Amazon Best Seller? Yes, No, Maybe!

J Logo smThere seems to be quite a bit of confusion and misinformation floating around in Cyberspace about what constitutes a Amazon Best Seller. I made the list, for a few weeks in August and September of 2013, but my #46 was in just one section of the entire market–not the overall list. I managed to capture a screen shot of my debut novel on the Time Travel Romance list. Yea, me! As proud as I am about reaching that marker, the purpose of this post isn’t about me or my book’s ranking. It’s about not diluting the pool of authenticity on these lists.

Think of it like this. In 2010, an earlier version of my book made the finals in a very prestigious contest, but it didn’t win first place. The acquiring editor ranked it in first place, but another industry professional ranked it lower. I suppose I could tweak my promotion efforts and say that I’m an ‘Award Winning Author’ because of the editor’s ranking, but that wouldn’t be the full truth. And, to say that my book won, when it actually didn’t, would take away from the book that did take home first place. Authors that claim they’re Amazon Best Seller’s, when they’re not, works the same way. What are the specifics of making that list?

It’s quite simple, really. If your number is 100 or less in any one category, you’re an Amazon Best Seller in THAT CATEGORY, only. If your number is 100 or less in OVERALL BOOKS, then you’re an Amazon Best Seller, period. And, to be sure, books that are downloaded at FREE do not count as SOLD books–even though the ranking looks good–they are not included as a best-SELLER. Get it?

Anyone can check the status of a book on Amazon. They tell you how it’s selling if you scroll down the page. Look for the current rank. If it’s on a specific genre’s Best Seller’s List, you’ll see something like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

So, this particular book ranks as an Amazon Best Seller in Regency for both Books and Kindle eBooks, but it’s not an Amazon Best Seller because the overall rank at #4,688 which is greater than 100. Next, we have an example of a true Amazon Best Seller. Notice that the OVERALL and PAID ranking is #5 and Amazon tells you that, right up front. This particular book is also ranked #1 in three categories. This author has true bragging rights, and I’m sure we all strive for such grand stats.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

As proud as I am of my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR, I cannot claim it’s an Overall Best Seller. But, I’m thrilled to have made the list in my genre. Here’s a link to the screen shot of my #46 (folks, that’s less than 100 by 54 points. WooHoo!) and I’d love to make that with all my books.

#46 Amazon Best Sellers in Time Travel Romance 08-28-13

Thanks for your support!


11 thoughts on “Amazon Best Seller? Yes, No, Maybe!

    • My hat’s off to you, Selena! You’re the one who initiated this conversation and I’m glad to help spread the word. It’s all about maintaining that fragile thing called Reader’s Trust. Thank you!

  1. Thanks for clarifying this issue, Jaye. It’s a real one; many people treat the labels of ‘award winning’ and ‘best selling’ in different ways. Congratulations to you for achieving the paid rankings that you have. That’s absolutely not easy to do! Now if there was just a Best Give-Away ranking, my book might qualify for its free downloads LOL.

  2. DIVA’s been hanging out on the Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Sports and Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Sports Top 100 lists for months now, and I don’t think of myself a “bestselling author” yet.

    • Hi fabulously published author, Arlene! I saw your post so popped over to see what your numbers were…and OMG! I HADN’T YET BOUGHT YOUR BOOK. Fixed that, pronto! So sorry, but I’m blaming the stress of the PDJ and the overwhelming task of getting myself retired. LOVE your numbers, girl. You’re rocking the zones!

      • Thanks, Jaye! I’ve been pretty pleased. Of course, I’d love to see my book climb higher. (The highest I’ve noticed is 8,600-something. Cracking the top 1K is a dream …)

  3. Does it matter if it’s just a bestseller in Kindle format? Would it be proper to say “Amazon bestseller” if it’s just on Kindle?
    What do you think? I don’t like “award inflation” either!

    • Alix, the ranking is what drives the status. As long as the distinction is made on where the ranking happens, then in my book, it’s a valid award. Thanks for the comment!

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