The key to making a list is the following:
- Sell books during certain times when these lists count sales. For instance, a weekly list may calculate books from a Sunday to Saturday while another might be Wednesday to Tuesday. Others tabulate sales by the day or hour.
- Sell books through certain recorded channels. Some lists take into consideration sales from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, most indie bookstores and some big box stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Others will include some registered bulk sales, others not. Sales processed outside of an established vendor likely won’t count, so if a company buys 500 books directly from an author or publisher, it’s as if the sales never happened.
- The total number of book sales in a given time period is what’s used to measure a best-seller but often the pre-sales of a book up to a book’s release date or launch week may all get bundled together.
- The easiest path to get to a best-seller list is online. With Amazon, depending on your category and sub-category you may hit multiple lists multiple times. But you only need to do it once to say you wrote a best-seller. Sales are calculated by the hour. You may sell as few as 75 books in a specific hour and outsell others in a unique sub-category and earn your best-seller status. What’s a sub-category? Take a business non-fiction book. A smaller category may be personal finance and under that, college funding, and under that, East Coast. Get my point?
- Making BN.com’s best-seller list is even easier, simply because they don’t sell as many books as Amazon, so it takes fewer sales to earn a momentary spot on a best-seller list at Barnes and Noble.
- Publishers Weekly tabulates best-seller lists in a variety of categories. They count out the top 25-selling books for hardcover fiction, hardcover non-fiction, mass market books, children’s trade paperback, etc. For the week of May 8-14 I saw 20% of the slots filled by books with sales under 5,000. For children’s, 50% of the available slots didn’t break the 5,000 unit barrier.
- Though it’s no easy feat to sell 5,000 copies in a week – or even 100 in an hour-it is quite possible to do both. The best-seller list, though seemingly elusive, is achievable to those who generate enough sales in a strategic manner.
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Your 2017 Complete Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit