Episode # 159 – Modern Marketing Techniques with Dave Chesson

In Uncategorized by Angela McConnell22 Comments

davecovernewThis week I talk to “Kindlepreneur” Dave Chesson about using online marketing strategies to drive traffic to your books, tactics he’s used to build his own career, and his brand-new venture KDP Rocket.



KDP Rocket

Amazon Sales Rank Calculator

“How to Choose the Right Kindle Keywords”


“The Amazon Whisperer”

Google Alerts



Carol Tice

Supercharge Your Kindle Sales: Simple Strategies to Boost Organic Traffic on Amazon, Sell More Books, and Blow Up Your Author Mailing List by Nick Stephenson

Quora Question: “I loved the book Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. Can anyone suggest a book that is similar in nature?”

Self Publishing Formula (Mark Dawson)

Show notes:


Dave Chesson isn’t your typical indie author. He’s currently active military (on the eve of retirement to go full-time with his online writing/marketing career), was terrible in English in high school, speaks fluent Mandarin, and has a degree in nuclear engineering. He earns a good income from books he’s written under pen names, and he’s created a popular authority site called Kindlepreneur.com, a website that he’s built up to 30K-40K unique visitors a month in just one year.

Although he’s enjoyed his military career and all the travel opportunities that have come from it, he was tired of always having to be away from his family, so he threw himself into studying online marketing and SEO, developed websites and learned about driving traffic, and eventually parlayed that experience into writing and marketing Kindle books on Amazon.

By writing good books in under-served categories where people were searching for content, along with various other online marketing strategies, the books he created three and a half years are still at the top of their subgenres generating a monthly income of $1,100. Although his books are listed under pen names, he shares his knowledge and experience through detailed articles and other great resources on his website Kindlepreneur.com, and just recently launched KDP Rocket, a new tool that helps authors discover profitable book ideas.


Kindlepreneur grew out of Dave’s success with his own Kindle books. He’s put together an authority website that is, frankly, incredible. In his one-year anniversary blog post, he shares lessons learned his first year, and he reports that SimilarWeb estimates his website gets 87,700 engagements per month (30K-40K unique visitors). Today, four months later, SimilarWeb reports 110,000 visits/engagements a month.

Given that Dave was already doing well with his book income, what was the impetus for him to start Kindlepreneur?

“Having come from a strong SEO background and having done all this marketing and website building before even coming over to self publishing gave me kind of a unique perspective. And I kept seeing that there were a lot of tactics that most online marketers know about that nobody’s really applied to the Amazon market… There hadn’t been a very technical advanced approach to book marketing, especially how-tos, so I created Kindlepreneur for that reason. And for me, I didn’t want to be the guy that’s always hiding behind pen names, so this is my opportunity to really put myself out there and to grow even more, personally as well as online.”

Dave offers detailed articles on book marketing, as well as provides dozens of great resources for authors to learn about and apply to their own careers. There’s a lot of simple techniques that online marketers are very familiar with, Dave says, that authors can use to create books that will stay at the top of their categories and producing income. (Visit his website to learn more.)

Things Indie Authors Should Know:

  1. Book titles and subtitles are treated like the same thing by Amazon, so keywords needn’t be in the title if they are in the subtitle. The actual book title should be compelling and fulfill the readers’ expectation of what that kind of book should be. Keywords should be included in the subtitle in a natural-sounding way.
  2. Amazon does indeed index book descriptions. Many people falsely believe that book descriptions are not indexed because copy-and-pasted word-for-word descriptions pasted in the search function will not come up with their book, but that is because the software recognizes only nouns and items, not verbs and other extraneous words. It’s looking for “blurbs” that match more naturally what people are typing into the search box, not full sentences.
  3. The No. 1 way to get to the top of a category is to increase your book’s search-to-click-to-buy ratio. If people type in keywords into Amazon, find your book, click on it, and then buy it, they have just proven to Amazon that your book deserves to rank for that keyword, and the algorithm will move your book up in the rankings. This is how Amazon ensures that the best product is presented to the customer.

Next Big Thing:

KDP Rocket: Profitable Book Idea Research Made Easy

Dave and his team have just released a new application for authors called KDP Rocket, “an easy to use self-publishing software that will help you find kindle keywords and profitable book ideas by showing you how many people are interested and how much you can make with each as well as the level of competition.”

The software allows writers to research the average earnings of books on Amazon, Google searches per month, estimated Amazon searches per month, and it also provides a competition score between 1-99 to help authors determine how hard it would be to rank at the top of that keyword.

Advice to New Authors

The greatest thing authors can do is to choose one particular skill and master that. Most writers get into self publishing and they hear about Facebook and Twitter and Quora, and they think they have to do everything all at once on top of writing their books, which is overwhelming and leads to spinning wheels and discouragement.

Instead, new authors should focus on their product (book), build up their platform, and choose one particular path that will drive traffic to their books and commit to that instead of trying to do a little bit in everything.

