I’m sure many of you have wondered how the magic of the Amazon ranking works. To be honest, I still think it’s a huge mystery but humor me for a minute while I share what I’ve learned.
Last I heard, there are over 1.5 million books available on Amazon. I’m sure that number has changed a bit since I heard it but the fact remains, indie authors many times feel like they are a minuscule fish in an enormous pond. I’ve got good news for you 🙂
Have you ever stopped and looked at your ranking. And I don’t mean a cursory glance but actually start to study it? I never really thought of myself as a number’s person, that’s my son, but as my books began to the climb through the rankings I started noticing a pattern. A single book can help you leap through many thousands of books.
An example of that would be my CHRISTMAS MESSENGER short story that I just changed the book cover on. Yesterday’s rank was at 437,000 give or take a few books. Since I pretty much only sell a couple of these a month I thought that was pretty good. I’m in the top 1/3.
Yesterday I had a sale, ONE SALE, and guess where my ranking went? 75,000.
Did you catch that? A single sale dropped my ranking me THAT much. You know that what tells me? I sold one more book than 362,000 people yesterday. And that doesn’t include the remaining 1 million books that I was already beating out.
So let’s work some new math. This month so far I had sold 2 books and I was in the top 1/3 of authors. So…if you only sold 2 books this month you are doing better than 2/3 of the books on Amazon. If you sold 3, watch out! You are on fire!
Now I know everyone wants to sell more than 3 books in a month, and you should, but I want to help change your perspective. It’s not the 1.5 million authors that you need to compete with. It’s the 20,000 or less who are actually selling a couple copies per day. Does that make you feel any better?
No? I didn’t think it would work for all of you, but I want you to know that there is hope. My first book FORBIDDEN didn’t hit the scene with a bang. Mine was a slow burn. It slowly got noticed, slowly began to creep up the rankings. But I’ll tell you another secret. For my genre, when I started flirting with the low 13-15,000’s, I started dipping into the bottom spots of the top 100 lists. This wont be true for every genre, but for mine it was.
I could feel how close I was to being noticed and it was thrilling. I hit that #98 spot on my first top 100 and I sunk my teeth in and refused to let go. Most people would think that hitting the bottom of the list wouldn’t really matter much for sales, but I can attest to you that it does. People search all the way through to the bottom for a good book. Overnight I went from 13,000 rank to 4,000 rank. I had to pick my mouth off the floor.
The rest is history. I don’t tell you this to brag, far from it, but I spoke with a newbie indie hopeful who is currently working on her first book and she asked if I’ve ever written down any of the advice that I was giving her and I realized that I haven’t. Not really. I share my experience with a ton of authors when I chat with them because I want to encourage them to take the right steps BEFORE they publish to be a success but I’ve never really done this for everyone else.
So…here you go 🙂 My first tip: Don’t stress about the ranking. It fluctuates fast and hard. Focus on telling people about your books and the numbers will come.