Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books Resources

visible1000pxAs you might have guessed by the new lick of paint, Let’s Get Visible is out! Grab your copy at:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble |

Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

Here’s the blurb:

Take your sales to the next level! The author of the award-winning, bestselling Let’s Get Digital is back with an advanced guide for more experienced self-publishers.

There are over 1.5 million books in the Kindle Store, with thousands more added every day. How do you get yours noticed? Visibility isn’t a challenge that can be bested once – it requires continual work. But there are tools and strategies to do much of the heavy lifting for you.

In Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books, you’ll discover how to:

  • Leverage Amazon’s famous recommendation engine to take advantage of the various opportunities it provides for exposure
  • Position your books for discoverability on other sales venues
  • Minimize the time you spend promoting so you have more time to spend writing
  • Promote in a cost-effective way that actually works

By using these tips, you will get your book noticed. And getting noticed is the key to growing your sales.

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

But hey, that’s marketing copy. Here’s what the first reviewers had to say:

Let’s Get Visible is the best tool I have discovered for a writer to push sales and visibility to the next level, and an indispensable addition to the library of any indie writer. If you’re an indie writer and you’re not buying this book, you simply aren’t playing this game to win.” — Michael Wallace, bestselling author of The Righteous.

“Gaughran distills complex subject matter and explains it in a way that anybody can easily understand, and takes the guesswork out of promotion at Amazon. He removes the mysticism and gets you as close as anyone outside of Amazon will probably be to understanding how stuff works behind the curtain.” — David Wright, bestselling author of Yesterday’s Gone.

“If you are a self-publisher looking to improve your ability to get eyeballs on your books, I can’t recommend this title highly enough. The book contains many ideas I’ve used successfully and several I’m now excited to try.” — Cidney Swanson, bestselling author of Saving Mars.

You can check out all the reviews on Amazon US and Amazon UK, and, if you hadn’t guessed already, you can grab a copy at:

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | $4.99

As promised, my mailing list was told about the new release before anyone else, and they’ve been busy sending the book to #2 in the Writing category on Amazon. The only thing blocking its path is something called Let’s Get Digital.


I’ve been running a 99c sale on Digital (links here) to celebrate the launch of Visible and at this point both books are amplifying each other’s sales. Digital was picked up by the good people at Pixel of Ink yesterday, which really boosted my numbers, and I took out an ad on BookBlast.

The logic behind promoting Digital to help Visible is obvious, but the reason my mailing list heard about the launch first is because I’m deploying a launch strategy from the book called Spreading the Love.

So far, it’s working very well, and Visible should nose past Digital at some point today, now that the door has been crashed down.

* * *

I had been circling the idea of Let’s Get Visible for some time.

While there are plenty of books to help self-publishers just starting out, or those still on the fence, there is little on the market for more experienced self-publishers. The books that are out there – at least the ones I sampled – seem to push strategies that are either ineffective, time-consuming, or, to be honest, at least somewhat shady.

I was also keenly aware that marketing is the area where self-publishers need the most help. I get more comments and questions about promotional strategies than any other topic. It’s also the area where self-publishers waste the most money, and, crucially, time.

The aim of Let’s Get Visible is to teach you how to replace costly, time-consuming promotional strategies with ones that actually work, and won’t eat into precious writing time.

I had a lot of help with this book. Authors a lot more successful than me were extremely generous with their time, their data, their insights into how Amazon works, and how to capitalize on the visibility opportunities there. I must single out a few for special mention.

Debora Geary pretty much pioneered this marketing approach, and was very patient in (repeatedly) explaining to me how all the various algorithms worked and how an author could take advantage of them. Ed Robertson and Phoenix Sullivan did all the heavy lifting in breaking down crucial things like the Popularity lists and how they are calculated (and how that effects marketing plans). I’m merely reporting back from the front.

Phoenix also took the time to read an earlier draft, along with Monique Martin and Cidney Swanson. When you have a team of bestselling authors beta-reading your book, you can’t go too far wrong.