Action Steps:

  • Book Idea Validation: Make sure your book fits readers’ expectations. You want your title, cover, and description to match readers’ expectations about the type of book they’re looking to buy.
  • Research Keywords Before Writing Your Book: Knowing what your readers are typing in the Amazon search box to find their next read will help you craft a product that meets their expectations and desires making it much more easy to find.
  • Build Your Tribe: Get thee to MailChimp and start that email list today. It’s easy. Stop putting it off! You have to have a way to communicate with your readers.
  • Kobayashi Maru Email Opt-In Tactic: Dave recommends leaving a loop open in the story, a mention of something that happens offscreen that piques the curiosity of the reader, but isn’t essential to the story, then offering that as a free story that answers that open loop or question at the end of the book as an incentive for readers to sign up for your email.
  • Craft an Awesome Answer to a Quora question related to your book: A great example of this is author Toby Downton’s response to a reader’s question here. , as coached by Dave. It’s such a genuinely helpful response written and presented so professionally that it’s been upvoted enough times to make it the first response that shows up. It’s gathered over 1,900 views, boosts the rankings of Downton’s books because Amazon sees outside traffic coming in to check it out, and will continue to do so because of the genuine awesomeness of the response.

Simon Asks:

What online marketing strategies have you employed in your own career, and what strategies have worked best for you?


Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Angela McConnellEpisode # 159 – Modern Marketing Techniques with Dave Chesson
  • Carla Lowe Baku

    Hey! So glad you’re back, Simon. Now I can stop fretting as though I’m your mum. Yes, you have wonderful guests, but it’s your insightful questions, witty sense of humor, and charming voice that keep me engaged. 🙂

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Carla!

  • Since keywords was a part of the discussion, folks might like to check out the scientific seller keyword app here: http://app.scientificseller.com/keywordtool#/
    I find it to be very useful for finding exact terms that Amazon users are actually using in the Amazon search bar. Also, it gives the top “stuff words” that could be “stuffed” into the description page to get the attention of Amazon’s algorithm. I’m not a fan of cluttering up the book title/subtitle with keywords because it comes across as desperate. Rather I think the book blurb is a better choice to place keywords since the blurb should be sales copy instead of a synopsis. I’ve even considered stuffing the bottom of my blurb with an entire paragraph of nothing but keywords (something like: People who liked this book might also search for…) so that it is somewhat helpful and not 100% self serving, but also self reinforcing if they use those terms in a search.

    • Hi Joshua. That’s great insight but the truth is, even if Amazon indexes the description, its very very slight. Try finding a name of a character (say a very unique one) or putting a unique word into your book description. Give it about a week or two. Then do a search for that particular word. What do you get? No search results. So I would focus too much on book description keyword stuffing – I still think its indexed but look at more as a check sum.

      • Dave, thanks for this follow up. This is the second time you’ve made me recomsider how I think about keywords 😉 I picked up your book on keywords also and got some great things to take action on for optimization.

        • Haha…no problem at all and ready to help anytime.

  • Robert Scanlon

    Fabulous episode, and very generous of Dave to give so many specifics. Makes me reconsider the subtitle & series name of upcoming book! Great to have you back, Simon! Missed you in the car with me …

    • Hi Robert, any time! And thanks for listening!

  • Rachel Smets

    Thanks for a great interview….once again Simon has found an amazing guest!

    My remark is about Quora, because I have it on my TO DO-list since a few months.
    My book is about Confidence (Awaken your Confidence).
    Your example is great, but how many answers will I have to answer to get some views…

    And here comes the issue: I have browsed Quora endlessly, but without answering anything hardly…
    so what is a good tactic to get on there and be effective WITHOUT spending hours a day and getting the typical ‘Rachel-overwhelm’ as I try to post on Facebook and ..and …and….(too much)


    • Hi Rachel, I’ve got a whole article on just that: https://kindlepreneur.com/use-quora-increase-book-sales/
      But I think you’re on to something – overwhelm. My NUMBER 1 advice to authors is to choose one tactic/strategy/platform and hit THAT hard…leave the rest to the side. The people who are successful aren’t he ones trying to do everything. They focused on one, mastered it and nailed it. If you try to do everything that sounds “successful” you’ll end up just spinning your wheels and feel like you never get any where.

      • Rachel Smets

        Thanks Dave,
        I heard that before….LOL
        To increase my email list, I just wish there was a faster way, so I try several things.
        Anyway….I keep going For sure!!!
        On a side note, I did email you a little while ago, about podcasting, but I can understand going through your full emailbox takes time. I’m not worried and patiently wait 🙂


        • Hmm…strange. Didn’t get it. I checked my records as well. Can you send it again?

          • Rachel Smets

            Oh dear Dave,
            I’m kindly waiting….for nothing 🙂
            Please check and please tell me it’s not true.
            I filled in your contact form, about 2 weeks ago maybe. Or 10 days, but I cannot remember it.
            I do know I put in a lot of effort into the mail to structure it nicely for you to read.
            Hopefully now you know it was your contact form, you can find it.
            I have no other contact email from you.
            Please do let me know

          • Bummer…nope. No record of it…hmmm, I better check our system. I really don’t want people thinking I’m not responding – that sucks!

          • Rachel Smets

            Hey Dave,
            I understand. And I will write again, but to be honest, I fear the ”contact box” so do you have an email address for me?
            Thanks 🙂

          • Yup…Dave (at) Kindlepreneur.com

          • Rachel Smets

            Thanks Dave,
            I emailed you just now as I saw this message now 🙂

  • This seriously was a lot of fun and was a real honor to be on the show. Even before speaking with SImon, there’s a reason why I listed Rocking Self Publishing podcast as one of the top self publishing shows for authors to listen to. Great to be a part of the team.

  • I think my head’s going to explode (in a good way). Took notes. Will probably be back. Signed up for everything Kindlepreneur.

    • Awesome DC and glad to hear it. Hit reply sometime to an email!

  • This was such an amazing episode and full of great tips. Checked out Kindlepreneur and I’m already a fan. Such great content. Thank you Dave and Simon for this episode. Definitely going to warrant an extra listen.