Writing Romance: How I Wrote & Self-Published an Amazon Best Seller
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One of my romance novellas, Until You Loved Me: An Interracial, Billionaire Romance, hit the Top 100 in three categories on Amazon, ie:
- African American Romance
- Multicultural Romance; and
- Interracial & Multicultural Romance.
If you can push your book into a Top 100 category on Amazon, you can go from selling a few copies per day, to 25, 50 or a 100 or more per day.
Needless to say, this can mean the difference between earning a few hundred per month, to a few thousand per month. While some luck is involved in getting onto a Top 100 list, this didn’t happen totally by accident.
Indie Authors: How to Write an Amazon Best Seller — 6 Tips
Following is some insight into what I did to make it happen.
FYI, at the end of this post, you’ll find info on the romance novel that earned me almost $4,000 in just 8 weeks. This can happen for you too! Really; it can.
But first, let’s see what goes into the making of an Amazon best-seller in romance.
1. Marry Fantasy with Reality
As in, address real-life themes. Yeah, it’s fantasy, but fantasy grounded in reality is so much more relateable.
I think readers took to this this book because it touches on a lot of real life struggles, eg, homelessness, single parenthood, the lack of affordable housing, and how many of us are just a paycheck or two away from finding ourselves in real financial trouble.
This is the real-life stuff. And when you throw in fantasy (meeting and falling in love with a billionaire), it makes it so much more “believable.”
A writing win!
2. Choose the Right Niche
There are tons of niches in romance; but some sell better than others. I write interracial romance because it sells. It’s that simple.
3. Write a Good Book
This should go without saying, but you must, must, must write a good story. Don’t just haphazardly throw something together.
Put your best foot forward — and this includes the little things like paying attention to punctuation and grammar, which brings me to my next tip …
4. Pay Attention to the Little Things
I’ve been burned on this in reviews a few times over the years in reviews for minor grammar errors. And mine were tiny compared to some books I’ve read.
So, I got much more meticulous about this, making my books as error-free as possible.
5. Get a Professional Cover
Covers sell books. Although you will see a few non-professional covers in the Top 100 categories sometimes, these are usually by authors who’ve already made a name for themselves and can get away with it.
Just start out, you can’t. Pay to get a professional cover done.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I use a graphic designer I found on Fiverr, and get mine done for around $20.
6. Pay to Push
What I mean by this is, when you see a book is climbing the charts, put some money behind it to push it further up the sale charts.
I had a feeling that this book was going to do really well, so when I saw it creeping up the charts, I bought some ebook marketing gigs on Fiverr to shake loose more sales.
In all, I spent about $20 with three giggers. Following is some more insight on why/how I decide to spend money to market a book.
Getting in a “Top 100” Category on Amazon
I’ve gotten in the Top 100 a few times on Amazon. If you’re in this category, this means your book likely has an Amazon Sales Rank of 5,000 or LOWER (the lower the number, the higher your sales rank).
This means you’re selling more books, eg, 25+ books per day.
The reason things tend to take off when you’re in the 5,000 or LOWER rank is that your book will be listed in the “Top 100” category.
To explain, my book ranked in three categories in the Top 100 according to the graphic posted above. This means it got listed on the following AMZ pages:
Once your book is actually listed on those pages — you get many more eyeballs on it, which puts you in what I call the “magic web of sales” category.
Amazon sales rank changes hourly, so you may not stay there for long. But while you are there, you’re clocking many more sales than if you weren’t in a Top 100 category.
So when I saw my book teetering in the 10,000 Sales Rank area, I kept an eye on it. When it got to 6,000 or so, I bought a couple of Fiverr gigs and I also Googled some free Facebook romance groups that I could post to.
All of this worked, catapulting it into the Top 100 in three categories.
BONUS Tip: A Quick & Easy Way to Help Your Book Rank Higher
One key thing you should do is learn how to find and input the right keywords. Why? Because this is how potential readers look for, and find, books. Learn more here.
How to Earn Over $2,000/Month with One Book
Going with the minimum, let’s say that each day you’re in a Top 100 category, you sell just 25 copies of your book (usually it’ll be more). If you price it at $3.99 (as I did mine), you net 70% of that on Amazon.
- That’s $2.79 per book;
- $69.75 per day;
- $2,092.50 per month.
Now imagine having two or three books performing like this. See how easy it can be to earn $2,000 per month — or more? FYI, usually you’ll sell 50–75+ copies per day when you’re in a Top 100 category.
As of this writing (Nov 25, 2018), this book had sold 245 copies, for earnings of $610 — in just 13 days ( click graphic for larger view).
And that was just on AMZ, not Barnes & Noble, Draft2Digital or any of the other outlets I publish to. Not bad for one book, right?
Make a Full-time Living Writing Romance
In my private romance writing group (which is open to students in the paid version of the romance writing course), I share info like:
- which giggers to spend money with on Fiverr that have worked for me;
- how to find and what to say to a book cover artist;
- how to choose a popular romance writing niche;
- how to price your novella to sell;
- when NOT to spend money to promote your books;
- and so much more.
In short, the course teaches you everything you need to know to turn romance writing into a full-time career if that’s what you want. One final thing …
There is a bit of luck involved in writing a best seller. As I said to members of my writing group:
Sure, you have to start with a good book and sometimes put some promotional money behind it, but IMHO, it is no reflection on your writing if you don’t reach this status.
Think about it — only 100 books out of the thousands that are published daily hit these charts. And how/when a book catches fire is a guessing gam e.
BUT you greatly increase your chance of one of your books catching fire if you publish regularly, and follow the tips outlined here.
P.S.: The Book that Earned Me Almost $4,000 in Just 8 Weeks
Update: Nov 2019. Here’s the book I referenced that earned me almost $4,000 in eight weeks (Sept 11, 2019, to Nov 11, 2019). See?
Almost $3,800 of that was from Amazon. The rest came from various other outlets I distribute to, mainly via Draft2Digital.
Ready to Make Money Self-Publishing Romance?
I’ve earned as much as $3,500 in one month writing short romance novels and selling them on Amazon (and other outlets). You can too!
If you’re ready to get started making money writing romance novels for Kindle, enroll in this free class. As my (very moderate) success shows, there’s good money to be made writing and self-publishing romance novels.
There are many unknown indie authors who are quietly pulling in five figures per month writing romance, which is the goal I’m working towards. That could be you too!
Hope this insight helps, and here’s to seeing you in class.
Originally published at https://inkwelleditorial.com on November 25, 2018.