From Obscurity to #23 in Amazon Kindle Paid Books

What happens when the rulers of a country ban a book?


A sales explosion, that is what.

Once the government of South Africa said they were going to ban this book, its ranking on the Amazon Kindle Paid Books list jumped to #23.

The President’s Keepers” was released on October 29, 2017. It is about the dirty politics of South Africa and a corrupt government, written by a person who has a ringside seat to the action.

The sub-title of the book is “Those Keeping Zuma in power and out of prison”. 

On the first print run, the publisher printed 20,000 copies. When it hit store shelves in South Africa today, it sold out on day one.

The South African government, more specifically the National Security Agency in South Africa, knee-jerked and made a public declaration that it was going to ban the book. 

This book that had been doing reasonably well  on Amazon shot up to #23 in the Amazon Paid Kindle Books Ranking on Friday (November 3rd, 2017).

If you love stories filled with political intrigue, you are going to love this book. Do check it out.

Click Here to Learn More…

What can we learn from this as book authors?

If the desire to read the book is strong enough, consumers don’t think $15.49 is not too much to pay for an ebook.

The perceived value of the book has to be higher than the perceived value of the money asked in exchange for the book. If the perceived value is there, the price does not matter.


Bill Platt
Ponca City, Oklahoma USA

Kindle Is ONLY One Marketplace Where You Can Sell Your Written Works

Before Amazon jumped into the digital ebook business, many of us were already selling our digital ebooks in different formats and in different marketplaces.

Chances are the you have purchased my digital ebooks through JVzoo, WarriorPlus, Zaxaa or through my own website. You have even seen most of my digital ebooks produced as PDF files.

Each marketplace has a different set of buyers that it serves.

Some products I sell are better served in the ClickBank marketplace, while others are better suited to JVzoo.

Within a specific set of writers, who purchase on the recommendation of my affiliates, Zaxaa is sometimes the better platform, except that Zaxaa only gives me access to a very specific, tight-knit set of affiliates. If I want to reach more affiliates than those I know personally, I should market my digital ebook through a system like JVzoo instead.

JVzoo charges more fees than Zaxaa, but it is able to bring in more affiliates than people I know who might mail for my products.

The digital ebooks/products that I sell to writers are generally made available through WarriorPlus, JVzoo or Zaxaa, so that I can reach more affiliates and provide a customized shopping experience for my buyers.

I sell general non-fiction through Amazon Kindle, B&N and the iStore.

I dabble in fiction within the Amazon Kindle store only.

The bottom line is that it is more important to target they buying habits of your most loyal customers than it is to target one specific store from which to sell your digital ebooks.

If you want to make more money as a writer, then you should sell your products in the method that best-enables you to reach your target audience, using the marketplaces that best-enable you to reach more people in your target audience.

The downside of selling in a marketplace like JVzoo or WarriorPlus is that your extended audience, those people who may benefit from owning your book, may have pre-conceived notions about people who sell in your chosen marketplace.

For example, I produce products for writers. However, many of the writers who participate in the forum at — people who are also in my target audience — may feel that I am a marketer first and a writer second.

There is a certain element of snobbery in my target audience, where many professional writers won’t buy from someone that they perceive to be a marketer. :)

Never mind that all independent writers need to have a certain understanding of what it takes to market their own books.

Choosing our marketplace, where we are going to sell our books, is part of the marketing equation.

Choosing the price at which we are going to sell our books is a marketing decision.

Choosing the appropriate book cover for our books is again a marketing decision, as is how we title our books, how we write our book descriptions, and how we go about getting reviews for our books.

Many Kindle authors mistakenly believe that Amazon is going to do all of their marketing for them. Amazon does provide us access to a really large audience. And, Amazon does help people find our books within its marketplace.

However, no matter how much traffic Amazon can deliver to your sales page, the on-page marketing is an essential part to selling more books.

You can have the best book written since the Holy Bible, but if your marketing sucks, then your sales will suck too.

Like it or not, we all have to have a simple understanding of marketing, and more importantly, how to market our books specifically.

I get it. People don’t want to be perceived as a salesperson.

I believe the reason that is the case is because people who describe themselves as “salespeople” tend to be shallow and focused on their needs, rather than the needs of their customers, i.e. used car salespeople. :)

I might sell stuff, but to be honest, I think of myself as being very different from a used car salesman.

