At The Media Briefing’s Digital Media Strategies conference in London recently, it was reported that less than 3% of book sales on Amazon came from buyers who were simply browsing, and only 10% were derived from their “bought this/also bought” recommendations. These pale in comparison to 48% of sales from buyers who already knew the author or book they wanted, and were simply buying it online.
The obvious conclusion is that most indie authors spend entirely too much time trying to get their title ranked higher by Amazon’s algorithm! Instead, authors should focus on gaining name recognition. How? By connecting with their target audience: by reaching out to the people who are interested in their genre – bloggers, genre-specific websites and Facebook pages, as well as other relevant social media forums.
Another interesting fact cited in London was that 17% of book sales were influenced by a book being listed on “Bestseller” or “Top 100” lists. For those indie authors who are fortunate enough to have their book placed on such a list, but find it near the bottom, another way to stand out is by having an appealing cover. This is true even if the book is only available as an eBook. And if you will pardon a bit of self-promotion, having an award on the book’s cover, such as our BR.A.G. Medallion, significantly increases the chances that a potential buyer will stop and look. This is even more important now given the growing incidence of Trolls, sock-puppeting, and contrived 5 star reviews, which has led to a distinct lessening of the value of readers’ ratings.
So what do you think? Where are you spending your time in promoting your book? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Tui Allen says:

    Here’s a problem – regarding the importance of having a good cover with awards displayed on it. I have my cover with awards (including Indiebrag) displayed on Amazon but can’t work out how to update my cover image on Goodreads. I’ve asked GR for help with this but was ignored. my Goodreads listings on Listopia are being very helpful in letting sales trickle in but of course very slowly. I encourage my friends to go to my book’s GR page and vote on all the lists she is listed. Every vote I get pushes the book higher up the rankings of the list since the review average is so high and she is top book on several lists now.

  2. Tahlia Newland says:

    Gee Tui, I know nothing about getting my books on lists – and would like to know – but I do know how to change the cover. At the bottom of the blurb, just above the green buttons where is says ‘get a copy’ , on the right hand side is a faint ‘edit details’. Click on that and you’ll see where you can change the cover (top right). If only librarians can do it, then either become a librarian or get onto me and I’ll do it for you.

  3. Harmony Kent says:

    Likewise, I have no idea about getting my books onto lists. I have just joined GR as an author, and have just created a facebook page – but I am really really (really) new to all of this. I’m having to engage a steep learning curve on getting my name out there, I guess it will come together eventually. As Tahlia says, as a librarian you can change your book image – the author can also do this once they have joined the GR author’s program – that faint “edit” button does take some looking for though!

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