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One Excellent Way to Successfully Market an Ebook on Amazon Kindle

Today I want to talk about one specific method to market an ebook on Amazon Kindle with extra ordinary results. I have known about this method for some time now but wanted to try it out first on several ebooks I own to see how well it works before writing about it – I promise I wasn’t holding out.

This method is extremely effective because it works tremendously well and also efficient because it does not require much time investment on your part at all. 5 minutes if I were to guess?

The 20+ niche sites I own have a relevant ebook that I sell on those websites. These ebooks are also available online on Amazon Kindle and other ebook selling platforms.

So if you already have an ebook on Amazon Kinle, you can take advantage of this strategy today. If you don’t, I recommend submitting your ebook to Kindle because you may be missing out on gobs of traffic and potential sales.

The Amzon Kindle publishing platform is called Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP. When you are a published author on Amazon Kindle, you are given the option to join a program called KDP select. Amazon didn’t have this program in the past, but ever since they have launched it my ebook sales have increased 800%. You read that right.

How to Specifically Market an Ebook on Amazon Kindle

How did I do this? The KDP select program allows you to run a promotion where you give away your ebooks for free. Who doesn’t want free stuff? This is a great way to magnetize traffic toward your ebook listing on Amazon.

The beauty of this strategy is that those who download or “purchase your ebook for free” will have the ebook show on their personal selection list. In addition, since Amazon counts each download as a purchase, your ebook will show on the purchase list of the buyer who downloaded your ebook.

How does this help you? If you’ve browsed various products on Amazon, you have probably seen a message indicating something like this: “People who bought X also bought Y”.  Reads familiar?

So if your ebook was downloaded 1,000 times, it now has that many more chances of showing as having been purchased, therefore others are going to start seeing it all over Amazon. Not to mention that this strategy also works in terms of gathering reviews and ratings for your ebooks, which improves their overall rank on Amazon.

Great strategy? You bet. Let’s look at how to implement it.

Enrolling in KDP and Running a Free Promotion

The first step of the process is to join the KDP select program. In your dashboard, your default menu looks like this:

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll

Each row represents an ebook listing. To enroll that ebook, simply click the “Enroll” link to the far right.

Once enrolled in the program, click the box next to the ebook you want to apply this strategy to and click on the drop down menu on the top titled Actions.

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll Promotion

Scroll down to the Manage promotions option and you will see the following pop up.

This is where you enter the “promotion”.

Amazon Kindle KDP Enroll Free Promotion

The content in this section explains the promotion. Your enrollment in the KDP program (which is really a revenue share program based on which you get paid by Amazon each time a reader borrows your book from the digital library) is good for 90 days, upon which you can elect to renew.

Every 90 days, you are allowed to give away your book for 5 days. This is the promotion part of it. For some books, I started giving away 1 free day’s worth for every 15 days, and for others I ran a free promotion for 5 straight days. Both approaches worked well. At the end of the promotion period, I had several thousand more downloads than I am typically used to seeing each month.

The amazing thing is that the very next month my actual (paid) ebook sales were up 8 folds. I couldn’t believe it and had to stare at my dashboard for a little while until I digested the facts. The strategy works as it helps you reach more eyes and as a result potentially more sales. It’s been great for my business, and I hope you can use this strategy TODAY and start to benefit yours as well.

I’d love to hear back from you so please come back and let us know how this strategy works out for you.

And if you are interested in profiting from your own ebook publishing business but don’t have an ebook yet, I think you will find my 25,000+ word series on publishing and profiting from an ebook helpful.

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56 Responses to “One Excellent Way to Successfully Market an Ebook on Amazon Kindle”

  1. Nice! Free promotions are usually a great thing – it’s cool to see that this holds true on Kindle as well! This really makes me want to start looking into publishing an eBook for Kindle! Hmmmm… :)


    • Sunil says:

      you should Thomas. perhaps on iPhone apps? many of us can churn out apps, but making one successful is quite challenging given the need to market

  2. LaTisha says:

    These are great tips! I actually just wrote an ebook and I’m considering publishing it on Kindle for the extra exposure.