A used car salesman is focused on his next sale, his next commission. He generally has little concern for the needs of his customers.

A true salesperson, in my mind, is someone who is focused on the needs of his/her customers. An honest salesperson is not thinking of his/her next commission. Instead, this person is focused on giving his customers enough information to make a good buying decision.

This is the group where I place myself. I try to give you enough information that you will be able to make a good buying decision, towards the purpose of buying something that is right for you — the buyer.

My goal is to get the right products to the right people. And, if I do my job right, the commissions/royalties will come in due course.

As a book author, I need to show you the benefits of owning my books. I need to give you enough information for you to be able to decide — pro or con — in favor of you owning my ebook.

That is why I focus so much of my energy on writing a good book first, then creating the marketing that will ensure that people will want to buy my books.

Back to my original point, some people will refuse to buy my ebooks, because I sell my ebooks in the WarriorPlus and JVzoo marketplaces.

But, if you have read one of my products for writers, you might believe as I do that most writers could benefit from what I produce.

Most of the snobs are not hurting me. They are hurting themselves by ignoring me. :)

If I told you that I am not at all a snob myself, I’d be lying to you. I am a bit of a writing snob myself, so I cannot hold against those people their snobbery.

Despite this, I tend to apply my snobbery to the product, rather than a producer or a sales channel.

If I find a product that is good, I am going to tell you why I think it is good.

If I find a bad product, I am going to tell you why I think it sucks. Even good people put out stinkers once in a while.

Since I am being honest, there are a few sellers, whom I don’t like or trust, and I won’t tell you about their products at all. :)

While I can understand the position of many writers that they want to write and not sell, I feel a strong need to convey to my readers the importance of taking the steps necessary to ensure that they can make a living as a writer.

I cannot at all understand the willingness to be a “starving artist,” in lieu of getting paid well for what you have written.

My writing has enabled me to make a nice living as a writer, so much so that I have not had a job in over 9 years.

My wife has one of those jobs that most people have. She and I are married, but we have been separated for more than 4 years. ;) She earns what most people would consider to be a “good living wage.” And every month, I make at least 4-times what she makes.

While I earn quite a bit more than she does, I want to make more money. So every day, I wake up and do more work. I write, and I market what I have written.

“Marketing” is not a dirty word!

Being a marketer too does not make what I teach to writers any less important or valuable than what is written by someone who does not market training materials.

In fact, if you want more people to buy more of your books, so that you can make more money as a writer, I would argue that my being a marketer will make it more important for you to read what I have written. :)

Devlin's first airplane ride. Aug 7, 2014If I wasn’t marketing what I have written, chances are that I would still have a job, because if I am waiting on someone else to do my marketing for me, I might be waiting forever.

HERE is why I am happy to be both a writer and a marketer.

Isn’t it time you started treating your writing as a business, so that you can make from it what you deserve?

