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Do you want to help me out as a writer?

First, let me tell you, there are four things you should do first. (First and foremost is to buy my book. If you haven’t done that yet, stop, go buy one of my books, and then come back to this blog. Hint: leave the Amazon window open on your browser.)

But assuming you’ve done all four of those things, you should go out and buy my competitors’ books.

Say, what?

Lest you think I’m kidding, let me be clear: I’m dead serious.

One of the best things you can do for me, as an author, is to buy a similar book, by a writer that’s ranked just above or below me on the Amazon or Kindle sales ranking lists.


It’s the “Also Bought” list.

Do you know how when you’re viewing a book on Amazon, you see books listed below the one you’re checking out, with lead-in text that says, “People who bought this book also bought…” or “People who viewed this book also viewed…” You’ve seen that, right? That’s the “Also Bought” list.

I want my book in that list.

How do I get there?

Well, someone has to buy MY book AND the book you’re looking at. And that someone is you.

And the book you should be looking at, and buying, is the one that’s ranked 5-10 spots above mine on the Amazon or Kindle sales lists for my genre.

Here’s how it works. If I’m ranked #80 and Josie Smith is ranked #75 in the Mystery genre, buying my book AND Josie Smith’s book will generate a lot of “People who bought…” mentions for me. A LOT. Like, every time someone views or buys Josie’s book. (And for Josie, likewise. But not so many, since she’s sold to more people than me.)

Why not buy the #1 book in the genre, instead? Because there are too many other “also bought” books tied to that one. (Numbers 2 through 79, probably.) My 80th-ranked book won’t crack that list. But by definition, #75 has a lot fewer “also boughts” (because, of course, fewer people bought #75 than #1).

Also-Bought-Venn-DiagramsFor Example

Let’s say Josie has sold 1,500 books and is ranked #75. I’ve sold 1,200 and am ranked #80. John Grisham has sold 8 scabillion and is ranked #1. The likelihood that someone who has bought my book has also bought Grisham’s book is pretty high. But the likelihood of any Grisham book buyer having bought my book – or even, having heard of it – is very low. (Ridiculously low.)

As you move down the list from Grisham to me, the odds of someone buying both my book and those books diminishes. Odds are, very few people have bought both my book and Josie’s (because, let’s face it, few people have bought either of our books, much less both). In the diagram, you can see that over half of my sales (the green bubble) is swallowed up by Grisham’s sales bubble. Likewise for Josie. But that’s a drop in the bucket for Grisham.

But let’s say you’ve bought all three, because you’ve read this blog and want to help.

Now, when someone else buys Grisham’s book and the “Also Bought” list comes up, odds are, there will be several books ahead of Josie and me. We won’t show up.

But when that someone else buys Josie’s book, my book has a terrific chance of showing up, because the overlap between my book and Josie’s book is greater, relatively speaking, than my book and Grisham’s.

But the book whose sales are represented by the black bubble won’t show up on Grisham’s (too small) nor mine or Josie’s (no overlap).

Find your Josie

So, please:  find your Josie. Buy her book (and mine). We’ll both love you for it.



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