by end of day)
  • Category: Personal Growth & Christianity: #7 (#6 by end of day)
  • Category: Personal Success in Business: #12 (#7 by end of day)

As you can see in the images above, I had a great start to my book stats on day one. This was due to the fact that I pre-released the book about four days early just to get some momentum before the book went on sale at the free promotional price. (I actually sold a print version of the book in the UK during those pre-launch days!)

I believe this early success was directly related to the keywords and categories I chose in my Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account during the initial setup phase. I picked the keywords and categories for my book based on my findings after only a few hours of research, utilizing the amazing resources I'll mention later in this post.

Now, I'll post the rest of the ranking results, but instead of expounding on them in each section like I have here, I'll write a summary afterward.

Day Two Free Rankings

  • Overall Ranking: #5,668 (#6,129 EOD)
  • Personal Growth & Christianity: #7 (#8 EOD)
  • Personal Success in Business: #7 (#8 EOD)

Day Three Free Rankings

  • Overall Ranking: #7,690 (#3,545 EOD)
  • Personal Growth & Christianity: #9 (#3 EOD)
  • Personal Success in Business: #12 (#5 EOD)

Just after releasing a YouTube promo vid

Day Four Free Rankings

  • Overall Ranking: #3,443 (#3,434 EOD)
  • Personal Growth & Christianity: #4 (#3 EOD)
  • Personal Success in Business: #6 (#6 EOD)

Day Five Free Rankings

  • Overall Ranking: #3,301 (#3,233 EOD)
  • Personal Growth & Christianity: #4 (#4 EOD)
  • Personal Success in Business: #6 (#7 EOD)

Whew! That's a lot of info to take in, so I'll try to break it down for you.

First of all, I was able to maintain my rankings not only in the Top 100 Free but the actual Top Ten rankings in the two categories I chose for SMART FOCUS Book 1, namely "Personal Growth & Christian" and "Personal Success in Business." It was definitely an amazing feeling seeing my book gaining popularity with each new day.

One of the amazing things about this whole process is that I was able to move up the Amazon Bestseller rankings without the help of reviews. Reviews are the lifeblood of any product on Amazon, but especially books. If there's anything a reader judges a book by more than its cover, it's the number—and quality of—reviews a book has. However, although the lack of reviews didn't seem to hurt my rankings at first, during these later days of the initial 30-day launch I knew I would need to get some quality reviews if my book was going to survive at its current bestselling pace.​

Although SMART FOCUS Book 1 only reached 3,233 in the overall free rankings, this would still be considered an Amazon Bestseller for the paid categories (#4 and #7 as shown above in the Day Five Free Rankings). According to Publisher's Weekly, it takes an average of a whopping 1,094 copies sold per day to rank in the top five of Amazon Bestseller rankings. So you can imagine how excited I am to know that my book, ranking at #4 and #7, would be moving some series copies were it in the same rankings of the paid categories.​

It takes an average of a whopping 1,094 copies sold per day to rank in the Top Five of Amazon Bestseller rankings!

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Amazon's Hot New Releases Rankings

After the 5-day free promotion was over, I began to eagerly anticipate my rankings for Amazon's Hot New Releases list in my two chosen categories. However, I wasn't as strict in keeping up with these tallies since I knew each price change would most likely result in a lower ranking.

I'm including the screenshots of my stats for the remainder of the month below. Hot New Releases are the books which have been released on Amazon within the last 30 days, so I'm considering my status on the HNR lists from December 1st through December 31st just to be sure. Keep in mind these are the HNR lists for my chosen categories, not for the overall HNR lists, which are much more difficult to get into.​

Overall HNR Rankings

Day 5

Day 6

Day 14 - The highest I've been able to get in paid rankings so far

Day 15

Day 24 (Christmas Eve)

Day 26 (The Day after Christmas)

Day 29

Day 30

Day 31

Personal Growth & Christianity HNR Rankings

Day 5

Day 6

Day 14

Day 15

Day 24 (Christmas Eve)

Day 26 - Right up there with Tim Tebow and Joyce Meyer (The day after Christmas)!

Day 29 - On the heels of R.A. Torrey and Joyce Meyer!

Unfortunately, the book dropped off the Hot New Releases lists for the last two days of the launch.

Personal Success in Business HNR Rankings

Day 5

Day 6 - Surpassing John C. Maxwell!

Day 14 - Surpassing Donald Trump!

Day 15

Day 24 (Christmas Eve)

Day 26 (The day after Christmas)

Day 29

Unfortunately, the book dropped off the Hot New Releases lists for the last two days of the launch.

Much to my dismay, once the free promo was over, my rankings began to plummet. But I still maintained a positive outlook. After all, a Hot New Release is still a Hot New Release, especially if it stays on the Top 100 for its category, so it's nothing to sniff at.

Also, I was excited to see that my book was listed among some big names in the industry like Tim Tebow, Joyce Meyer, R.A. Torrey, John C. Maxwell, and Donald Trump! If you'll look closely, on day 14 of my launch SMART FOCUS Book 1 actually surpassed Donald Trump's book!

The highest ranking SMART FOCUS Book 1 received in the HNR list for Personal Growth & Christianity was #15 (definitely an exciting moment)! In the HNR list for Personal Success in Business, my book achieved a #22 for its highest rank.

And its overall paid ranking initially started at #284,789, a huge number compared to the free ranking at the end of day five of the free promotion. (For Amazon Bestseller lists, low numbers are actually higher in ranking; so naturally, you want to avoid high numbers.) But remember, the paid ranking is based on sales, and I was able to get into the Hot New Releases list without having had any sales at first.​

Next Strategies for Becoming an Amazon Bestseller

As it stands, my final stats for the overall paid rankings (the book has dropped off the HNR lists, so no stats for that) sits at #838,650 at the end of this initial 30-day launch. Again, not what I hoped for, but I have to be realistic about this. I'm a no-name author to most people, and this is my first officially published book. Actually, I'm ecstatic I've been able to make it as far as I have.

I plan to continue applying many of the strategies I continually learn from some of the best names in the Indie Author and Self-Publishing world. And although I haven't achieved Amazon Bestseller status in the paid rankings—yet—in the next blog post I'll share with you some of the strategies I used to get such high rankings during my free promotion and get listed on the Hot New Releases lists for my categories.

I'll also list some of the things I've learned throughout the past thirty days and what I plan on doing differently. When initially writing this blog post, the final word count ended up being around 3,500 words, much too long for a blog post in my opinion, especially since most of mine are smaller and more easily consumed. So I decided to split it into two posts to give you time to digest all the facts and figures before moving into the actual strategies I used.

However, I'll still include the amazing resources I've been referring to throughout this post both at the end of this post and the next one, which will be releasing in a few days. In the next post I'll go into more detail about them, but for now continue reading to take advantage of their invaluable insights.

P.S. If you're interested in checking out SMART FOCUS Book 1, click the image below.

smart focus sales page

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Featured Resources

Listed below are the amazing resources I used for helping me initially rank high on the Amazon Bestseller lists. Stay tuned for the next blog post where I'll share more about these resources, as well as some great "hacks" for getting more resources from these authors absolutely free!

Question: What are some strategies you've used or are using to rank high in the Amazon Bestseller lists?

Leave a comment below and tell us all about it.

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