Bill Platt
Stillwater, Oklahoma USA

IMPORTANT ALERT: Guaranteed KDP Download Service Offered on WF and at

A few months ago, there was a new service opened at the WarriorForum that promised to deliver a specific number of free book downloads on your KDP Select Free Day.
I always questioned the service, because I don’t know how anyone could guarantee a specific number of downloads, unless the game was rigged somehow.
Someone had sent a ticket to the Amazon Kindle Support Team, and the support team assured us that using this service was not against Amazon’s TOS. 
I did send one email about the service, and shortly after, I pulled my support because I was talking to the owners of this service on Skype, and I thought they were a bit too dodgy and dishonest about exactly how they delivered their service. 
It would have been an awesome service if it were real… But when I would ask questions, they would say that they had already answered those questions, when in fact they never had answered the questions at all.
I knew that there was something wrong, although I could never exactly put my finger on anything more than a deep suspicion.
When the service was posted to Kboards, the people there also felt uneasy about the service, but some there were more than willing to give it a shot.
After reading through all 22 pages of that thread, I came to the same conclusion as many others that these folks are running a “bot network” to generate “fake downloads”.
I have been cautioned several times about Kboards. People tell me that the majority of folks who participate on Kboards are more deeply suspicious than I am and also very negative in their thinking. I don’t participate there often enough to have reached my own conclusion about that forum, but I still read it more than I comment, and that kind of behavior is so unlike me. :)
I am often saddened to see people who automatically dismiss anybody who participates at the WarriorForum. It is like anything else in life. There are good people and bad people, who participate there, and the fact that people sometimes advertise their products there has no bearing on the quality of the product you are going to get. Sure, there are some people who advertise junk there, but some of the best products I have ever purchased were also advertised as a Warrior Special Offer.
There is nothing so silly as throwing out the baby with the bath water, but several people on the Kboards thread about this service were saying things such as, “Well, it was posted on the Warrior Forum first, so it must be a scam.” 
Tsk, tsk….
I cannot fathom the mind of the person who declares something a scam based on where it was once advertised. 
Anyhow, the only reason I sharing this information with you here is because that KDP Select Free “Guaranteed Download Service,” currently offered at, has been blacklisted by Amazon!!
One of the book authors who was given a free test run of the service on Kboards came back to share that she received the following email from Amazon Kindle Support:
“It recently came to our attention that you may have used the third-party site,, for your title, [My Book]. While we will always support legitimate efforts of KDP authors to promote their books, this site uses improper practices to artificially inflate sales ranking in the Kindle Store.
We take activities that jeopardize the experience of our customers and other authors very seriously. We wanted you to be aware of the nature of’s offering and ask that you not work with them or other services that attempt to manipulate the KDP platform. If this activity continues, we will have to take appropriate action (which may include removing your title from Amazon and/or terminating your account).”
NOTE: The highlighting was provided by me.
If you want to read the entire thread, you can find it here:
The key piece of this email for me is that Amazon is not opposed to us advertising our books through third-parties. 
Instead, they take issue when the third-party service “artificially inflates” the numbers.
It is not bad to advertise your book to real readers and for those people to make a conscious decision to download your book. This is not the activity that Amazon has a problem. 
No. The reason that Amazon has taken a stance against this service is because it is engineering “fake book downloads” to skew Amazon’s internal book ranking system.
Now that Amazon has dropped the hammer on the Guaranteed Book Download Service available at, only the uninformed will use this service. So, feel free to forward this post to anyone that you might think should read it, and please share it on FaceBook.
After having pulled my support for this service early, I feel vindicated for having done so. 
My only disappointment is that I did send one email telling about the service, even though my recommendation of the service was luke-warm at best. 
The bottom-line is that we all make mistakes, and I made a mistake telling you about that service the one time that I did.
I apologize to anyone who might have seen my email and thought that service might be useful to them. And I promise that next time, I will follow my gut-instinct out of the gate.
p.s. If you would like to be on the email list to where I originally sent this message, CLICK HERE to subscribe to my Professional Book Marketing Tips newsletter.
Bill Platt

The Most Important 20 Minutes of the Rest of Your Life

If you have been reading my stuff for any length of time, you ought to know that I “notoriously” do not write fiction. LOL

I also don’t read fiction, nor do I watch much fiction on the television (except for NCIS and Dr. Who)…

So, it should come as no surprise to you that I have never read anything written by Neil Gaiman…

However, I do know who Neil Gaiman is… He is one of those people who continues to influence me to see my role as a writer in a very positive light…

In May of 2012, he gave a commencement speech to the University of the Arts.

Do yourself a favor… Get out your headphones, turn on the sound, and give Mr. Gaiman twenty minutes of your time…

You will be glad you did!!

Bill Platt

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

Market Your Books Like a Pro with Book Video Trailers

This video details the three most important steps in marketing your books online… No matter the marketing method you use to promote your books…

The most important goals that you need to achieve with a potential buyer include:

  1. Winning the attention of those people who are most likely to buy your books.
  2. Hold the attention of the reader long enough to convince them to keep reading your sales copy.
  3. Answer for the reader, “How will the reader benefit from owning your book?”

In other words, you must present your offer to the people who are most likely to purchase your offer.

Then you must be able to hold the attention of your prospective buyer long enough for them to read all of the pertinent information about your offer/product/book.

And, you must show the prospective buyer how they will benefit from owning your book… With fiction, you need to suck them into your story… With non-fiction, you will want to focus on how your reader will benefit from reading your book.

No matter the product we are trying to sell, these three steps apply to the sales process in all cases.

Neat Marketing Strategy for Children’s Books

Last week, I picked up my little one from school.

As my child came out of the classroom, his teacher handed me a piece of paper.

The headline of this flyer read, “So-and-So Author Visit Is Almost Here“.