So many more writers shared sales numbers and marketing strategies, and provided advice and encouragement. If I named them all, this would turn into an Oscar speech, but they know who they are, and they have my unending gratitude. This book would not have been possible without the openness of the self-publishing community, and its willingness to experiment and share results.

It also wouldn’t have been possible without my blog readers, who provided a sounding board for ideas and endless data grist for the theory mill, as well as continuing encouragement to get the bloody thing finished!

Thanks guys.

106 Replies to “Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books”

  1. Bought it, read it, loved it. Cheers to David (and all who contributed) for another fantastic guide. You deserve all the success and plaudits you’re receiving right now.


  2. David, congratulations on your very well-deserved success. Earlier this morning I looked at your Amazon ranks and was thrilled for you! I picked up a copy of Visible (I already had Digital) as soon as I got the advanced notice email and it was well worth the wait. Thanks for the information that I had long hoped to find! May you continue to write many, many more bestsellers.

    1. Thanks Christine, this book has had a great start. Sales won’t continue at this crazy level, slippage is inevitable, but the launch went perfect and the book is sticking – for now at least. And I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

  3. $6.99 for me here in Taiwan (from Amazon). Is it possible for me to buy a copy for my kindle for $4.99? (i.e. not from Amazon).

    1. Being a non-Kindle country means a sale in Taiwan only nets the author a 35% royalty, regardless of the list price. In reality, as the reader is being charged $6.99 for a $4.99 book, the true “royalty” from Amazon is just 25%..

  4. The only problem is that as I read Let’s Get Visible I kept thinking “No! He’s telling all the secrets to EVERYONE – and now Amazon will CHANGE the algorithms!”

    Publicity, discovery, marketing… All moving targets.

    I’m not ready for publication – yet. I hope you will keep updating the information.

    BTW, your strategy worked: I got the email and rushed over to get my copy.

    1. They are indeed moving targets, but I tried to “future proof” the book as much as possible.

      For example, while I do name a few ad venues that are worth the money, and others worth watching, I don’t give an exhaustive list which assesses all of them. That would date very quickly as new sites sprang up and old ones starting charging too much or losing their audience for whatever reason. Instead, I explain how you can evaluate any advertising opportunity to see if it worth pursuing.

      Things like the algorithms do change, but not as much as some people seem to think (only two major changes last year, and the second change was just making permanent what the first change was split-testing). But if you understand how all the parts function now – and I think you will if you read this – it’s much easier to spot when and how they change in the future and what tweaks you need to make to your marketing (if any).

      1. Plus when major changes happen, I go to your blog – and voilá, get all updated.

        This is possible because WITH the book, I’m ready and educated. Very useful.

        Please let us know how your sales are going – your blogging about it is a gedanken experiment for the rest of us, and much appreciated.

  5. Waiting on the print version 🙂
    Congrats David, and kudos on the marketing “blocking move,” lowering the price on “Digital” to block the number one spot 🙂

  6. Thanks for so much helpful information shared in these books. I wrote like crazy for four months and then didn’t know what to do with the book. I was going to go down the traditional route when I discovered your blog. It was like a breath of fresh air, and introduced me to a world I never knew existed. I’m just starting out and have so much to learn but I seriously don’t think I would have had the courage or the confidence to self publish without the inspiration and knowledge that comes from people like you, David. Thanks again and congratulations on another fine work.

  7. David, a tremendous book. I bought it Saturday and read it in one sitting. I posted a well-deserved 5 star on Amazon US a few moments ago. I’ll try to cut and paste it on Amazon UK as well, but that doesn’t always seem to work.

    I’d learned a lot of the stuff by trial and error, but never gave much thought to the ‘why’ behind some of the strategies. Your insights in those areas were a breath of fresh air. I also got a lot of new tips (for example, I’d never really considered the Amazon affiliate thing).