  3. Jimmy Moncrief says:

    Great post!

    I just wanted to add that this strategy has worked well for me!

    I got little to no sales with a Gumball Millionaire, but I implemented this with Landlord Virgin and sales have been great!

  4. Hi Sunil,

    just one thing that I think you haven’t said in your post. When you enroll your book in KDP Select, for an initial period of 90 days your Digital Book has to be exclusive to Kindle. You can’t sell it anywhere else nor allow anybody else to do it for you.


    • Sunil says:

      good addition Christina. I had to do this with one of my books. based on your experience, do you feel it is worth delisting your book from everywhere else for the 90 day KDP period?

      • I have the feeling that some people don’t follow the rule of exclusivity. Maybe because they haven’t read the Terms and Conditions of KDP Select (it’s the first rule in the list).
        I guess Google cannot check one by one all books in the program to check if they are being sold anywhere else.

        Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk. Amazon is a very strict company when they enforce their rules. I wouldn’t like getting a penalty like being expelled from KPD Select, as this program is what makes a big difference in sales when you have a new book.

        • Sunil says:

          I agree – it’s very important that we take time to read and understand the TOC of the partners we work with.

          it seems that you are writing/speaking from a lot of experience. can you share with us your experience with ebooks and the success you are seeing as well as the methods you recommend for our community?

          • The bigger problem with Amazon is that you don’t get enough data to figure out how to increase your rankings or split-testing.
            However, once you have a few books in the Kindle Store you can start figuring out some things. For example, how to reach the Top 100 for a specific category (not just any category. You need to research to find a profitable yet achievable one).

            Once you reach the Top 100, chances are you will be in other lists, like the “also bought”, “Hot new releases”, “Movers and shakers” etc.

            Your goal is to tempt impulsive buyers. You can’t do that with a high price book, of course. So, you start with a low price and once you climb the rankings and start collecting reviews you can increase the price.

            KDP Select is just another tool to climb, since free downloads also count in Amazon algorithms, whatever they are.

            • Sunil says:

              interesting point on starting low to attract the buys and then hiking it. didn’t think of that. I do think that an opportunity exists for an ebook analytics type program that helps with hits/conversions etc. the main challenge is the conversion tracking to determine which marketing efforts are paying off, and which of the books are doing relatively better than others. gross figures never tell the full story.

  5. Ok, so taking Cristina’s remark into consideration, how do we go about this? I guess you already have the ebook selling in your niche website for long before selling it via Amazon Kindle?

    • Sunil says:

      let’s say you finished writing a book today, you can immediately list it on Amazon. however, if your book is in existence and selling on your website, you must stop selling it for the period your book is in the KDP program. 3 months later you can take it out of the KDP program and resume selling it both on Amazon and your website. make sense?

  6. In addition to the exclusivity requirement, which is Amazon’s prerogative, I have heard one frequent criticism of the KDP program is that you get non-specific pairings with other free eBooks. Thus, some people believe it hurts cross-pollination sales. Usually THEIR books would show up as recommendations when someone is about to buy their books; however, this is no longer the case once your eBook is paired with countless other freebies.

    • Sunil says:

      I don’t really see that as a downside Roshawn as it still gives me exposure I would not have had. Can you elaborate why you feel this hurts publishers?

      • Sure. I’m not saying that it hurts self-publishers as much as I am saying that it is a mixed bag. Here’s a sentiment that I am hearing repeatedly from numerous self-publishers. ”
        1. I’ve lost some of my faith in the Kindle Select program since it originated, and as a result I’ve opted my titles out. Select requires exclusivity, and I found I was making more money via Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, Overdrive, Sony, and Apple than I was through Select lends.

        The other advantage of Select–being able to make your ebook free–used to result in a nice bounce from the free list to the paid list. Lately, the bounce isn’t nearly as dramatic. ”

        Thus, I am not against it, as much as I am trying to add to the discussion. I’m still deciding on my path.

