Chris A. Baird | September 3, 2020
Can self published books become bestsellers

You may be new with self-publishing and got curious if self-published books can become bestsellers. Let me tell you the answer based on my own experience.

Today's question has three answers and you are going to want to stick around for the third answer. Because it's a secret as to how trying to get your Amazon book to be a bestseller can end up resulting in getting your account banned on Amazon.

So let's get into the question for today. The question that I was asked is, can self published books become bestsellers? Now, this is an excellent question because maybe you were considering going the traditional route.

I Got The Bestseller Flag

In which case that would be a possibility where you'll be like, "well, I want to be a New York Times bestseller, Wall Street which is one of the other major newspaper bestsellers that people attempt to achieve.

Or maybe you're looking at just Amazon which is the one I generally am focused on becoming an absolute bestseller. You want to know what are the steps required to reach this specific goal and it can be a little bit confusing.

Some of the steps can be quite dangerous as we will explore in our secret answer of the day. But before we get into the answers, check out my free Self-Publishing Checklist. It will help you get started on your self-publishing journey to make sure you're not skipping any important steps.

So, can self-published books become bestsellers? We can go into my story. When I first started, because my books were not optimized, you can check out some of my videos on how exactly to go about optimizing your videos.

Check out this related article: Why Self Publishing Is Better?

However, I did discover after I started to optimize my books especially my book on Sleep that I was able to reach the best seller status and keep it for many weeks.

It even came back later sometimes when I wasn't even paying attention to it, it got the bestseller flag. Again and again and again based upon the massive number of books that were being sold through this particular thing.

It does increase sales if you can get that bestseller tag. So it has an impact when you're doing it but that can also be dangerous. I have seen other people discover in their bestsellers when they became bestsellers.

As well as the methods they used to become bestsellers, risking their accounts over the entire thing. So, can self published books become bestsellers? Well, let's look at the answers for today.

So, the first is yes, they become bestsellers and there are two main ways of doing that. They're in a category that is not so competitive. You'll notice on Amazon that there's an awful lot of different categories that you can place your books into.

It is to ensure that they have a chance at becoming a bestseller as opposed to the general broad categories where the competition is fierce in the smaller sub-niche categories. Then, there's less competition so that's a possibility.

Also, you can do things to boost your sales. You can do countdown timers in terms of dropping the price in the old days. You could do free promotions for a long time.

Then make them go paid and it would get the bestseller flag. Now, that no longer works that way. There are still different strategies to go doing this.

It Should Be In The Right Category

The number one way of doing it is getting a lot of sales in a very short period in a subcategory that will trigger you to get that bestseller flag which a lot of people are going for.

The second one is something that I was exposed to many years ago which is you have companies where you can pay them thousands of dollars. They will say we guarantee we will get your book as a bestseller which actually isn't that difficult.

What they will do is they'll just choose a subcategory that may or may not even be related to your book. I remember back in the day when people would take their romance books and then choose vegan diets for pets or something else.

And put it into that category to ensure they could become a bestseller. Then they would go there. But these companies, what they will do then is they will pay people or they'll have multiple accounts, a large number of accounts.

They'll just get 50 sales in a day in one of these small categories and it automatically becomes an Amazon bestseller. This phrase even doesn't mean that much. You'll hear people throwing this around as "oh, an Amazon bestseller".

In fact, a similar game goes on with regards to The New York Times bestseller list where you can also ensure that some sales go through. Buying up your own books for example and then magically you're making so many sales.

Check out this related article: Can Self Publishing Be Profitable?

With these few sales, you are able within a given category to become a New York Times bestseller. This is a strategy I think I have heard people using it. Paying a couple hundred thousand dollars and being able to get on that list.

By playing this particular game which is a little gray hat in the sense that they ideally would like it just to be organic sales. People are excited about your book, they buy the book. It's in the correct categories and then your book shows that it's popular.

Therefore, other people might want to check out the book and this has gotten people in trouble for doing this exact strategy with the New York Times bestseller list. For example where you're gaming the system to ensure you get that bestseller tag.

Now, that brings us into today's secret answer which is how you can get yourself banned with this bestseller game. And the answer is if you're using categories that don't match your book, Amazon can target you for doing something like this.

So it is important, to be honest with the people who are looking for your books that they don't see books that are completely not Cryptocurrency books showing up in Pet Training books for example.

It's ridiculous so you want to make sure that it does match your categories. You want to make sure that you do not use some sort of robot buying up a scheme where there are thousands of copies that are bought of your book.

I have met people I have coached people who have had problems with their accounts nearly getting banned. They are losing all of the revenue as a result of playing click farm games where they pay people to buy lots and lots of their books.

Tips To Save Your Account From Getting Banned

Whether it's on the free promotion or even on the paid promotions getting in trouble because they'll link those accounts together. They have artificial intelligence machine learning systems that are tracking this sort of stuff.

So at one level, it seems sort of innocent but at another level if it's going to dry up all of your revenue because your account gets banned as a result of it. It simply isn't worth the effort but if you would like to get yourself on the bestseller list, let me just give you a few basic tips.

The first thing is that make sure that your book does fall under some of these micro-niches that are selling like crazy, but there are not that many books on there. Because then you can compete for those categories that actually match your book without violating Amazon's terms.

Number two, if you're building up an email list of people who are interested in your book and you're on forums where people are interested in, then when you push out a new book and you can get a lot of sales going that route.

You may go with your friends, your family, and the people who are also interested in that niche without paying somebody who's clearly has a bunch of fake accounts. Then you pay them the money that they would use to buy those books.

This is a bad idea because it's not just about you, it's the fact that they're doing it with all these other books as well. This will get you on Amazon's crosshairs to possibly getting your account shut down. Then you see all of your revenue dry up.

There's been a lot of different strategies used over the years. Some of them are gray hat in sense of they're not directly violating Amazon's terms. But it is just a bad idea to play some of these games if you're trying to get some money.

Check out this related article: Self Publishing Distribution Options?

It is because you'll end up losing all of the money that you would have gotten otherwise. So, I would recommend going in those directions. Do not get your account banned.

We want to build up revenue so that over years, we're continually seeing the money flowing in from the book sales that we're making. So that we can produce more books and more products and services. As well as affiliate marketing and all sorts of stuff that go into it.


So, there is a lot of different options available to us. But getting the Amazon bestseller tag will help your sales. But it is not worth getting your account banned, so I hope you take that advice.

So, can self published books become bestsellers? What have you found? Have you found any of your books making the bestseller list?

Have you tried any of these gray or black hat strategies? Have you found your accounts getting banned? I would be very interested in hearing your experiences below in the comments.

Check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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