    Now I’m off to polish the marketing plan a bit.

    Warmest regards,


  8. Congratulations, David. Both on the release and how the book is doing. I was one of those on your mailing list and bought it through the link provided–very convenient indeed. I have one book out and working on the next one, and one of the obstacles I’ve experienced so far is visibility. Though I’ve been getting rave reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, my visibility remains poor and therefore so also my sales. I remember visiting your blog for the first time almost a year ago. I took a chance and read Let’s Get Digital and loved it. Everything just made sense then, in a sudden kind of way (grins). You were one of the motivators that got me to pull the dust-covered tarp from my dream and look at it through fresh eyes. Thanks for that. Here’s to *knowing* Let’s Get Visible will have the same illuminating effect.

  9. I’ve already read the book. Great job. If possible I would love to see a sales comparison between Amazon, BN, and the others after this is out for a couple of weeks. It would be interesting to see.

    Admittedly to see also for selfish reasons. My two books are still in Select and it would be nice just see a breakdown of sales across venues. (I’ve only been doing this a few months so still learning.)

  10. I’ve just bought Let’s get Visible from Smashwords. I note that only ePub is available there, and there’s no sample. I’m guessing that’s because you didn’t upload a Word file. Is this because you don’t think it’s worth the effort/hassle?

    1. More of a time issue, Russell. I’ll have the mobi and sample up some time this week – it just takes a little extra work to have a doc which the Meatgrinder will accept. I hand-code all the HTML for my e-books, so I really, really, really loathe going through the dumb process in Word to make a file that Smashwords will accept (and not crazy about the files it produces). It’s extra work for me for very little return, to be honest, but I’ll do it because I don’t want anyone to miss out – it just takes a little longer.

      If you want an alternative place to get the mobi file, try here: https://gumroad.com/l/SiBj

      1. I’m fine with just the ePub – I’ll be reading it on a Nook, and I have Calibre if I need to convert it. I understand about the extra work and I agree that the Meatgrinder-created files aren’t great.

        I just wondered what your reasons were, and if you intended to upload a Word file in future. Thanks for the clarification.

  11. David,
    I found out about Let’s Get Visible just now and bought it right away. Can’t dig in right now, but I will as soon as I can lay my hands on my Kindle. You have helped me so much with Let’s Get Digital that I know your new book will help me sell my short stories and wake them from slumber on Amazon. I’m also crowing over the discovery of gumroad.com – you just solved my problem about how to sell my stories from my website. Thank you so much!

    I just wanted to point out that – at least on this computer – your links to the reviews on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk link to “A Storm in Valparaiso”, and not to “Let’s Get Visible”.

    Thank you again for everything you do to help indie authors. I keep recommending both your site and your books.
    – Hannah

  12. Thanks, David. This book is a lifesaver for me. Rarely a day passes when I’m not asked how to market and promote a book, and up until now all I could do was point them to a half dozen blogs and caution them not to get ripped off by weasels making Big Promises. Now I can just tell them to buy your book. Best five bucks they can invest for their writing careers.

  13. Super exciting, David! Congrats! I run #indiechat over here in NYC on Tuesday nights and we’d love to have you as a guest and talk about this if it’s wasn’t the middle of the night for you!

  14. Bought it Saturday, finished it Sunday. Having been at this Indie thing for a good while now, I thought I knew everything I needed to know.

    Guess what? My ‘notes’ section–showing bookmarks and yellow highlighted passages–looks like a lemon meringue pie exploded. Still learning, here.

    Thanks David for a very useful book, and a stellar blog. You do good work.

  15. In case anyone is interested, I have an in-depth interview on the blog of UK writer Mark McGuinness today discussing the challenges facing publishers (and authors), and my new book – Let’s Get Visible. I speak a little more about why the book has such an Amazon focus, and what drove me to write the damn thing.


    …and I’ll be back to catch up on the rest of the comments shortly (writing cave).

