Episode # 63 – Quadruple your Amazon Sales and Keep Your Readers

In Podcast by Julius S45 Comments

Nick_coverFor this week’s RSP I have the pleasure of talking to Nick Stephenson. The author of the Leopold Blake books, and most recently, Supercharge Your Kindle Sales. Nick has recently tweaked some parts of his books to quadruple his sales, we talk about how he did that. We also chat about reader retention through effective newsletters, and why you shouldn’t pay too much mind to the authors who are really crushing it.




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Links:

Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

Amazon Profile

Website

Mentions:

Parkinson’s Law – The work expands to the time allowed for it.

MailChimp

Optinlinks – Help convert more visitors to your email newsletter subscription.

Show notes:

The Books

Nick works comedy into his books. He says that he is naturally fairly sarcastic, and that translates well into the written from. Works well with the seriousness of the book.

Currently he is writing solely Leopold Blake, planning to move into a new series now. Moving onto something more character focused, hoping to attact new readers. Same universe, but none of the main characters are coming across to the new series.

By expanding into a new series Nick is hoping to find a different crowd for his books, as well as sell something new to his past and loyal readers.

Journey

Nick gradauted into the recession in the UK with plenty of debt from studying law. He made an attempt at the legal world but didn’t really enjoy it, so moved to work in marketing.

He had always wanted to do something creative and work for himself. At the time writing wasn’t a viable option but ebooks suddenly made that possible. Before publishers had all the control and he would have just spent ages quering agents, but that changed and Nick realised that he could make money from writing books.

He spent 8 months writing the first novel, 2012. it sucked. Talented editors fixed it. Six months was spent rewriting. He went through several beta readers, where he swapped his work for theirs, it then went to an editor, a copy editor, and a proof reader.

Today the process is different, 1500 words a day. Three months, including editing. Fixing style issues etc. Efficient and productive.

Setting Expectations

Nick says there isnt a typical journey. You shouldn’t compare yourself to the people at the top of their game, they’ll make your sales look small. You don’t need to be selling as many books as the major players to be financially successful.

March 2013 was when his first book went out. His free books got his a lot of traction when KDP Select was still doing very well. That gave him a great start.

Whenever he releases a new book he sees an overall uptick in sales, regular book releases seem to be a key to success.

Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

Nick wanted to create a book that was inbetween the inspiration of Joe Konrath and the Wikihows of the world, showing you how to upload a book to Amazon. He wanted a guide sitting in the middle helping those who wanted a bit more information.

Nick had been blogging since starting his journey, detailing what was working. He started when he first started writing even when no one was reading. More traffic coming now as he is doing better. He is sharing all of his experiment and data on his blog.

His writing about keywords and optimization was particularly popular and people started saying that the information was valuable enough to be put in a book and sold. He did that.

Keywords

The book deals in part with keywords. Nick had entered generic words like “thriller” into these boxes. These seven keywords should be not broad as he was doing, but rather very specific. He did some keyword research by typing into the Amazon search bar some generic words “mystery thriller” and looked for more specific ones.

In the searh results he didn’t want too much competition, but there should also be a fair number of results. As well as adding these to the seven keywords Amazon asks for, he also put them in the description, and the title and series title when he could.

Nick had previously run six BookBub campaigns, and the sales had always dropped off after a while. Since updating his keywords the drop off has been no where near as signficiant. The only changed factor was the keywords. The data indicated they caused his sales to quadruple.

Here’s some data that Nick gathered:

An average month including BookBub free promotion pre-keyword change:

data1

After changing keywords:

data2

Another author using these techniques:

data3

Newsletter

Once a reader has your book, you now need to get them to get more of your books. The best way to do that is through an email newsletter.

Getting a readers email adress is vital. Amazon aren’t reliable in getting the word out. As many authors do he has a link in the back of the book, which leads to a signup page. He offers a free novella to those who signup.

However he lets them opt-out of the list, and only get the book. This keeps his unsubscribe numbers down, and keeps him on good terms with MailChimp (if you get too many unsubscribes they can ban you).

His list of 5000 ensures several hundred sales on day one of the books launch. Great for book launching and getting Amazon’s attention.

Always be thinking “what can do do for the reader?” Have a conversation with the subscribers. Promos, giveways, let them know what they are getting into.

Nick is always tweaking things and optimising his sign-up and email process.

Untitled-1

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

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Julius SEpisode # 63 – Quadruple your Amazon Sales and Keep Your Readers
  • Nick_Stephenson

    Thanks for having me on the show! I still laugh at the failed plug at the end. Show highlight for me 😀

    • SimonRSP

      HA, yes, failed plugs convert 153% higher than non-failed. I gathered the data. 😉

  • Elyse Salpeter

    I need to understand metadata better – any good advice on that? Great Job Nick, I enjoy all of your posts on publishing and how transparent you are. Really appreciate it.

    • Comes down mostly to keywords — here’s another podcast that describes how to apply them and why they’re so important for your sales. I hope Simon allows the ‘rival’ podcast link 😉

      http://selfpublishingroundtable.com/sprt39/

      • SimonRSP

        Ha, I welcome it 😀

    • Nick_Stephenson

      What Mars said. I think Simon and I talk about some specifics about 45 mins in (something like that)

  • One of the best podcast I’ve listened to. Already started
    looking at my keywords. Stopped and started the podcast over and over again! So much great information.

