Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's easy to become a bestselling author

Lots of writers you’ve probably never heard of are described as “bestselling authors.” Unlike lists of the winners of Oscars, Emmys, Pulitzers and Nobels, there is often no official registry where you can check the validity of the claims. Also, there’s an almost endless list of bestseller lists. Unless a publisher provides a detail like “103 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List,” it’s hard to document or disprove bestseller status.

The Times, of course, is the biggie. Other important lists are provided by USA Today, Amazon.com, IndieBound, Publishers Weekly and Barnes & Noble.

There is often disagreement among the bestseller lists and it may not be obvious how the lists are calculated. For example, online booksellers and “big box” stores may be excluded.

  • A book about flea removal from pregnant three-legged albino Weimaraners could sell exactly one copy and still be the BESTSELLER IN ITS FIELD. There is no law that requires an explanation on the cover or a footnote inside the book.
  • Anyone can call any book a bestseller (or “best-seller” or “best seller”) and the label may help it to achieve more sales—deserved or not deserved.
  • Keep in mind that even if a book is on a legitimate list, the fact that many were sold does not necessarily mean that it’s a good book, or even that buyers have read what they've bought.
  • There are even fudged bestseller labels that are more the result of marketing than of statistics, such as “summertime bestseller” or “underground bestseller.”
Amazon’s bestseller list has been manipulated by elaborate online campaigns to maximize purchases during a brief time period to temporarily elevate a book to bestseller status.


Yesterday, with no manipulation, my newest book, STINKERS! America's worst self-published books was ranked NUMBER EIGHT on one of Amazon's bestseller lists. Today, it was up to NUMBER TWO. That's pretty amazing, especially since I am still tinkering with the book and have not made an official announcement that it's available. It's on a very specific list (maybe a very obscure list), but now I can legitimately call the book a “bestseller.” My wife is not impressed. If you are impressed, please buy the book. It's important, useful and funny.




(pooch pic from http://arizonaweimaranerrescue.com)

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1 comment:

  1. What a smart book! I will buy it. I can see the road is wide open for this book to come out each year
    with a new list of Stinkers. CONGRADULATIONS ON Stinkers ranking! :O)

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