    1. I haven’t read it (When I’m working on a book, I avoid reading anything in the same category/genre). But I will check it out. It has a serious amount of killer reviews. Have you read it?

      1. David, you may have one more reason to check APE by Guy Kawasaki: he mentions Let’s Get Digital.

        1. Ah, that’s interesting. I might have to hold off until I do the second edition of Digital because I’ve a pretty clear idea about what I want to update and add, and if I read another How To now that would get all muddled up! But I will. The reviews are really good and the snippets I’ve seen posted here and there seemed interesting.

      2. APE is indeed a good and well researched book. But I passionately hate one of its formatting decisions: hardcoding the font size. As I read more than one ebook at a time, when reading APE I was forced to continually switch font when switching books because APE’s are too small for me. This is a major formatting blunder.

  16. Reblogged this on dan-harris.net and commented:
    I’m on David’s mailing list, and bought and read my copy the day the release email hit my inbox. If you’re an indie author, there’s great information and advice here. Worth buying.

  17. LOVED it! How clever are you?? Getting my head around Amazon’s best seller and popular lists has helped me enormously and I’m busy recommending ‘Let’s Get Visible’ far and wide. The chapters on categories and selling outside was interesting. Since I do better on B&N than on Amazon (romance). I have a perma-free the first in a series, and what I can say is that iTunes have actively picked me up and are promoting the book heavily, have been for months. As have BookBub, so I consider myself to be very fortunate. Excellent job, David, take a bow. 🙂

    1. I think the more accurate question is how clever are Debora Geary, Phoenix Sullivan, and Ed Robertson? They are the brains behind all this stuff (and you should check out the blog’s of Ed and Phoenix for more detail on all this).

  18. Bought it, halfway through reading it, and learning a LOT! As soon as I’m done I’ll review you.

    Perfect timing for me because I’m right in the middle of a series of linked shorts that are coming out one each month. I’ve been amazed at the importance of the “hot new releases” list. I can see the benefits you discuss, and I seem to be hitting a mini-cliff, so it’s time for the next one to come out…

  19. David, congratulations on publishing your new book! I will have to pick it up. I loved the first one.

    Have you thought about revisiting Let’s Get Digital/Visible regularly, a bit like What Color Is Your Parachute has a new edition every year? That way your content is always of-the-moment. I’m not sure new editions would get you the sales bump that a whole new title would, but it’s something to consider.

    Best of luck on the launch!

    1. When I first wrote Digital, that was the plan, but it fell by the wayside as I got distracted by new, shinier projects. I will be updating both books though. Obviously, Visible won’t need updating for quite a while, but I think Digital is approaching the point where it could need some freshening up. Maybe I’ll start looking at that in June.

      The vague plan is to release a 2nd edition, fully updated, published on top of the current edition. This will allow all previous Amazon (and Smashwords) purchasers to download the second edition (for free!) via the Manage My Kindle page.

      So no-one should worry about purchasing Digital now and then a 2nd edition coming out later in the summer. You’ll get that for free (and, in fact, you are better off buying Digital while it’s 99c, it will certainly be back at $4.99 when the 2nd ed. comes out).

      1. David, I don’t know if I’m looking in the wrong place, but I was reading Digital last night and checked amazon.com, and it looks like the … > Series category for sci-fi and fantasy have gone away. Any ideas? Has Amazon altered their categories?

        1. Looks like they rolled out new categories this morning. I’m seeing 20 sub-cats for SF (I think there was 7 or 8 before), and lots of new ones in Romance. Still no sub-cats for HF. Sigh.

      2. Error–I meant to say I was reading Visible, not Digital. Excellent read and a lot of great data and advice. Thank you.

        Think you’ll revise Visible to reflect the category changes, or is that too minor to necessitate revision?

        1. I’d like to get a handle on all the new categories first, but I might amend a line or two when tweaking the back-matter in a few days. There are a couple of typos which need to be fixed too, but I’m loathe to touch the book while it still has momentum.

