So you can read my books

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Megan Fox wrote me, asking if I would explain Amazon's Sales Ranking.

{I was dreaming at the time, of course!}

Megan just wrote me again with some interesting figures from April of last year:

Interesting numbers:

- 28 out of 100 top e-books in Kindle Store are self-published;

11 are in top 50,

- all of those publications are priced $3.99 or less;

that means 28% of top Kindle e-books cost less than $4,

- 18 of the titles are given the lowest possible price tag: $0.99,

- the shining star is John Locke with 8 titles (7 of them in top 50); Vegas Moon is the best self-published book – ranked #4,

- Amanda Hocking is sliding down; her best selling book, Ascend, is #64 (a result of signing a contract with a publisher?),

- authors to watch: Heather Killough-Walden, Julie Ortolon, J.R. Rain and Debbi Mack – with 2 or more titles in top 100.

{Megan being a "good" bad girl gave Piotr Kowalczyk credit for those figures. Her own figure she takes full credit for!}

Ah, the ever popular "Amazon Sales Rank. Often debated, never fully understood. And Amazon never fully explains.

So we're left to speculate like the number-crunching data addicts that we (or at least some of us) are.

Not only can it indicate how a book ranks in sales to other books, but it can be used to approximate actual copies sold.

The ASR is a unique number that is constantly recalculated.

For example if a book has an ASR of 100,000, then 99,999 other books sold more copies

and approximately 4,900,000 books sold fewer copies at that particular time.

Rankings can spike due to large corporate purchases or heavy marketing promotions and are accurate only for the exact time they are calculated.

ASR’s from 1 – 10,000 are recalculated hourly.

ASR’s from 10,001 to 110,000 are recalculated daily.

ASR’s above 110,001 are re calculated monthly.

The ASR is based on a single ISBN (edition), not the book title.

Therefore, the ASR for a title released as a mass-market paperback ISBN does not reflect the sales of that title as a hardcover edition, trade paperback edition, or special edition.

An average rank of 1,000 (or lower) means you have a seriously successful title;

an average rank of 10,000 means you’re doing pretty good for a book that’s no bestseller;

an average rank over 100,000 means your book is not going to contribute significantly to your income.

If you have a book on Amazon, for fun, you might:

Note when there’s a big spike in the number.

Did someone review your book around that time?

Did you post a comment on a blog or website the day before?

Note the spikes in sales over time and what might have caused them.

So, why are we obsessed with our Amazon Sales Rank?

Well, no matter what the number may be, if the number is rising it means a sale, which means a royalty payment in the end.

It might not be much of a payment, but keeping your book at a higher sales rank definitely increases exposure,

which hopefully increases sales and increases money in your pocket.
Hibbs made me post this video --


  1. They can make their numbers say anything. Megan has that new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie to worry about. Love the Bear video!

  2. David:
    Been on the road all day. Megan will do fine in the Turtle movie I believe. Wasn't that Bear video fun? Hibbs the bear with 2 shadows loved it! :-)

  3. The sales rankings really seem to be as random as their "rules."

    My book has been available for 2 weeks and bounces all over. 240,00, 33,000, 110,000, etc. It definitely spikes when I have sales, but sometimes I see 4 sales in day drop it in the 100k range and 1 take it down in the 40's...

  4. The key is getting it high enough to make the top one hundred lists so it will be noticed by more people - and purchased by more people. And they have so many charts, so that's more exposure. (Did you know there are author charts? Found that out yesterday.)
    Yes, below a thousand and you are moving serious numbers.

  5. Tara:
    I think Alex may have a point: that until your book gets under a 1000, its ASR will be all over the place. Of course, that takes serious sales!

    Yes, getting noticed is the key to sales. Outside of me being endorsed by Neil Gaiman, my poor books will slumber in cyber-obscurity.

    There are author charts, too? Oh, great, now I can suck in yet another chart! And Valentine's Day is coming, too, so I can really feel rejected! :-)

  6. Data, data and more data. Helpful info to those with books on the market.

    Perhaps Hibbs likes natural foods too. How hard is that to get in the realms he inhabits? Smart bear - Hibbs, although I liked the mechanical one.

  7. Your books should most definitely not be slumbering anywhere. So frustrating...

  8. D.G.:
    For Hibbs it is trout, nuts, and berries. :-)

    The data confuses me if I dwell on it too long! Or saddens me. LOL.

    Good to hear from you! I hope your ribs are much better. Yes, it is frustrating. I obviously do not know how to market my books!!

  9. Gorgeous video - loved the faces of the children.
    How are you doing at the moment? While I have been absent from the blogosphere you are still in my heart.