Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Top Seller on the Subject of Stirling Engines

For the past several weeks my book has been the top selling Stirling Engine book at Amazon.com!  This is based on a search for "Stirling Engine" at the website http://www.salesrankexpress.com/.  The search results are listed in the order of Best Selling as determined by Amazon.com.  This is exciting news!  The book was first released on June 20, 2010.  Sales have grown slowly and steadily each month.  I am seeing in increase in both retail sales through Amazon and also through the wholesale sales channels.  I have now shipped 50 autographed copies to Camden Miniature Steam Services in the United Kingdom.  It sounds like they are selling very well in England.  There are days that I run the battery down on my smartphone because I am checking the sales reports so often.

Print On Demand (POD) publishing is working great for me.  The profit margin is nice, and the service is very good.  I had no idea what to expect when I started this project.  I was going to be happy just knowing I had a book published.  I didn't even try to set a goal for how many copies would sell or how much they would go for.  The income is not enough to let me quit my day job.  But it will be enough to make saving the money in a bank account lots of fun.

As an author I am always evaluating new ideas for a next book.  I wonder if having one profitable title on Amazon qualifies me to write about the process and share the lessons I have learned?  Here are some of the factors that I think are contributing to the success of this project.

  1. It really is a good book.  It meets the goals that it says it will do.  It is well written and easy to understand.  Is is illustrated sufficiently well to add value to the reader.  In short, it is a good product and it is worth the asking price.
  2. It is in a market that is not flooded with surplus titles.  The advice I received was solid.  I was told that a good book on this topic would sell well.  There is really nothing else like it.  It is a small market, but it is standing out because it meets a need for many people.
  3. YouTube helps!  I have about 20 videos of my engines on YouTube.  Every video has a caption that promotes the website or the book.  I receive between 200 and 400 views a day. That adds up to between 6,000 and 12,000 views per month.  I placed a hyperlink in the text descriptions of each video that points to my website.  I accidentally discovered that there are websites all over the world that clone videos from YouTube, and they take the descriptive text with it when they clone it on their own website.  This means that instead of having just 20 hyperlinks to my webpage from YouTube, I have hundreds of links to my site showing up all across the web, in many countries and languages.  This raises my status in search engines and makes my website show up better in search results.
  4. I have a nice looking website that draws steady traffic.  I am receiving about 2000 visits per month at the website now.  I am giving away free Stirling Engine plans to help draw traffic. The book is promoted on the landing page.  I have not had many sales from my website.  (Which is unfortunate because I make more money on those!)  But I know people like to buy from sites they trust, so I let people know they can order it at Amazon.
It has been fun to see that my URL and even my name are now searched for in Google. I can't say I get fan mail, but I do occasionally get some nice comments on you YouTube videos.

I am including a picture here of the search results today at Sales Rank Express.You may not be able to read the details, but that fuzzy blue image at the top of the list is my book, Three LTD Stirling Engines You Can Build Without a Machine Shop!  You can click on the picture to see a larger view.

If you don't have your copy yet, order one today! :-)

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