A friend once called me a liar. Another friend rose to my defense and said I was not a liar, but I got more mileage out of the truth than anyone he’d ever met. So when I say there are ethical ways of using your competitors to catapult you into a Top 10 category, I’m not lying. I’m saying I get 100 MPG.
Let me tell you a story about selling my books online. For three months, my ebook, The Flirty Text Message Helper, languished on Kindle. Wracking my brains, I looked at competitive books that were doing well in its category. Specifically, Michael Master’s TextAppeal, Vanessa Taylor’s Text, Love, Power and the biggest dating blockbuster of the last five years, Sherry Argov’s Why Men Love Bitches.
I looked at their “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” and was overcome by Association Envy. If I could get the buyers of these books to buy mine, then Amazon would put it in their “Customers Who Bought” section. And then, my book would really take off.
But how could I do that? I tried to do it artificially by buying their books and then buying mine. It didn’t work. You have to buy an enormous number of books to get an association with a category bestseller.
As I scoured my competitor’s pages I noticed the Reviews section. The left side is dominated by three or four “big” reviews—the ones designated as “Most Helpful” by other browsers. They are printed in their entirety. But look to your right. You’ll see ten truncated reviews in the “Most Recent Customer Reviews.” Each review has four lines before it ends with a “Read More” link.
Now, what would happen if I, as a fellow author, wrote a useful review of my competitor’s book with a clickable link to my own? And made sure that the link was visible before the review got cut off by “Read More”? It would look something like this…
When you click on “Read More” the review expands to this:
Here’s what happened. Two weeks after I put the reviews into my competitors’ pages, my book showed up in their “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” section. Sales skyrocketed.
Why did it work? As the “newest” review, mine rose to the very top of my competitors’ “Most Recent Customer Reviews” and stayed in the section until it got pushed off the page with newer reviews. I literally put a billboard of my book in my competitors’ book pages!
Our readers enjoyed: Selling My Books Online.
And because I chose long-established best sellers that weren’t getting many new reviews, it took about three weeks before I got pushed off their pages. Plenty of time to whet a browser’s appetite.
You can find a list of 101 book marketing ideas like this one here. Selling your book on Kindle becomes less daunting when you use your available resources (such as your competitor’s Amazon page) to propel your ebooks up to a Top 10 category.