Guest post by C T Mitchell
Hitting #1 in Amazon Sales Rankings
On February 27, 2015 I finally broke my fear of wanting to write a book. I published my first short read, Rejection. The hoodoo was over. Within 30 days, Rejection, hit #1 Amazon US in the Mystery, Thriller and Suspense genre. It was, and still is, a free book.
Why free? A little tip I picked up in How I Sold 80,000 Books by Alinka Rutkowska on building an email marketing list. But some critiques would say that’s not a ‘bestselling’ book but a best ‘downloaded’ book. In some ways I agree so I needed to produce a bestselling book.
Four Figures in Four Months
I loved writing but had never written any fiction work, an area I believed would have more appeal to readers. I wasn’t the greatest fiction reader either but had consumed a few Agatha Christie novels in my time. Crime fiction definitely had an appeal but I knew my limitations. There was no 500 page novel dying to come out of me. Ten thousand words or 34 pages and I would be spent.
Short reads became my thing and I thrived. By May 2015 I had my first Amazon bestselling short read in category, Murder on the Beach, in both the UK & US. I also earned my first four figure income month!
Since then I’ve produced other four #1 Amazon bestsellers in their categories:
many outselling literary giants like Stephen King, Peter James, Ian Rankin and Jeffrey Archer, albeit for a sort time; if you consider 90 days short?
How Did I Do It?
I got support. I joined a group, hung out with like-minded souls, built confidence and stuck to my game plan – to write more short reads. Short reads are quick writes and fast returns. But I knew from my real estate selling days, products don’t sell themselves. Books also need to be marketed. I found my book marketing blueprint in How I Sold 80,000 Books and adopted the 4 Ps.
I like short reads because I can produce a book within 2 weeks thereby creating a quick return for my labour. Even though I sell these in the lower spectrum of Amazon’s book sales market of 99 cents to $2.99, I also have the option to bundle 3 or 4 short reads together to create a novel length book thereby creating a higher sale product. But short reads doesn’t mean short cuts.
Editorially I thought my first book was perfect. Big mistake on my part and the reviewers savaged me. Alinka introduced me to Fiverr where I not only found a great cover designer for just $5 but I also found a terrific editor. I never upload a book now unless it’s been professionally edited. For a couple of hundred dollars, Breaking Point, my 50,000 word novel hit the market glitch free.
Up until 2017 I’ve never had a great desire to have my books in bookstores. Amazon in my opinion is the ‘king daddy’ of online book sales and my 20 short reads and novels enjoy good success on that platform. I use a book aggregator Draft 2 Digital which gives me a quick and easy way to upload to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes and others to promote my free books and keep the rest in Amazon’s Kindle Select program. For new authors like myself, the Kindle Select or Kindle Unlimited program, serves us best.
Alinka also put me onto CreateSpace, Amazon’s print on demand service, which I use for a few novels. Not having to print thousands of books, stock my garage and hope to sell my masterpiece at a church fete is a much less stress free option and provides an additional stream of income.
In 2017 I received a traditional publishing contract from Austin Macauly Publishers thereby making me a hybrid publishing author.
Short reads attract a short price; usually around 99 cents. Not much I hear you say but if you average 200+ sales a day, throw in a bit of foreign currency that converts nicely and top it off with some nice page read money from Amazon because you are enrolled in their KDP Select program, you can enjoy plenty of ‘hamburgers with the works…..and even fries’.
Imagine 500 sales a day or even 1000+, now we’re talking some special treats.
The money is in the list so How I Sold 80,000 Books told me. So I started developing my own mailing list by asking readers to give me their email address in exchange for a free book. Readers can get two of my Amazon bestsellers, Rejection and Murder at the Manor, when they join my reader group.
While I’ve shied away from self-gratification, Alinka showed me the merits of having reviews and awards clearly demonstrated on my books. Breaking Point, has been entered into the Readers Favorite Awards, achieving 31 five star reviews. I await the outcome of these Awards later this year. You can read further media releases on my site.
So it is possible to become an Amazon bestselling author if you have an eye catching, well edited, positively reviewed or awarded book that can be easily downloaded at an attractive price. It’s a reader/author win: win. But you need a plan and How I Sold 80,000 Books is the bible.
C T Mitchell is an Amazon bestselling author of mystery, thriller and suspense novels. His acclaimed Detective Jack Creed Series has been read by over a hundred thousand readers and counting. This action-packed series has a broad appeal, finding favour with detective and crime fiction readers alike. The series includes Rejection, Shattered, The Secret of Barnesdale Manor, Murder on the Beach, High Stakes, Murder at Stonehaven and The Thin Line.
Breaking Point, a psychological thriller book, was released 10 April, 2016 with more to follow. C T Mitchell has also penned the successful cozy mystery series featuring Lady Margaret Turnbull, an amateur woman sleuth loved in her community.
C T Mitchell’s background is an eclectic mix of accountancy, real estate sales and entrepreneurship. He resides in Brisbane and Cabarita Beach with his lovely wife, Sandra and their four wonderful children live close by.