        • Sunil says:

          very interesting Roshawn and thanks for the added color. you mentioned several other resources to sell/distribute an ebook. have you experienced publishers apply on each platform individually? or is there a simpler/easier way to make one submission and have the book be available for sale on the 6 avenues you mentioned?

          it’s exactly these types of thoughts that make the discussion a lot more interesting and valuable for everyone. thank you!

  7. Kara King says:

    Hi Sunil,

    I wanted to chime in, since I just published my first ebook “The Power of the Pussy: How to Get What You Want From Men” to KDP Select on May 23rd. I originally was going to launch my site first, but saw this opportunity with KDP Select, did it first, allowing me to take my time building the site. Here are my stats so far, but keep in mind I have nothing to compare this to, as I am very new to all of this. After my launch, I ran a two day free promo over Memorial Day weekend. I had over 300 free downloads. After that I sold 17 books and had 9 borrows, earning me almost $150 in my first week. About ten days after promo, sales started slowing, so I ran one more free day this past Friday. Gave away over 300 again. Sales are back up and I have sold a total of 45 books and 13 borrows just in these first 12 days of June! I am doing better then I expected for the first month and I owe it to the free promo within KDP Select. I expect my first month’s check from Amazon to be around $400. Hooray! Just thought I would share my happiness with you, since your blog has been very helpful to me along the way.

    • Sunil says:

      Kara that is amazing. big congratulations to you. I am interested in learning more about your progress. please continue to keep us updated and share what worked best for you. again, congratulations to you. that is truly amazing.

    • Kara,

      300 free downloads is not much, usually a good book performs better. However, in your case it seems to translate in good sales. Your figures are very good. $400 in your first month with just one book is really great.


  8. Theodore says:

    Hi Sunil,
    Please what are the criteria for selling on Amazon Kindle? You’ve written a very nice article here though.
    Thanks for the Tips


    • Sunil says:

      the program is pretty straight forward. once you have a book, simply submit it and wait for their review process and feedback. I am not aware of criteria that would preclude you speficially

  9. Sunil, its so amazing to see that you make so much sale after giving away your ebooks for free. You know one sweet thing about giving to the community is that the community will also respond to you – they will give you what you want.

    BTW, this you wrote here I also listened to it from Eric Lass when Trent interviewed him.

    I saw that some of your ebooks are on the high side. Do you mean you actually have an ebook selling for $49? I just want to know this because my new product is worth around that figure and i was thinking selling on KDP is not the best because i read the best is to sell ebooks around $5-$10 mark.

    Please clarify this for me so I know how to go about it.


    • Sunil says:

      it all depends on your market / target buyer. I have a few ebooks north of $100 that are selling very well. I have a few in the $29 to $49 range that are doing equally as well. go for it – you can always play with pricing later on to find your ideal mark.

      the biggest challenge I am facing is that there is no way to tell how many people are visiting your book sales page on Amazon (traffic) and therefore hard to measure conversion for testing purposes. anyone have a good suggestion to tackle this predicament? it would definitely help streamline targeting/marketing.

      • Kara King says:

        I too have found this to be frustrating about Amazon. No analytics what so ever. As webmaster, going in without transparency is a bit weird to me. I have no way of knowing if my marketing efforts are bringing any traffic, other than the rankings. But, even the sales data they give is minimal.

        Regarding the higher priced ebooks. My next venture is going to be “Do it yourself rodent control” (this is my husband’s expertise). I was telling my husband that we could charge more for this type of ebook, since it is a very small niche. We could even refer customers that call us and cannot afford to hire us and direct them to the site/amazon link. What do you think? Is this the type of ebook that could command higher pricing?

        • Sunil says:

          this one sounds like an excellent way to display expertise and then entice the reader to call for your services – you can use it as a conduit to your main business. but if your business is local, your reach will be limited. I like Cristina’s suggestion of starting at a lower price point, see how it goes, and then inching your way up. what do you think? when is the launch?

