Thursday, February 13, 2014

How do you get your book listed on an Amazon Top 100 list?

I don't know, but that's what happened to me this week!


That's mah book, baby! Up there with a Janet Evanovich! I've been joking all week that my time on that Top 100 list was the most glorious 10 minutes of my life. Like I said, no clue how it happened, but I've been trying to figure it out so I can do it again someday.

I've read about the mysterious formulas and algorithms that are used to calculate Amazon's Top 100 lists, but was able to make no sense out of them, except to end up with the vague understanding that the more sales you get in a short amount of time, the better your chances are of ranking. I think Lucky in Love ended up there through, well, sheer luck. And maybe a combination of a few other things.

I'm working on a sort of sequel to Lucky--spin-off novel telling the story of two other characters in the book. Sales on Lucky had been pretty underwhelming lately, with just one extremely kind but lonely review on B&N, Smashwords and Goodreads and none yet on Amazon. I hoped to build up a readership in advance and maybe get some feedback. So, in my attempts to self-promote (HA! I stink at that.), I decided to make Lucky a free e-book for February wherever I could. Incidentally, on B&N and Smashwords, that's easy. Amazon, not so much, except for Prime readers.

Almost simultaneously, in another attempt to get the word out there, I entered Lucky in a giveaway on Freebooksy, a well-known site for promoting free e-books. They charge $25, but the huge jump in my Facebook fan numbers alone made that price well worth it.

Image Credit: Fotosearch
Some combination of those events resulted in me doing a very happy dance on Monday morning. Amazon updates their lists hourly, and I can only think that my book must have been on it most of the night, because I experienced an astronomical (for me) jump in sales before it was all over.

Full disclosure here on earnings? I made $1.40. Four copies sold at $0.99 and the rest were freebies. Not even enough to buy a decaf Starbucks mocha, or really even leave a decent tip, but I'm completely happy with those results, since I now have 60 more chances to have someone read Lucky, hopefully enjoy themselves and maybe even write a little note on Amazon to let everyone else know how much fun they had with my book.

One kind reader already has, posting this 5-star review on both Amazon and B&N:

A mix of some Janet Evanovich-esque quirkiness in the leading lady makes this book a page turner! You fall in love and relate to Lucky instantly. Add in some spicy sex scenes with the knight in shining armor sprinkled with humor and even some drama and action and you have a must read written by an up and coming author. From the first page, I was hooked and unable to put the book down. Anxiously awaiting more books by this author!

To me, that single review was worth giving away 60 copies.

And, on a side note, my freaked out, early Monday morning Facebook post touting the news gained me more hits than any other FB post I've ever made: 430 views and I only have 273 fans. That's a whole lotta sharing going on.

So, in summary, I'm not a famous writer yet, but for a little while this week, I sure felt like one! Have you made an Amazon Top 100 list? Was it the result of careful planning or just pure, sweet luck? I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments.