Amazon Ranking

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.

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4 thoughts on “Amazon Ranking

    1. Thanks Teresa.
      I’ve learned so much in the past 5 months and I really haven’t take the time to sit down and share it with everyone and I need to. This is the first of several posts that I will do to help give indie authors and insight into the Amazon publishing world

  1. Thanks for doing this post. It’s funny, because that’s how I found your blog, was looking for info on Amazon rankings so I could understand them better. (My book is on a promo right now and I’m trying to make sense of things!) I love when writers share what they learn with other people. Great job, thank you!

    1. Hi Wendy,
      I’m glad you found me and I hope the info helps. I know it wasn’t in great depth but if you ever have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. I certainly am not an expert but I’ve learned a few things during my time. I plan on posting more of them over the next few weeks as I have the chance.
      Crazy thing how time seems to slip through our fingers.

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