          It doesn’t affect the approach in Visible at all though. In fact, more categories = more opportunities for visibility + more readers browsing the categories (because they are more useful as a discovery tool = better results from this approach.

          For authors in genres with massively expanded sub-categories – life just got made a little easier. With more sub-cats there’s more ways to the top and more opportunities to find your feet in a smaller cat before moving up.

  20. Love the book, David – left a review on Amazon UK – will see if I can migrate it to US store. Quick cheeky question: I’m really interested in trying the group 99c promo approach. Given I don’t have the reach you do, can you recommend a way to get fellow authors involved that isn’t too ‘stalky’?

    1. Sure, there are lots of ways. Networking is so important as an indie. I made a lot of friends and contacts from hanging out in places like KBoards (formerly Kindle Boards) and a Facebook group called Indie Writers Unite. There are always people putting together promotions and looking for participants (with wildly varying levels of success). If you hang out in either place, or post details of your own promo there, you’re sure to get a few leads. But basically anywhere self-publishers hang out should be good.

  21. Any chance of a PDF version? I much prefer PDFs for non-fiction, especially when it’s a book that I might need to refer back to often – which I’m guessing is the case here. (I get busy with the ‘marker pen’ tools in PDF applications… and I don’t even have to feel guilty about marking a precious book!).

      1. David – if there’s no DRM on it, I can probably buy a kindle or epub version and convert it to PDF using Calibre. It usually works, although it’s often messy. But are you happy with this? Is somehow feels a little wrong to do this – though I’m not sure why it should: if I’ve paid for the content, I should be able to access it how I like! Not everyone agrees with this approach, however 🙂
        I think authors could consider offering special packages on services like Gumroad with access to all the formats – epub, kindle, PDF etc – and charging a little extra. It would often be worth an extra dollar or so to be able to read the book wherever you want.
        I can totally understand why you’ve gone the epub only version on Smashwords however. I’ve done the same with my fiction because I be bothered with formatting things in Word.

        1. I have zero problem with you doing that. Tell you what, you can go ahead and convert, and I’ll email you the cleaner PDF when it’s ready (some time this week hopefully). How does that sound?

          As for offering packages on Gumroad, I did exactly this for several months last year but demand was minimal. I think I only sold a couple of the mult-format bundles total! All the usual formats will be available from Smashwords once I get around to giving them the fiddly Word file they need – but I’m not crazy about the files that the Meatgrinder spits out tbh.

      2. Kindle version converted just fine. Don’t bother with a PDF version just for little old me – although for the future, I’m sure there are others who also prefer that format.

  22. Finally. In the last year I’ve seen my sales go from thousands of sales a month to a only a couple of hundred despite adding several new titles. I couldn’t figure out why. I’ve tried everything I could think of (opening the window and swearing at the world was least effective but most satisfying). This takes the mystery of the cliff away. Thanks for figuring all of this out, David. I was doing about half of this and I can’t wait to start doing the rest.

  23. Hi David,

    I just wanted to drop by and wish you the very best with your new book.

    You’ve been a massive inspiration to me and continue to do so. I took your advice of making my non-fiction titles into paperback and have already sold 10 copies this month!

    All the best.

  24. Hi David. I’ve just bought it and am working my way through it. I have a question (which is probably a stupid question!) when you’re talking about knowing how many titles there are in each category, for example the literature & fiction, genre, fiction, war, and you say there are only 5,315 titles in this category, where the heck do you see this? I can see the general ones under this category, but not the bit where it says how many titles there are altogether in this category…(rubs eyes)

    1. Jumping in… the numbers only seem to be on the US Amazon site – there aren’t any on the UK one. I’m guessing that’s where you’ve been looking?

