Operation: Book Surge

I don’t like asking people to do things for me. And even after doing this for 10 years, I still feel awkward touting my book and podcast. It’s no wonder that I suck at marketing. But I often have this nagging feeling that I’m very close to breaking out, that I’m near a tipping point. I don’t want to be rich or famous – but I do want to help as many people as I can to protect their data and devices. Privacy and security are important for everyone and we’re all in this together. As I like to say, it’s not just a “me” thing, it’s a “we” thing.

So while this particular moment of inspiration is upon me, I’m going to get out of my comfort zone and ask for help – specifically your help. I have a few ideas for raising awareness of my book and podcast that I want to implement over the next few months. First up: a book surge.

Click the image to go to the Amazon page

Book Surge: The Strategy

The book surge will be a very focused, short-term campaign to raise awareness of my book with people who otherwise would never know about it. For one solid week – this week (starting July 8) – I want to significantly raise the profile of my book, try to get it seen by lots of new people. (If you missed this window, you can still help – read on.)

I’m going to focus on Amazon.com – love it or hate it, it’s where most people get their books. But there are so many books on Amazon that it’s extremely hard to get noticed. If you don’t show up in a search or get suggested by The Algorithm, you may as well not exist. Amazon’s algorithms are kept top secret, but it’s generally understood that things like book sales, number of reviews, and user rating are key factors. So that’s where we’re going focus our efforts.

How You Can Help

Here are my goals for this book surge and how you can help me achieve them. To maximize the impact, I’m asking everyone to target a one week period: Monday, July 8 through Sunday, July 14. (If you miss that window, these efforts will still be helpful at any time.)

Book Surge Goals:

  • Top 10 ranking. Each Amazon book is put into three main categories. My goal is to break into the Top 10 of at least one of the three categories. Hitting number 1 would be a major win and I think it’s definitely possible. The main way to impact this ranking is to buy the book. Get a copy for a friend. Do your Christmas shopping early. Recommend the book to others.
  • 50 reviews. I don’t have that many reviews of my book. I’ve sold hundreds of copies of this edition on Amazon (reviews don’t carry forward from previous editions), but I only have a couple dozens reviews. I’d like to get that number up to at least 50.
  • Rating of 4.8 stars or higher. Most of my reviews are 5 stars, but I have a few middling reviews that are dragging down the overall rating. I’d like to get the average over 4.8.
  • Show up in ‘other people bought’. If you’ve already bought my book from Amazon, buy another top-selling book in one of the three categories my book is in (here, here or here). This will cause my book to show up in the “people also bought” section whenever they look at those other books.
  • Make a wish. This is an easy one: just add my book to your Amazon wish list. It doesn’t even have to be public.

The book category rankings fluctuate quite a bit, hour to hour and day to day. But for reference, here are the current numbers from my book page on Amazon:

Baseline Amazon numbers (July 5, 2024)

Recognizing Your Impact

It would be kinda crass to offer direct incentives to buy or review my book (plus, Amazon looks down on that). And just to be absolutely clear, I want these efforts to be honest and sincere. But I would also like find a way to say thank you to everyone who helps out and recognize people who make a significant impact.

To that end, if we meet the milestones, I will plan to host a Zoom call for the people who played a key role in making it happen. On this call, I will give a short talk and then do a little AMA session (ask me anything). I will also plan to give away some cool stuff to the people who I felt made the biggest impacts (which will be a completely subjective determination on my part). Again, the overarching goal here is to introduce my book and podcast to as many new people as possible. This week, the focus is my book on Amazon.

SO… if you would be interested in being recognized for your help, please just save some sort of evidence of what you did – an email of your purchase, a link to a social media post, a screenshot of your review, or whatever seems appropriate. Just hold on to it for now. I’ll tell you how to share it with me when the time comes – I’ll set up a special email address for sending it to me. If you wish, you can post something on social media this week and tag me (my contact info can be found here). Let’s use hashtag #FDSDBookSurge.

I will be monitoring the Amazon book stats periodically and reporting on social media if we hit the milestones. However, the rankings in particular go up and down all the time – if you happen to catch my book in the top 10 or even number 1 in a category, please send me a screenshot or post it on social media and tag me.

Future Efforts

This is Phase One. If you miss out on this, stay tuned for future campaigns in the coming weeks or months! And again, doing the above things would be helpful at any time.

Thank you for your help!!

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