Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday's Writer's Forum Making the Bestseller Lists

Writer’s write books. That doesn’t mean they can sell them. Selling books is a numbers game for the nonnumerical.  For those of us who used our math classes to compose poems to the adored, poison pen letters to those we despised, and stories about the algebra teacher turning into a dragon, here’s a few number break downs I found online. I’m still learning. I just stumbled over where you can check your sales rank of all your books from all channels on Amazon. Just enter the ASINs

I really appreciated this list by author Teresa Ragan.
Sales Ranking Chart
The rankings are interesting to look at if you have a book out there and you are hoping to, for example as of January 2012, get on the Top 100 Romantic Suspense Bestsellers List on Amazon. If I look at the Romantic Suspense Kindle Ebook List and click on the book title of #99 or #100 and that book has a Bestsellers Rank of 3,865 (#99) and 3,875 (#100), then I know I need a 3,875 or better to get on that list.
Amazon Bestsellers Rank is the number you find beneath the Product Description. Every book on Amazon has an Amazon Bestsellers Rank. Click on any title and then scroll down until you see it.

As of March 2013

Amazon Best Seller Rank 50,000 to 100,000 - selling close to 1 book a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 10,000 to 50,000 - selling 3 to 15 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 4,500 to 10,000 - selling 15 to 25 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 3,000 to 4,500 - selling 25 to 50 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 500 to 3,000 - selling 50 to 200 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 350 to 500 - selling 200 to 300 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 100 to 350 - selling 300 to 500 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 35 to 100 - selling 500 to 1,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 10 to 35 - selling 1,000 to 2,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank of 5 to 10 - selling 2,000 to 4,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank of 1 to 5 - selling 4,000+ books a day.

Amazon has a bevy of Bestseller Lists, all split into Free and Paid listings. The big one is the Top 100 in the Kindle Store, and placement on this list can drive staggering amounts of sales. This list is populated with items ranked #1 to #100 in the overall Kindle Store, which includes not just e-books, but also things like games, magazines, and newspapers.

The exact algorithm Amazon uses to assign a Sales Rank to each book is a closely-guarded secret, but the general make-up is easy to deduce. Simply put, your Sales Rank tells you how many books are selling more than you at this moment in time (it’s updated hourly). However, it also takes account of historical sales. More recent sales are weighted much more heavily in the algorithm, though, and velocity plays a big part too (how much your sales are increasing at that moment in time). There’s a lot more to it, but those are the basics.

The Kindle eBooks list is further subdivided into various fiction and non-fiction lists, with various genres and sub-genres (and sub-sub-genres). Some categories, like Literary Fiction, have no sub-genres, and you need a pretty high Sales Rank – around #2000 – sneak in at the 100th spot on the list.

Other categories, like Science Fiction, have several sub-genres. Something like Science Fiction/Anthologies doesn’t even have 100 books in its category, and you can place on this Bestseller List with any ranking at all (the 62nd book has a ranking of #891,386).

(Note: the importance of picking the right categories for your book shouldn’t be underestimated. If you pick two competitive categories without sub-genres, like Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction, and you aren’t selling enough to regularly chart better than #2000 or so in the overall store, you are missing out on placement on any Bestseller Lists, and hurting your sales. There is great advice here on picking categories for your work.)

All of these categories and lists are reader discovery tools. Many readers browse through these lists looking for books to buy. Placement on these lists can drive a lot of sales. 


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