That little orange star-bursting banner many authors strive to reach in Amazon’s ever growing sea of book titles. What makes this particular status so appealing? Is it an increase in book sales, reviews or maybe just the notoriety? Does it validate us in a way?
To understand why this status is so sought by authors, we need to know what it is.
This is what Amazon says about its best-seller categories:
“The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com.”
Basically, it is how well a product is performing as far as sales on an hourly basis. HOWEVER, Amazon goes on to say:
“While the Amazon Best Sellers list is a good indicator of how well a product is selling overall, it doesn’t always indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items. Category and subcategory best seller lists were created to highlight an item’s rank in the categories or subcategories where it really stands out.”
So, while the title “bestseller” is indeed an honor to obtain since it does affect sales, it is not always an accurate indication of how well a product is doing overall.
Why? Well, see what Amazon itself says:
“We choose a few of the most popular subcategories in which the item has a high ranking in relation to other items in that subcategory, and showcase the item’s rank on the product page. As with the main Amazon Best Sellers list, these category rankings are based on Amazon.com sales and are updated hourly.”
This is further complicated to determine just what a bestseller is because of authors who sell most of their titles at live trade shows and events. Many sell multiple copies of their books to readers who attend these events. Some sell hundreds of copies in a year at multiple events.
Since readers are human beings with busy lives, it can often slip their minds to leave a review. Adding their information to email lists can help alleviate these frustrations but it does not always eliminate them since an author’s constant emailing to ask for reviews can come off as begging or annoying.
So, with all of these ever shifting trends in Amazon’s algorithm combined with the understanding that not all authors rely on Amazon reviews to get their books into the hands of anticipatory readers, the status of “Bestseller” can become very obscured.
The hard but also stress-relieving truth is just because it says “Bestseller” it doesn’t have to mean “Bestseller.” Event authors who sell multiple copies of their books and enjoy writing them are the ones who understand that building a loyal readership doesn’t always have to rely on an orange status.
As long as you are building your platform, have loyal readers who look forward to your work, and are buying your books then you are going to reach “bestseller” status. It just might not be according to Amazon or its system.