“Bestseller” is a manipulated term. If you want to be a bestselling author, take out a $100,000 loan and buy 15,000 of your own books from Amazon.” Patrick Snow
Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to acknowledge the strong opening quote. It’s a bit shocking, but I’ll explain a bit more a little later — Keep reading!
The reality is that so many authors dream of hitting that coveted top seller list! Let’s face it, it’s the equivalent of becoming an Oscar Winner for us authors.
Kindle has made it easier than ever for nearly every author to hit that coveted position of becoming an Amazon Bestseller.
Amazon’s CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, is one of the business people I admire the most in the world because his incredible vision, which many laughed at, has changed the way we discover and buy books.
Amazon is undoubtedly the biggest bookseller in North America and most likely in many parts of Europe.
Amazon holds the faith of many budding bestselling authors, but just like Google, they remain famously tight-lipped about their algorithm (complicated Internet coding that determines rankings).
It’s true that sales rankings are available on the Web site and are updated hourly, but the company doesn’t provide information on how many unit sales it takes to make a title an Amazon bestseller.
That said, there are a few savvy authors and publishers who have been able to figure more or less what kind of sales numbers you need to hit in order to be able to add the title of Amazon Bestseller to your list of titles.
Typically in order to have a hope at becoming a Bestseller there needs to be a huge influx of sales within a very short period of time. We’re talking about 500-1,000 sales must occur in order to appear on Amazon’s Bestseller radar.
In other words, if you can bring in 1,000 sales of your book within the first few days following its release then you are on your way to making it part of Amazon’s Top 100 list.
If you’re really ambitious and your aim is to hit the list of Top 5, you’re going to have to be a lot more aggressive in getting higher sales numbers.
It seems that a title in Amazon’s top five averages 1,094 print copies sold across all channels, including other retailers, on a typical day. And because the general industry thinking is that Amazon accounts for about 30% of print sales, that means it likely takes around 300 copies sold per day to reach Amazon’s top five, depending on the day of the week and the time of year.
This is a huge endeavor for anyone to achieve in a lifetime.
Now, it’s far more achievable than trying to become a Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller or New York Times Bestseller.
To ensure a spot on The Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller list, you need to sell about 3000 books in the first week and to hit gold and the New York Times Bestseller list, you’ll need 9,000 copies sold in the first week.
Amazon and more recently Kindle has really opened the door to many self-published authors who wouldn’t have the manpower or marketing dollars to hit the top-ranking lists.
In my experience, becoming a bestseller is a matter of:
2. Incredible writing
3. A killer book marketing strategy
4. Having enough money to buy your way to the top.
Let me explain what I mean!
1. The Lucky Bestseller: The best example I can use as a lucky author is the author of Fifty Shades of Grey – it’s a well known fact that the writing a fair at best, but E.L. James was at the right place at the right time. She started by self-publishing her masterpiece and because of its viral popularity, it quickly caught the attention of a big publishing house and with the right amount of marketing … the rest is history.
2. The Compelling Book: Incredible writing is what characterizes most Bestsellers out there and that’s why there are some books you keep re-reading over and over again. For non fiction books, you’ll notice that some of the best books that are classics today are books that really propel people into action.
3. A killer book marketing strategy: This is my strategy of choice. There are loads of so-so books that sold a lot of copies thanks to the fact they have amazing marketing. If you can combine a good quality book to powerful marketing techniques, you’ll sell loads of copies, hit the Bestseller list and you’ll also have residual royalties from Amazon for a long time to come.
4. Buying Your Way To the Top: The last strategy to becoming a bestselling author is interesting.
If you don’t want to leave anything to chance or if you don’t have the inclination on becoming a book marketing pro, you can always buy enough books in one day to be considered a bestselling author.
Having worked with some of the top marketers on the Internet for years, I know how easy it is to “buy” your their way to success and that coveted “Bestseller” title!
There are firms like ResultSource, a San Diego-based marketing consultancy, specializes in getting books onto bestseller lists, according to The Wall Street Journal. For clients willing to pay enough, it will even guarantee a No. 1 spot. It does this by taking bulk sales and breaking them up into more organic-looking individual purchases, defeating safeguards that are supposed to make it impossible to “buy” bestseller status.
You’ll need to account a budget to buy between 3,000 and 9,000 copies of your book, which can run you up to a couple hundred thousand dollars depending on the cost of your book to either hit the Wall Street Journal or New York Times Bestseller list and you’ll also have to account for their fee, which is typically more than $20,000.
If you don’t have $100,000-$250,000 lying around to buy your Bestselling Author status, you’re going to have to rely on good book marketing strategies to boost your sales and get you on the list of top sellers.
If marketing is not your strong suit, you’ll definitely want to work with a book marketing consultant who can guide you so that you can take advantage of the fact that most Indie publisher can rank really well on Kindle!
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