    • SimonRSP

      Haha, I knew this would be the case! So many great bits of value in it. Nick’s book is really excellent and just a few dollars, so for something a bit beyond the show and the show notes, I’d check it out 🙂

  • Wow. Great information in this show. Thanks so much for sharing, Nick!

  • Absolutely loved this podcast today. Really informative and fun to listen to. Nick you have a new fan. Off to subscribe to your blog and newsletter, so you definitely have some people listening to your words of wisdom. Very inspirational. Re the humour in your books, love a bit of sarcasm. They say it is the lowest form of wit, but I think it is the funniest, and where would the likes of Lee Mack and Tim Vine be without it?

    • SimonRSP

      Glad you liked the show Helen, and I’m with you on the sarcasm! 😀

  • Douglas Dorow

    Great podcast. Thanks for sharing all the info. Definitely need to look at the notes and listen to this one again.

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Douglas, glad it was helpful, Nick was really generous with sharing 🙂

  • Simon, this was the first time I’d heard your podcast. Where have you been all my life? In 70 minutes, I learned more than I have in the last six months listening to others. I got Nick’s book and can’t wait to dive in. Thanks for a great show!

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Ron, you’re welcome! If I may ask, how did you discover the show?

  • I’ve been working my way through RSP episodes the last few weeks and am learning so much with each listen. This one in particular was fantastic since growing my mailing list has been a top point of my marketing strategy lately. I’ve already reexamined & updated my keywords as well. Thanks for the great interview and highly relevant info, Simon & Nick!

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks for listening Jessica, really glad to hear that you are enjoying the show :).

  • robertscanlon

    Excellent episode, Simon & Nick! Packed with great tips, very kind of you to share so much.

    @Simon – that cover is brilliant! It should sell gangbusters just on that alone 🙂

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Rob, I’m delighted with the cover! Reminds me of the Four Hour Body cover, which I love.

  • Iain Ryan

    Such a good episode. Thanks Simon. Really, really helpful.

    • SimonRSP

      Cheer Iain! Yeah, Nick is a smart dude.

  • This was great, thanks Simon and Nick!

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Jeff, glad you enjoyed the show 🙂

  • Bobby

    Great info in this interview! Thanks, Simon and Nick.

    • SimonRSP

      Sure Bobby, thanks for listening 🙂

  • Jack Johnson

    Great interview with Nick! I was hoping he would get into how he went from self-publishing non-fiction (“Three Steps to Business Success”) to fiction since that’s where I’m at now. I know he no longer has his non-fiction up for sale, but it still shows up in the Internet archive when you search his books.

    • SimonRSP

      Ah! I gotta say while I do try to dig deep on my podcast research, I don’t go as far as the Internet Archive! Otherwise I would have been interested in how he made that move. Thanks for listening.

      • Jack Johnson

        As a yet-to-be published author, I am fascinated by how successful authors started out and how they built their platform. The problem is, once they reach a certain level of success they tend to weed out the old and polish their brand, but that doesn’t show me the bumps and crossroads they took along the way. By looking at the Internet Archive, I can see the entire picture and it helps me as I plan my strategy. The Internet Archive truly is fascinating. I just have to make sure I don’t waste too much time digging around in it! A quick glance once you enter a URL will show you if that author has a history long before their first published book.

        • SimonRSP

          Oh yeah, I have gone back and had a look at what people have been up to in the past (I just don’t have time to do it for each interview). The internet never forgets…

  • Very informative interview. I was dismayed to learn that his book isn’t available for sale on Kindle, though. Will it be released later on? Thank you!

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Bobbi, that’s strange, let me reach out to Nick and see what’s happening 🙂

  • Tanya Guptill Clapshaw

    I believe the Amazon link may be broken….

    • SimonRSP

      Nick’s book is temporarily not up on Amazon. He’s been working on something with it, I’m told it will be up again soon. Thanks for letting me know though 🙂

  • José Manuel Batista

    A book about Kindle that is only available as a paperback and at $12+ ?

    • SimonRSP

      Hi Jose – I know that Nick is doing some experimenting on another platform that required him to take down the digital version (which was a few dollars) temporarily. Keep an eye on Amazon for when its back available in digital 🙂

  • Brian Brown

    HI Simon. It appears that Nick’s book has been taken down from Kindle to turn it into a Warrior Forum ebook at $12. Here is a (non-affiliate) link to the deal:
    http://noorosha.com/supercharge-your-kindle-sales/

  • The link “Supercharge Your Kindle Sales” gives a 404.

    • Perhaps it’s just because it’s for the Kindle version, because there doesn’t seem to be a Kindle version available, when I look at the author page. What a shame.

      • SimonRSP

        Hi Anita! Nick is experimenting with some stuff I’m told and will be back on Amazon shortly 🙂

        • Oh, great! I’ll check back in a couple of days, then.
          Thank you for letting me know 🙂

  • Most excellent interview. Going to try out some of the tips. Thanks!

    • SimonRSP

      Awesome, and I’d be remiss to say that Nick’s Supercharge book goes into plenty more detail 🙂