Being #1 in any category pays, & you can do it too!
Updated: Mar 13
When people browse books and find something that might interest them, they often scan down the page quickly to see certain elements of the sales pitch: review star average, how many 1-stars, price and so on.
They also note the ranking of the book. If they see that the book is currently #1 in its category, they are more likely to click buy as this ranking holds a lot of weight. Do they look in detail at which category it is #1 in? Probably not, but that figure is worth its weight in gold and is well worth trying to achieve, and I don't just mean by selling more books.
Since 2014, my first book End of the Road has been showing as #1 or #2 in its category, and has never dropped further than this, and it achieved this with no marketing what-so-ever!
I'm sure that this magical number is the reason that this book has been constantly downloaded over the years with next-to-no input from me.
So how did I get it there in the first place, I hear you ask? Well, it's important to understand that your book needs to be in the right category and not 'lost'. If you put it in any old category then it will get downloaded by people who perhaps don't like your genre and they won't enjoy the book and feel tricked and will leave a nasty review. Your book must be in an appropriate listing for what it is.
Once you've published your book and added the categories, take a look at its position within those categories, monitor the position for a few weeks and note how high it climbs with any spikes in sales you may have. Be aware that there are numerous sub-categories that the book will show up in too. It doesn't matter which cat you get to #1 in, you just want to get that position and then try to stay there. The image above shows my book at #1 in Law Enforcement Biographies, and #3 in Biographies of the Army. I'm happy with both of those cats as the book is about a soldier who then joins the police so they are both a good fit. The other cat, Biographies of Notable People, is not but there is nothing I can do about that and is probably the price I'm willing to pay for the other two positions!
And don't stay in the same cats for ever! After many years at #1 and #2 I decided to play around and changed the categories the book is listed in. Foolish, right? Who'd give up those two valuable positions?
Well, we are own promoters and we need to test everything out! If it drops me into #97 in another cat and stays like that, I can always go back in a click. However, another benefit of changing cat is that you make the book visible to people who don't usually look at books in your old category! Yes, fresh eyes on your book = more potential sales!
When I changed End of the Road from its #1 cat, it appeared at #32 in the new cat but I guess due to new eyes discovering my book, it moved within just a few days to these positions!
What are you waiting for, get tinkering with your books category!
Update 13th Feb:
After a few short days, the book has settled into the #1 spot for Law Enforcement Biographies, and #1 for Biographies of the Army, and #4 for Bios of Notable People.
Now I haven't sold any more books than usual over the last few days, apart from one real spike yesterday, so I believe that this is the new, settled position for my books on Amazon UK.
As most of my books are sold in my home country (the UK), I have to be extremely chuffed with this new position (especially as the book is #1771 overall in Free Kindle Books in the UK).
I don't sell many books in the USA yet, but below is the current position of the same book in the US!
So whatever you do, play and experiment with the category placing of your book! If you wish to add anything or ask any questions, please post in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!
(Update 14/3/2020: The above ranking is currently #14, #2, #4 respectively)