How to increase your book’s rankings on Amazon

Did you know that every month, millions of readers throng the Amazon Book Store to browse through and pick up books in different categories and genres? In an age where book retailers have had to rethink their focus on books and pivot their strategy to resurrect dwindling book sales and reader engagement, Amazon with over 2 million titles on its platform, has risen to the top as the most dominant force in the book market today. For any author or publisher who is looking to get a book published, Amazon provides an optimal solution to their biggest problem – Visibility.

Here’s the catch though, while millions of readers buying books every month on Amazon provides an opportunity to scale up your book’s visibility, it also provides one of the most competitive spaces for a new author to shine through. There are thousands of authors and publishers trying to get the attention of readers with their book on Amazon even as you read this article. However, only a fraction of them are actually successful. So is there a point in trying to compete? To answer it in one word: Absolutely. All you need to do is get a clear understanding of how the Amazon system works and build a strategy around it to start seeing the results. 

At Notionpress we’ve been applying these strategies and tactics over the years on thousands of books we have published, to get them into the top rankings on Amazon and boost their sales. In fact, you can check out a list of over a hundred Notion Press books that top the rankings on Amazon here:

Amazon Rankings

Here is how the Amazon system works. Like I mentioned earlier Amazon has over 2 million titles on its platform and there are millions of readers looking to buy books in different categories from their online store. Amazon has built the most exhaustive ranking system to help these readers find the best books that match their search queries and ensure they don’t waste time searching. These rankings on Amazon are updated hourly based on an algorithm that relies on key factors like hourly sales, revenue made over time and traffic to your book page. If you can manage to leverage these key factors and rank your book in the first few pages, your book is automatically made visible to thousands of readers who search for books in your category thereby increasing book sales. 

Book Positioning

First things first, you cannot hope to be successful if your book isn’t up to the mark. This is what your reader sees before deciding to read more about it. 

You have an average of 7 seconds to make readers click on your book’s thumbnail. In these 7 seconds, all you can show to your reader is the book’s cover, the title, and the price. If your book’s cover or title does not reflect the genre or category the reader is searching in, chances are that even with a good ranking, readers will just look past your book. Spend enough time during the publishing of your book to ensure that the cover and title reflects the theme and category you are writing about.

Choosing the right category

Amazon has an extensive list of categories and subcategories for products to be listed in. Authors are allowed to list their books in a maximum of 2 relevant categories to help readers find their books. When you select a niche category and subcategory you have a better chance of ranking higher due to lesser competition.

Here is an example: 

If you have written a book that gives out helpful tips for startups and entrepreneurs to grow their business, you can try choosing a category like Entrepreneurship or Business Self-Help instead of listing it under non-fiction or general business books. This will help you compete with fewer books and enable you to reach out to a set of readers who are searching for something very close to what you have written.

Look up books similar to yours on Amazon and select niche yet relevant categories to list your book in. 

Optimising your book for Amazon Searches

There are 2 ways readers try to find new books on Amazon. 

  1. Choosing from the list of categories and subcategories available on the platform
  2. Searching for themes and genres directly using the search bar.

By incorporating commonly used search terms in the title or subtitle, you can make your book pop up when your reader searches for it. 

Take a look at the following example: 

The book Zero to One : Notes on Startups and how to build the future ranks #1 for the search query “books on startups”

Although this works more for non-fiction categories if you can introduce terms related to your book on the title or subtitle it can work wonders for your book’s visibility. 

Sell more books and get more reviews

I understand that this might sound confusing, but you need to start selling more books to rank higher up on Amazon’s listings. When you launch a new book in the market, you start off on neutral ground. During the initial weeks, if you can drive book sales on Amazon, your book gets a massive boost in rankings as compared to the other books that have slowed down in sales over the months. This gives you a solid base to build on. Here is what you can do: 

Make a list of at least 30 people from your friends, family, colleagues and business circles and request them to support you when the book launches by buying it from Amazon. Send out an email with the book’s link and a personalized thank you note to them when your book launches. 

Although reviews don’t directly affect your book’s rankings on Amazon, they play a huge part in helping you convert casual browsers into buying your book. So ensure your list of friends and family members leave a review once they are done with the book.

Setting Up Discounts and Coupon Codes

India is an extremely price-sensitive market even when it comes to books. This is why e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart make use of sale periods to maximise sales. ( Remember The Great Indian Sale on Amazon or Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale? ) This is why it is essential that you make use of discounts to stand out from the competition and increase the chances of readers buying your book. 

Coupon Codes work pretty much the same way as normal price discounts with one major exception. Setting up coupons for your book helps you put your book on Amazon’s Deals pages which gets more traffic, thereby boosting the visibility of your book to more readers looking for good deals on books. 

Advertising your book on Amazon

One of the easiest ways to get your book to the top when readers search for books is by advertising it on Amazon. Amazon helps you reach out to readers by putting your book ahead of even the best-selling book in that category when readers search for it. Simply put, readers can see your book first even when it is not ranked on the top. This is one of the most powerful strategies that can yield maximum results for your book. Publishers and authors alike have managed to leverage advertising on Amazon’s platform to build and sustain their book’s rankings over a period of time to get their book into the much-coveted Amazon Best-Seller club. 

Ensure you set aside a small advertising budget for Amazon and target specific themes, keywords, categories and other competing authors and books your readers might be searching for to boost your book’s visibility to the right readers. 

Amazon’s platform offers a multitude of opportunities for authors and publishers to build visibility for their books. Understanding how their system works can help you build clear strategies to get your book on top and boost its sales. It is essential that you have a focussed approach when it comes to promoting your book on Amazon. The above-mentioned strategies are tried and tested by us here Notion Press to deliver the best results for our books. Go through the steps mentioned above and carefully plan out your strategy based on the type of book you have written and your requirements as an author. 

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Sushant Satish

A massive football junkie and a travel enthusiast who gets easily inspired by new business ideas and spends his spare time thinking up various ideas of his own that can impact the world for the better, hoping to someday implement them all.

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