  25. I left a review, and said it’s the most important book and Kindle author or publisher can read. Loved it, thank you.

    One observation, however, is that David may be minimizing the impact on sales of search function. We have one book that’s been a #1 seller (ebay category) for 6 weeks. We pretty much suck in the Popularity screen, but come up first in Top Reviews, and, as best seller. The books in the Popularity screen all have lower sales rankings, however, as David said, most of them are more expensive. We’re at $2.99.

    Personally I never do any searches other than using keywords, but I’m a non-fiction reader. Is it possible that the category browsing is more popular for fiction than non-fiction? Would love feedback, thank you.

    1. Hi John – sorry both your comments were caught in spam and I just rescued them this morning.

      I’m not sure that category browsing is *less* important in non-fiction, but would definitely agree that keywords are more important. I think the Google AdWords tool is great for brainstorming non-fiction keywords. Remember that what triggers appearance in search is title, sub-title, and keywords (nothing in blurb or reviews). If you have a term that is repeated in, say, your sub-title and your chosen keywords I *think* that will bump you higher in Search, so choose your sub-title (and keywords) appropriately.

      Don’t write off the importance of categories though.

  26. Great book, David. As I said in my review, the best and most important of the how-to Kindle group.

    My question is about keyword searches, and I wonder if you are minimizing their importance for non-fiction books. We have held the #1 spot for 6 weeks now in eBay category, and we pretty much suck in Popularity. We do well in Top Rated, Most Wished For, and of course Best Selling.

    If our sales depended on category browsing, I don’t think we’d be where we are. Would you agree that keyword searches are more prevalent for non-fiction, or am I incorrect in my assumptions?

    Thanks again for a great book.

  27. Hi David, this is a really useful and interesting book, but I have trying to use it this morning to get to grips with the categories and I have a little puzzle which I would like to run by you. This is on amazon UK, kindle books. I’ve been comparing the sales ranking of the book at the bottom of the first page of a few categories – number 16 – with the book at the bottom of page 6 – number 96. In crime, thrillers & mystery>thrillers the book at 16 (Someone to Save You) has a sales rank of 373, and the book at 96 (The Gemini Factor) has a sales rank of 57,202. This makes sense, and I found a similarly logical result in crime,thrillers & mystery>mystery.

    But in crime, thrillers & mystery>thrillers>suspense the book at 16 (Thursday’s List) has a sales rank of 735,896, whilst the book at 96 (Playing Dead) has a sales rank of 12,445. And in crime, thrillers& mystery>British detectives the book at 16 (The Memoirs of Sherlock Homes) has a sales rank of 601,818, whilst the book at 96 has a sales rank of 40,170

    I don’t understand this. Am I doing something wrong here? Can you explain?

    1. Hi Tim. It sounds like you might be looking at the Popularity List rather than the Best Seller list. It’s easy to mix them up.

      This is the bestseller list for that cat in the UK – you’ll see it’s headlined with “Best Seller List” – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bestsellers/digital-text/362259031/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_kinc_1_5

      This is the relevant popularity list – http://www.amazon.co.uk/thrillers-crime-mystery-ebooks-kindle/b/ref=dp_brlad_entry?ie=UTF8&node=362259031

  28. Thanks David,

    That’s probably it. Very helpful. I’ve read the book through once, now I’m doing the spadework to really learn all this stuff.


  29. I’m only half way through your book but wanted to let you know I’ve been looking for this kind of information for a year and hadn’t found it until now. There isn’t an ‘old guard’ with answers in this business model that is emerging and changing as we type. So it’s good to find someone who has put to paper what is known so far. Thank you so much.

  30. I’ve purchased your book, ”Let’s get Digital” on Amazon. I read the first two chapters so far, a wonderful reading, very captivating and informative. Thank you for this book, this will be a big help to many. I am looking forward to use all the valuable data in it to publish my own novel, that I am currently working on!

  31. Hi David! I posted this book in a writers forum I’m part of. Some of them don’t have ereading devices and were wondering if there was a place that they could buy the PDF? Let me know and I’ll repost it!

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