How I Became an Amazon Best Selling Author and How You Can Too

Like many writers, I dreamed of writing a book for many years before I actually did it. So, when I started reading articles about how self-publishing was taking off and how blogging was helping writers to grow their audience, I decided my time had finally come. In January 2010 I started Powered by Intuition for creating an audience for my books.

When I released my first book on Amazon, to my amazement it became a best-selling book and still is. I released my second book and that one became a best-selling book too. I’ve just released my third book The Intuition Principle: How to Attract the Life You Dream Of – which is my first print book. The Kindle version of my new book is now an Amazon best-selling book as well although, this time it wasn’t a surprise to me. By now, I’d figured out how to “lather, rinse and repeat.”

Amazon has their own way of determining Kindle best sellers and updates sales statistics every hour. They call it the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store list. To have a best-selling book on Amazon your book must be among the Top 100 Paid Kindle books in its category in the Kindle store.

Follow these tips to place your book in a place to sell well on Amazon.

How to Become an Amazon Best Selling Author

1. Use keywords in your title related to your blog’s niche.

Research other titles in your book’s genre among books that are on the Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store list. To find a Kindle book’s sales rank on Amazon – scroll down and look for “Product Information.” If the book is in the “top 100” it will be given a sales rank for its categories. If it’s not in the top 100 no sales rank will appear in “Product Information.”

Notice whether the top books in your book category all contain the same “keyword” or phrase. Use the Amazon “type ahead” feature (the search bar on their site) and type in your keyword or phrase and you’ll notice how it “types ahead” suggesting book titles for you. “Type ahead” phrases result from many people searching for a particular title. Incorporate that phrase or keyword into your title and your book will be found more easily on Amazon.

2. Have your book professionally edited.

Books full of typos, awkward sentences, and grammatical errors are returned for a refund more often. Amazon rarely questions a return so do whatever you can to avoid that. The money you spend on professional editing is well worth it.

3. Pay to have your book formatted properly.

Amazon Kindle books look best with “Mobi” formatting. While you can upload a book to Kindle in a Word document it may not lay out properly, so do not skimp on paying to have your book formatted.

4. Create an attractive cover.

People do judge a book by its cover. When you go to Amazon, the first thing to attract your attention is the cover. To create a good cover, spend some time browsing books in the same genre as your book. Pick the top 10 or 15 selling books and study their covers. Look at the typography, the layout, and the color choices and take notes. You’ll come away with some excellent ideas for your own book.

5. Choose the right category for your book.

Categorizing books lets readers search for the topics they are interested in. Amazon leaves it to you to categorize your book when you upload it to your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.

To help readers find your book ask yourself this question, “If I were looking for my book, what categories would I look under?” Then list all the categories you think your book might fit into.

Next, research the top ten to 20 books selling on Amazon which are like yours. Check out how they categorized their books under “Product Information” and categorize yours similarly. Amazon allows you to choose two category paths. Make sure you take advantage of this and fill in both.

Drill down on the categories so that your book will stand out from its competition. For example, if you write a self-help book – don’t end the category path at “self-help.” What else is your book about? Add another related category sub-path beyond “self-help” to your book and then another until you’ve covered every possible sub-genre of your book might be searched for under.

6. Pick the right keywords.

When you upload your book to KDP you are given up to seven keywords or phrases to use for your book. Do your homework by researching keywords and phrases that people might search under to find your book. And do make sure to use all seven!

Use the type-ahead feature on Amazon to see if any of the keywords or phrases you have in mind come up. Use the ones that come up on Amazon as they directly relate to on-site searches for books.


Check out popular keyword searches on Google AdWords too but, use these only if necessary after you’ve exhausted all the keywords and phrases you found on Amazon first. Amazon is its own search engine so when you identify a keyword or phrase on Amazon it is showing up because it is a popular search – so use it. (You can also go back and change keywords. This allows you to experiment with what works best for finding your book.)

7. Write a good description.

Amazon gives you up to 3000 words to write a description. Use as many words as necessary to write a compelling description for your book. This is your book’s “sales page” so put on your copywriting hat when you write it.

8. Price it right.

People will not buy an overpriced digital book unless you are a famous author. If your book is less than 100 pages don’t price yourself out of a sale by listing it in the top price range ($9.99) for getting a 70 percent royalty on Amazon.

After playing around with the pricing on my books I found that “less is more” in terms of book sales.

9. To give your book away or to not give your book away – that is the question.

Amazon has a program called Kindle Select. You enroll your book for 90 days at a time. You cannot be selling this book on any other websites including your own during the time your book is enrolled.

