Friday, November 22, 2013

Bestseller?

What writer doesn't want to see their names one of those iconic bestseller's list? New York Times or the USA Today? Wouldn't it be wonderful? What does it mean to you as a writer? What resources are used to determine those rankings?

I did some research on this and let me put it this way. It's complicated. Those two big name lists figure their rankings differently which is why their lists don't always match. This post would get very long even if I wrote about in even the most general terms. The USA Today lists seems to take ebook sales into account more but from my research its seems there are some mysteries involved in how exactly the numbers are arrived at. But one thing for certain about both lists. They measure the sales for one week, as one source called it, the velocity of sales.

For instance, a highly promoted book might sell like crazy on its release date. But if poor reviews come in the sales might drop off sharply. So a book that never makes the top of the lists but sells steadily over a period of time may out sell and out earn a book that hit the top ten for a week or two.

Many publishers, like mine at New Concepts, have a bestsellers list on their website. New Concepts sell a lot of books directly from their website which not all publisher do, so being on their list helps with sales.

And what talk of bestselling numbers would be complete without talking about Amazon ranking? Being on one of their top 100 lists gives an author a reason to tweet about. Getting one book on the top will lead readers to other of the author's books.

Have you been on a bestseller list? Do you buy books that are recommended by such lists? Have you ever investigated how those lists are determined?

15 comments:

  1. As a reader, I don't pay much attention to bestseller lists, to be honest. Those books don't always live up to the hype for me, so I'd rather pick something up because I'm genuinely interested in it...

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  2. I rarely look at best seller lists, although I was very happy all three of mine were on Amazon best seller lists.

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  3. Thanks for this info. I do glance over the best seller lists in the Sunday paper. Mostly, it just makes me feel out of it since I have usually not read any of them.

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  4. Be fun to see them on the big named ones indeed. Been on a couple of amazon ones. Another factor that probably goes into the big names lists is $$$ pay them enough and they'll put you there lol

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  5. I'm like you both, Heather and Alex. Now if I thought I might be on those lists I might read them.
    I used to look at them, Betty, but I had the same experience as you.
    Pat, lol, I suspect the same thing sometimes.

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  6. Any writer's dream. Was encouraged to read the selling figures for indie authors like myself, and having exceeded what is thought to be average sales, shall keep going :0)

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  7. I haven't been, but of course would like to be.

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  8. I don't pay much attention to the bestseller lists, but it would definitely be my dream to be on one.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  9. Once upon a time in a land far away I kept up with Bestseller Lists. Yeah, I am talking about when I worked at St. Martin's Press in the publicity department back in the early 90s. For a while after I left that job I still felt compelled to check it. But then the impulse died. I suppose if the day comes that I finish and publish a book of my own, my interest in that sort of thing will be revived!

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  10. i'm learning about all this right now too. Since my debut came out it's been on Amazon's top 100 of the time travel category. So that's pretty cool, but it's only been a month, so it hasn't really translated to sales. Apparently any activity--even reviews will change the ranking on Amazon. I've heard it can't really be trusted. But still if it helps get our books in front of more eyes, then it may be good for something!

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  11. Hi, Susan. I might occasionally glance at a Top 10 Book list out of curiosity, but not as a recommendation. Those lists seem to be a bit confusing at times.

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  12. Haven't got to this point (yet?) but love the advice of others to not study and focus too much on the listings and ratings. I think it's important to keep it in perspective and not define our writing by ranks. I will try to keep that in mind when (if?) the day comes.

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  13. I like to check out the best seller lists just to see what's selling. I haven't been on one yet, but I've got time. :)

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  14. I don't typically pay attention to the bestseller lists (unless I'm congratulating a friend/acquaintance on being on one). Having said that, I'd still love to be on them some day! Then again, after what you explained, I'd rather a book that sells consistently over a period of time, rather than one big shot up and then nothing.

    The Warrior Muse

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