  10. Lain says:

    I love this idea. Will be implementing it now! Thanks much. I have three books on Kindle but have sold ONE copy — so I might as well give ’em away to try to promote.

  11. Lars says:

    Thank you for this!

    I am using this to promote a Kindle book I just published a few days ago, and your screenshots came in very handy.

    I took it a step further and sent out an email to my opt in list about the free promotion, and told my list that anyone who forwards me a receipt proving that they downloaded it will also be entered to win in a random drawing for a product that relates to my non-fiction book subject.

    The email and promotion both start Friday and will run over the weekend. Can’t wait to see what happens.

    I used my own Amazon affiliate link in the email, so I think that will show me approximately how many clicks I get and downloads I get as a result of the email.

    • Sunil says:

      excellent way to leverage the tools and integrate them. I am particularly interested in the results. please do share Lars and all the best to you!

      • Lars says:

        The free promotion was a success. The book ended up as the number 1 free book in the Home and Garden kindle section for more than a day, with more than 7,500 free downloads.

        Since it went back to full price on Tuesday, I’ve sold about 25 copies and loaned out another 10.

        I got around 250 entries into my email contest.

        It also generated 17 Facebook likes on the page, and 5 five star reviews of the book. That alone was worth making it free! (I asked for reviews in the email promotion.)

        The Amazon affiliate link I used in the email reported 11,000 impressions, with a 20 percent click through rate and a 3 percent conversion rate.

        It appears to me that the email generated some initial momentum for the free book, and then the book was able to sustain the momentum on its own as it started appearing in various Kindle top seller lists.

        The Amazon page for the book doesn’t even really rank yet in Google, but I am hoping that the Facebook likes might help with that, along with the Amazon interlinking from other similar book pages.

        I’ll probably test $3.99 vs. $2.99 at some point, to see if it reduces sales significantly or not.

        If sales stay where they are now, it will work out to a nice little additional side income that requires no more extra work at this point, unless I decide to promote it more.

        Once again, I’d like to thank you for this post. I never would have known about this promotional strategy if I hadn’t read about it here, and it made a real difference for me in getting my new book off to a nice start.

        • Sunil says:

          CONGRATULATIONS. nothing more refreshing than a success story! definitely exciting news, and I hope your book leads to more opportunities for you down the road. just don’t forget about us small folk when you reach the top :)

  12. Romeo says:

    Hey, Sunil. I’m going to try this out today and make sure that I give you an update at the end of my promotional period. Thanks!

    • Sunil says:

      waiting to hear Romeo

      • Romeo says:

        I ran the promotion for one day, 2 days ago. I had 312 free-promo sales, but no “regular” sales as of yet. The book has been out of promotion for almost a day now. Since I didn’t get any sales yet, I went ahead and took a chance on increasing the Kindle price from $2.99 to $4.99 just in case the promotion works. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll probably run a one day promotion again over the weekend, when people have no other thing to do than to play on their Kindles.

        • Sunil says:

          you cannot make sales while the book is in promotion. the sales come in after the conclusion of the promo. for some of my books, a weekend promotion helps weekend sales. but for other topics, running a promo on a thu/fri leads to higher sales for sat/sun. there are some topics that attract weekend readers as you have hypothesized. in any case, looking forward to your experience with this method.

  13. Hey,

    Thanks for this information and discussion. I was trying to upload my .pdf file tonight with no success. Some recommend changing it? Is it worth changing or should I try again?

    I was going to simply give away one book and sell the other through my website… now I’m wondering about putting it on other sites such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

    • Sunil says:

      try again. if you have the word doc upload that and see how it looks in the preview. both are commonly accepted. on the second one, why not give it away in return for an opt in, and then also have it for sale? those who want your material but don’t want to pay can opt in. thoughts?

  14. Abyooda says:

    Sunil, I only sell my books through my website, and I didn’t sell any of them since a while, please preview and refer back with an article or a solution for me :)

    • Add it to kindle and sell there. Use the advice here. I’ve been in the kindle publishing since and what Sunil wrote here makes sense. Try it, it might/will work for you.