The introductory paragraph read, “If you haven’t already ordered books and would still like to do so, please return this form with payment by Date. Thank You.

There was a list of 9 books with prices, and at the bottom of the page, it asked:

  • How many books?
  • Total Amount
  • To whom should the book(s) be personalized?

Being the marketer that I am, I brought the paper to my desk and opened my browser to Amazon.

The prices marked on the books on the paperwork are all higher than what I could buy the same books for on Amazon, with a price difference of $0.75 to $4.73.

Think about this for a moment…

  • The author sent out the paperwork in advance of her visit to my child’s school.
  • She set the prices above what it cost her to purchase her books directly from Amazon at full retail.
  • She is offering to “personalize” each book for the student.

All orders are paid in advance, and delivered on the day that she comes to the school to read a story to the children.

From a marketing standpoint, this is beautiful. She sells the books in advance, and she hand-delivers them to the school, with none of her own money invested in the process!!

If you create children’s books, please pay attention.

The author lives about 60 miles from where I do, and she has set this deal up with the local school system. She will be hitting all 4 grade schools in 2 days, going to one school in the morning and one in the evening…

She is getting direct access to several hundred children in two days, presenting a shopping list with 9 books on it, with a total marked retail value of $113 (books that could be purchased on Amazon for right at $96)!!!

If you ask me, this is brilliant… And, if you create children’s books, you should be drooling at the possibilities of doing this in your neighborhood…

Bill Platt

Can I Link To My Website From Inside Of My Kindle Book?

I see people asking this question all the time:

Can I Link To My Website From Inside Of My Kindle Book?

Absolutely YES, you can…

The only real restriction regarding links in your Kindle book is that you cannot include Amazon Associates Affiliate Links inside of your Kindle books!!

It has also been suggested by others than you cannot link to any Affiliate Links from within your Kindle book, but I have yet to locate a prohibition within the Amazon Terms Of Service that specifically prohibits Affiliate Links, except for the Affiliate Links associated to the Amazon website.

Whether you can or cannot link directly to an Affiliate Offer from within your Kindle book is immaterial in my mind, since I believe that you should always link to YOUR website from your Kindle books, rather than any other website.

I have always recommended against using Affiliate Links with any of your long-term advertising, i.e. article marketing, or within your books or reports.

I recommend not using Affiliate Links within those types of advertising vehicles, for a number of reasons, including:

  • Affiliate campaigns from the vendors frequently change the landing URL, on a yearly basis;
  • Some affiliate vendors will cancel specific Affiliate campaigns;
  • Affiliate vendors might terminate your relationship with their program — sometimes through no fault of your own;
  • Affiliate vendors sometimes reduce the commissions they offer to a point where you may not want to promote them anymore;
  • You may change your impression of a particular vendor or product and decide at a later date that you no longer want to support the Affiliate vendor or its products;
  • You may discover another Affiliate offer that you would prefer to promote over what you were promoting previously;
  • You may decide that your original copy for the offer fell short of its potential for sales conversions;
  • Etc.

Instead of linking directly to an Affiliate Offer, I have always recommended that folks should link to a web page on their own website, then when something changes, they would only need to change one page on their website to ensure that they could continue to profit from the traffic reaching the offer page that they have promoted.

For more detailed information about how to profit from links within your Kindle books, please consider picking up a copy of my report, “Dynamic Kindle Marketing“.


Bill Platt
Stillwater, Oklahoma

We Usually Get ONE CHANCE To Make A Good First Impression

In the dating game, they say that we only get one chance to make a “good first impression” — our window for opportunity may be only 30 seconds.

But as a book seller, our window of opportunity is far less!! In fact, we generally get no more than a glance to make a “good first impression“.

What do the following four Amazon book titles have in common?


If you didn’t catch it, all four books are strong sellers in the Amazon marketplace, and all four have book covers that beg you to read more about the book.

Often times, the only chance you have to convince someone to buy your book is the book cover that will convince someone to read your book title and your book description.

The fact is that you can have the best book title in the world, and you can have a really compelling book description that will convince people to buy your book, but if people never see your book title or book description, those items will fail to deliver an audience or buyers for your book.

Think about how you navigate the book sales pages in Amazon

Your future customers likely navigate Amazon in the exact same way that you do…

As for myself, I try to look at the book titles alone, but I would be lying if I said that attractive book covers help seal the deal for me.

How about you?