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How to Rank on the Amazon Bestsellers List in 21 Days

Ranking On Amazon

Every author wants to rank on Amazon. When Brian Joyce got in contact offering his insights, I knew you Bang2writers would be all ears. Over to you, Brian!

You’ve spent months or years writing your book … Got it beta-tested … Had it edited by a professional … Paid your graphic designer friend to create the perfect cover.

But what if no one buys it?

This was my question in 2013 after I had spent 5 years creating my first novel. It was scary to send it out fearing it would be lost in a sea of ebooks. Luckily, I found a way to save it from being lost in a digital dumpster. You can too!

1)  Focus on creating a pre-launch buzz!

The goal of creating a pre-launch buzz is to do two things: establish yourself as a legitimate author in your genre through acquiring reviews from book bloggers and creating credibility with their reviews on your amazon page. Just doing this can set you apart from the sea of people who just publish their book on Amazon and pray for visibility.

I accomplished this by creating a landing page for book bloggers. I provided a password in my email to download their free copy. This gave me more credibility with established book bloggers even though I had never published anything else before.

I knew it was important to stand out with the gatekeepers that would market my book for free with a review. This helped my credibility with Amazon shoppers when they saw reviews from reputable book bloggers in my genre.

This strategy got me interviews and solid reviews from important book bloggers in my genre. I was able to use these reviews in my editorial reviews, which boosted my credibility.

This was the landing page I created for book bloggers to download my book for review. The page itself tied into the book cover theme which demonstrated some branding techniques to bloggers.

This strategy got me interviews and solid reviews from important book bloggers in my genre. I was able to use these reviews in my editorial reviews, which boosted my credibility. 

2) Using the power of sub-genres to rank!

Amazon uses genres and subgenres to help organize their ever-expanding list of ebooks. I knew if I could rank in one subgenre, this would help me rank higher in larger genre categories, so that’s what I focused on.

To rank in subgenres, I thought about what made my book unique. It was a faux-memoir and related to punk rock. I used both to my advantage to choose my subgenres. This helped my book rank. Here is what my sales from launch in October of 2013 through July of 2015 looked like using this strategy.

When picking subgenres, you want them to be relative to your book, and relative to your genre. Be targeted in your genre selection. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What makes my book unique?
  • How is my book different from other books in my genre?
  • Does my book reference other things outside my genre that could be used as a subgenre?

By using questions, you can target the right genres to move up with the BIG boys.

3) Choosing the right keywords for your book!

Keyword optimization cannot be overlooked when trying to set your book apart from the millions of books on Amazon. So many people think SEO is a tough concept, but that’s not the case. Here’s how you can use Amazon to find your 7 keywords.

  1. Set your browser to an incognito window.This allows you to look at Amazon’s search algorithm without your previous searches getting in the way.
  2. Go to Amazon.
  3. Set your search to “Kindle Store”

4. Search something related to your book. Since my book is written for teens with elements about punk and indie rock, I started like this:

The search term “teen books” brought up a list of other items from Amazon’s algorithm.

5. Use each letter of the alphabet and see what comes up.When I typed in “Indie Rock b” I got this:


This brought up a list of books that rank for this term.

All of the books ranked well. That means this keyword gets good volume, meaning a lot of people search for it.

6. Use kindle calculator to see how many books sell per day from the list using their bestseller’s rank.

The books on this list sell between 1 and 15 books per day. With strong sales, this is a good keyword for me.

7. Repeat this process 6 more times.

Ranking in the top 5 for one of your 7 keywords can drive organic traffic to your book! Do that for two or more keywords and you’re book stands out against millions of other titles on Amazon.

4) Making The Most of Promotions

Sign your book up for KDP select. This allows you to promote with kindle free days, offered for 5 days every three months! Used correctly, along with pricing adjustments, can draw a TON of new fans.

What most people get wrong about kindle daily deals is that they set it and forget it. That is the wrong strategy. To make kindle free days work, you have to put in some work, but it’s minimal for the reward. Here’s how:

  1. Set your promotion a month out.
  1. Contact websites and get them to promote your book during the promotion. 
  1. Use Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook groups to promote your free day.

The point isn’t to make money, but to make fans, and readers … I mean, real readers, LOVE to talk about books! Get this right, and you can be on your way to finding a true list of fans that will promote your books for years!

By using these tips, your book stands a great chance of increasing visibility, enjoying time on the bestsellers list, and prolonged book sales. It worked for me, and it can work for you. So dive in and get started!

Good Luck!

BIO: Brian Joyce is the debut author of THE B-SIDE DIARIES and a freelance writer. When not writing he can be found playing with his two boys, going for a run, or whistling the melody of a punk tune he is currently obsessed with. He lives in Providence with his wife, their two boys, and a cat who loves to eat paper, and has no depth perception.

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4 thoughts on “How to Rank on the Amazon Bestsellers List in 21 Days”

  1. That was very insightful, thank you for sharing Brian. It’s great to know that there’s a way to promote a book without depending on large publishing companies.

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