Monday, January 21, 2019

So, You Want to Be a Best Selling Author

January 21, 2019

As an author who has published both traditionally and self-published, my goal has always been to have my books not only to sell but also receive a high ranking on Amazon. I finally did it when I published my new novel Never Stop Running. For this book, I chose the traditional route and published through Absolute Author Publishing House. My goal was to be able to have a street team who would help me promote my book and to obtain pre-sale orders as well as maintain complete control of my book. I think the early buzz that my street team created worked as on the first day of publication Never Stop Running received the rank of #1 New Release on Amazon. Oh, happy day! Trust me when I say I was surprised because I did not have one single review. So, what happened and how did I do it? What happened is easy; my pre-sales sent me to the top. I spent months marketing the book and making contacts. Additionally, I took my time to make sure the book was professionally edited and a striking cover. After this happened, I had several new authors reach out to me and ask how I accomplished this ranking. Here is my marketing strategy.
I have been writing and publishing for almost two decades; so, I have developed a following. One of the very first things I did as an author was to create an author website. Even if yours is only one page, develop it. Feel free to visit mine at What my website did for me was to give me a place to put every book, screenplay and my artwork in one place whereby I merged my followers. I’m not only a novelist, but I also have ‘How to’ books for screenwriters and adult coloring books that I illustrated. I think this crossover played a role and my fans see me as a real person. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you develop an author website prior to publishing your first book. Then as you publish more, your website can grow.
Dr. Melissa Caudle - Author

There are certain must-haves for your author website. These include:
  • Your Bio - write it in the third person and highlight your accomplishments.
  • A professional photograph.
  • A link to subscribe or to follow you.
  • A page for your book.
  • A page for your press releases.
  • A Media Kit page for journalists and bloggers to be able to download information on you and your book. This kit should include what I call a one-pager or sell sheet, information about your book, your contact information and where the book can be purchased. (This section will be a whole new blog post.)
Every book you publish needs its own landing page. If you go to my website, you will see the landing pages for Never Stop Running and The Keystroke Killer. Now that I am writing A.D.A.M. I will create a landing page for that one too. My other books for screenwriters, actors, and colorists, each are on one page on my website as they are a specific genre and niche.
You are a writer, so write; easier said than done. I have been writing my blog for years and I have developed a following. I have thousands of subscribers and followers so when I make sure I always blog. I’ll admit there was a couple of years when I was ill that I didn’t blog, but the blog itself remained. Then, I was able to pick up where I left off.
If you don’t have a blog, guest blog on someone else’s. I frequently guest blog on others as a way to cross promote. I believe in supporting other authors. If you review my blog, you’ll notice that I promote other author’s books too. Why? Because of what I call cross-linking. Let’s say I promote a book by another author in my blog or on my sidebar. When any one of their fans searches their name or their book, my blog, with my books come up too. So, don’t be afraid to promote other author’s books.
Start your author pages on these sites as soon as possible and keep your information accurate. I especially love the feature on Goodreads that allows readers to ask me questions. I have been able to garnish reviews and sells that way because they saw me as a real person. Also, be sure to claim your author page.

Don’t be afraid to post on your social media site the stages of your writing. When I wrote The Keystroke Killer: Transcendence every step of the way I told my friends and followers what was going on. I did the same thing with Never Stop Running. I released the covers of my books and I told them what progress I made during the Beta Read stages. I reached out and shared my milestones across many platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I also interact and support other authors. I believe that is important.