Enrolling your book in KDP Select allows “borrowing” of your book for free by Amazon Prime members. It also gives you the option of choosing 5 days out of the 90 days your book is enrolled to give your book away for free.

I enrolled my second book in KDP and gave away 464 free copies over two days. The book also rose to #1 in Free books in the Kindle store but, as soon as it wasn’t free it quickly sank right off the best-selling list. Before I gave it away for free the book was selling just fine and consistently ranking between #10 -20. It took nearly two weeks for it to rise back up again and to re-appear on the best-selling list.

My theory is that I saturated my market too quickly. I’m not likely to give my book away for free again. You may feel differently though and you should experiment with this. Some people love it and rave about it. If you are using your book to develop leads for your business and not to create passive income then definitely go for it. “Free” does sell.

10. Get reviews.

Give your book out to people and ask them to read it and please put a review on Amazon. Amazon reviews to help sell your books. Never ever pay for reviews. All reviews must be genuine and come from the heart of your reader.

11. Promote your book!

Display your book prominently on your blog. Write posts related to your book’s topic where you can showcase the book. Link to your book on Amazon and put that link in your posts. Start a fan page on Facebook and promote your book there. If your book is selling – thank buyers by tweeting on Twitter and a posting on Facebook. If your book hits the best-selling list – announce it on Facebook and Tweet about it. You’ve got to create your own buzz.

Organize a virtual book tour where your blogging friends can interview you about the book or review the book. Write guest posts related to your book’s topic and mention the book in your post.

Always keep your eyes open for ways to get publicity for your book. Offer to give away the PDF of the book to a reader who leaves the best comment about why they want to read the book and has shared the book on social media.

These are the strategies I use and they are working – and with a little effort and planning, they can work for your book too. Here’s to seeing your book on the Amazon Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store List!

Angela Artemis, an intuition coach, is on a mission to teach readers around the world to “speak intuition” so that they unlock all the brilliant potential that resides within and start successfully living the life of their dreams. She blogs at and is an Amazon best-selling author. Her newest book is The Intuition Principle: How to Attract the Life You Dream Of. Readers are welcomed to download free bonus material here.

13 thoughts on “How I Became an Amazon Best Selling Author and How You Can Too”

  1. As always… perfect timing on your articles. I've been thinking about writing a travel guide for the Bodrum Peninsula for over a year now, and this year I finally got around to starting the process. Last week I started putting content in word – so thanks for the tip on Mobi – you've probably just saved me a lot of rework.

    Great Article.. thanks, Jay

  2. I will put a plug in here for Farnoosh & Andy Brock of Prolific Living Media.

    They've started a publishing service that (I think?) you have used, Angela and given the quality of her own and others' books, it's worth checking out. 🙂

  3. It is my pleasure. Please, please let me know if I can be of help to you with you Kindle book. My book, "The Intuition Principle," hit #7 today on Amazon in its category. Woo!

  4. Thanks for this! Doing my first "free" with my novella prequel – the teaser book for my upcoming series. It's all right so far. I'd built a lot of buzz about it over the last 6 months just getting it out there…. The first 24 hours brought nearly 300 downloads. Let's see how today goes. 🙂 Best- Annie

  5. Great, comprehensive post on how to do things right when setting up your book on Amazon. When placing your book on your blog you could earn a little extra money by signing up for Amazon's affiliate program and using that link everywhere you post your book. I have had a lot of success with this from my books.

  6. Love your post. Quick question. If you list book on kindle AND in print, do sales of the two add up to determine your rank? Or do they compete against each other and water down your rank? In other words, I 200 people are about to buy my book, am I in the same place if half buy print and half buy kindle, or would I be better if all of them bought either just print or just kindle?

  7. Excellent post for authors getting into the self-publishing game, thank you so much for this Sue!

    What is the timeline you've typically seen to reach the top 100? Can you take an older book that has been on Amazon for awhile and still get it up the rankings with these marketing principles, or is it easier for a newly launched Amazon book?

  8. This is great, thank you.

    I answered a call for a short story, for fun.

    The editor loved it, and told me that I 'have the knack'. Other people have told me this too.

    I've started by writing a few short stories and am currently writing a novel, cross genre, so your advice is marvellous.

    You can 'like' my Facebook page (hint hint), @simonfarrantofficial

    Thanks again 🙂

  9. Great information, however, I am concerned that if I offer the kindle format…I will limit my print sales. I have an inspirational book for teachers, and I really want the printed book to be the preferred format. Will the kindle sales hinder or help that goal?

    Thank you!

    • I don't believe it will hurt you to have it in both formats, Michelle.

      Thanks for your comment and question.

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