      • Sunil says:

        Sheyi tell us more about your experience selling books – the success you are seeing and the best ways to market your work?

        • I depended solely on KDP select. That’s all I’ve used so far to promote my books. I use 2 days free at first. Wed and Thurs and see how it goes. Lot of DLs and then I spread the rest 3 days, once Fri and Sat and then maybe another Fri.

          All in all, amazon KDP rocks. Maybe I’m the lazy type. I outsource books and just upload and that’s all. I don’t do any SEO or thereabout.


        • Got 9 books so far. 2 were banned after making few sales but its all good. A particular book of mine about usa politics got banne 3ce – so painful you know.

          The most successful book I’ve got out there is a book on copywriting sold for $9.97 and it has the worst book cover anyone can ever have on kindle – yet it makes money

          Dunno the magic behind the book. Just 1 5x comment and the funniest thing is that Amazon did not approve the book for KDP select so no promotion whatsoever. I did not mention it anywhere.

          The book that comes second is that on relationship. Doing fine after each promotion on KDP. Sold close to 250 so far – yeah i know its a small amount but it means a lot to me.


          • Sunil says:

            250 is not a small amount, congratulations. it doesn’t appear that we can tie a promo strategy to your success since it’s so scattered. but what about your strategy in determining which topic you should write about? tell us more about your approach here?

          • Well, I don’t do the KW research thing.

            I get to kindle, just look around the internet and decide on which topic to outsource.

            The thing is this, I’m coming to the internet to have fun and not to look for topics for my kindle book.

            Once I read and see something fascinating that could interested kindle readers… I dig deep and go for it.

            I’ve got too many topics now that I picked both online and offline – I believe those topics/niches covered in the IM arena can still make wonders on kindle.

            Fat Loss, Money making, dog training. If anyone can dig deep, there are obviously untapped niches amongst them.

            That’s just it. Right now, I’m working on my first paper back book – which I’m pretty sure its gonna be a success.

            Just pick a niche, learn the ropes behind it and you’re good to go. Like i mentioned earlier, I’ve never ever done any campaign for my kindle books other than the KDP select (for some of them).


            • Sunil says:

              very interesting approach. you pursue your fascination rather than supply vs demand based on factual research and it’s working for you. very interesting

    • Sunil says:

      read this series. go back to all the linked articles as well.

  15. Am new to kindle publishing. I published my first book in January and I sold 18 copies. I will try implementing this free promo for a day and see what will happen to my sales.

  16. I am so glad I found this blog! Fantastic idea and I am glad to see others have found success with it. I just published my first book “Lessons I’ve Learned, No Nonsense Advice on Relationships” on Friday. I was curious how this program worked for others and after reading the post and comments that follow, I enrolled. Hoping I can achieve the same!

  17. Marie says:


    We have 1 book on KDP which I put up at Christmas time. Our book and Eguides are nonfiction cihe book and Eguides on grantwrting and how to make money running a freelance or consulting businesses. We have sold 2 Kindle books. We have done no marketing on Amazon or Kindle but market our book and Eguides on our wesbite and to our customer base. We have a customer base on our main business’ newsletter of around 350 people.

    We sold our first book through our website, at webinars and in person. We have sold around 400 copies since we wrote and published it through Createspace. I am trying to research what to do to get our Kindle sales for our book to increase.
    We are selling our book hardcopy from Create Space and through Kindle Select. The book is selling periodically. We recived an honorable mention from the Univesrity of Bologna in Italy which I use in marketing.

    Do you have any suggestions for getting the book to sell thru Kindle?

    • Sunil says:

      have you tried using the free promotion days on various days of the week ? example, use a free day on a monday, then try it the following week on a tue, and so forth. include weekends at some point. you have 5 free days every 90 day period. doing this spreads the word, increases the likelihood your book shows up as “those who bought this also bought….”

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