One thing I learned, you can’t promote a book by yourself. You need a dedicated team to help you spread the word. My team formed naturally. At first, my team included my family, my friends, my publisher, my editors, and my beta readers. All of these people are important to help you launch your book or to get pre-sales. Eventually, I fostered several fans through my blog who loved my books and wanted to help. To make sure your street team works for you do not take them for granted. Thank them always and give them free copies of your book. I also include in my acknowledgment section my beta readers and editors. They work hard for us and need to be thanked. The more members on your team, the more promotion your book gets. I have team members who push my notifications on Facebook and share my posts.
Honest book reviews are important, but they are extremely hard to get. However, I have found a clever site that will aid you in getting book reviews. Arc Booksends will help you by sending your book to reviewers, for free, in exchange they agree to review your book. Visit them at:
Also, find other authors on your social media sites and agree to review their book, honestly, in exchange for you to review yours.
Ask your launch team and beta readers to leave a review for you too.
Note: My novel Never Step Running opened as the #1 New Release on Amazon without any reviews. It is important to know that your ranking isn’t based on reviews, but on the number of books, you sell.
There is nothing like giving your fans a tease of what is coming up next. When I published The Keystroke Killer: Transcendence, on October 31, 2018, at the end of the book (in publishing terms it is called back matter) I provided excerpts for my next two novels, Never Stop Running released January 19, 2019, and A.D.A.M. to be released in June 2019. Wait! You didn’t know about A.D.A.M. did you? No worries, A.D.A.M. is the novel I am currently writing, but a chapter is included as an excerpt in both of my other novels. So, you see, I am practicing what I preach because I am now starting to promote A.D.A.M.  I honestly think with the success of The Keystroke Killer, with those people who bought that book were able to read these excerpts, and when I announced the pre-sale for Never Stop Running in my blog and did a promotional blast to my 120,000 plus subscribers they purchased it.
Another back matter for your digital book is to include links to your website, blog, and email.
I also include ads for my other books in the back matter.
What if you already published a book, and you didn’t include an excerpt in it for your next one? Add it immediately. Here is one of the ads I did for my adult coloring book series that is in the back matter of each of my books. In the digital versions of my books, if someone wants to purchase one of my coloring books, they click on the image and it takes them to the retail site on Amazon.
This is a tricky statement, but I think it is more important to have your fans go to the retailer sites than to your webpage. I know, I started this blog by telling you that your author webpage is important. Yes, it is. However, the more traffic your book gets on a retailer’s site, the better your ranking. That is why when I post on social media or advertise, the links go to my book’s site to purchase on Amazon.
Now I’m really not the one to speak on knowing your niche audience because every one of my books has its own niche audience. At least I know that; so, when I market a book, I market to that audience. That is the key to the success of a book in terms of pre-sales.
As an author, you can easily go broke advertising and marketing your book. If you don’t have a large following, see if someone who does is willing to help you out. I’ll be honest with you, I have a huge following and other authors have benefitted from it in numerous ways. One of the best examples are the first-time authors who hired me to edit their books. When they add my name to the credits as an editor, and someone researches my name on Amazon, their books come up too. If you don’t believe me, go to Amazon and search “Dr. Melissa Caudle.” Look at how many other books come up, like One Step at a Time by Liz Havrilla and Dr. L.A. Davis’ book, So You Want to be a Doctoral Learner! Are You Nuts? or Where the Mind Wanders by Jamie Alyson. I am their editor and they benefit from my following. So, a small plug, I also edit; and I am one of the senior editors with Absolute Author Publishing House. If you need an editor, email me at

Speaking of social influencers reach out to bloggers and offer them an advance copy.
Here is a trailer for One Step at a Time by Liz Ashe Havrilla that I edited.

I cannot stress enough how important author interviews are. When you are interviewed, you immediately get a backlink to add to your author website. This helps in the rankings. There are a variety of types of author interviews e.g., written for blogs, radio, podcasts, television, and YouTube. Do them and do as many as you can. 
If you would like an author interview on my blog email me at Also, my publisher, Dr. Carol Michaels of Absolute Author Publishing House does author interviews at
I can’t say enough about marketing tools for an author which includes the one-pager, press releases, ads, and book trailers. I get tons of emails and messages from people who view my book trailers. Also, I have effectively used The Keystroke Killer I had ten different trailers and for Never Stop Running at least five. People like videos. The key here is I provided a variety of book trailers. Look at these for The Keystroke Killer and notice how I have targeted different audiences.
The first one is targeted for the younger crowd.

This one is targeted for the audience who loves animals.

And, this one is targeted for those who love thrillers and suspense.

Once your book is written, your work isn’t done. You have to promote it to sell it. It can get awfully expensive; so, you really need to strategize and spend your money wisely. Here are some of the best sites I have found.
1.    Absolute Author – – This is a great site to get an author interview and a book review. In fact, they offer many services to help authors from editing to marketing materials.

2.     Bargain Booksy - - This site is a wonderful place to start marketing your book and is very affordable. The one thing I really love about this site is that it targets those subscribers to your genre. Yea! For the money, it is really worth it.
3.      eBooks Habit – - I highly recommend this site if your book is priced at or under $2.99. They have a basic package for free, but I highly recommend the $10 gig. This is really a good bargain for what you get.
4.      Amazon, BookBub, and Goodreads push. These are a fantastic way to promote your book too. I have found that Facebook pushes aren’t that great as you are not targeting readers to your genre.
5.      One of the best email marketing tools is to email your subscribers. I use MailChimp and my marketing tool on GoDaddy to send out marketing blasts to over 120,000 subscribers and followers on my blog and to my website. If you haven’t started a subscription list, do it immediately. It took me at least five years to gather these subscribers. If you would like for me to blast your book in my blog or through my subscription marketing list, I will be glad to do it for $15 which is pretty affordable too.

6. You can also opt to advertise your book on the sidebar of my blog. You get lots of exposure there too.