Showing posts with label indie author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indie author. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 16

Amazon Ranks Authors In Terms Of Their Book Sales

Amazon's Ranks Authors In Terms Of Their Book Sales
Amazon's Top 100 Authors

It used to be that only books were ranked against one another but now Amazon is doing it to authors. The question is, what does this mean for writers? I'll talk about that in a moment but, first, let's see what exactly Amazon Author Rank is.

Amazon Author Rank

While only 100 of the top selling authors, both overall and in any category, are publicly ranked against each other, all Amazon authors have been given an author rank. From Amazon's Author Rank FAQ:

What is Amazon Author Rank?

Amazon Author Rank is based on sales of all your books relative to the sales of other authors. [...] Like the Billboard charts, lower numbers are better. [...] Amazon author rank is updated hourly.

What's Included in Amazon Author Rank?

[W]e look at paid sales of all of an author's books on It includes books in Kindle, physical and audio formats.

Where will Amazon Author Rank be seen on

An Amazon Author Rank will only appear for authors in the top 100 overall or in the top 100 in a browse category. Amazon Author Rank will appear on book detail pages in the More About the Author widget, on an author's Author Page and, on the Amazon Author Rank page.
For instance, this is Debbie Macomber's Author Rank from her book page for The Inn At Rose Harbor: A Novel:

Click to enlarge

What Does Amazon Author Rank Mean For Authors?

While I read many comments on Twitter along the lines of, "Why don't they just put authors in a jar and shake it?" Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, was quoted by Publisher's Weekly as saying, "…It’s a smart feature. It recognizes that the author — not the publisher — is the brand that readers care about. (Amazon Starts Author Ranking Feature)"

Carolyn Kellogg, over at the Los Angeles Times, cautions against taking the ranking too seriously, at least not until Amazon has worked the bugs out:
Wednesday morning, Dr. Seuss appeared to be ranked 56th and 64th simultaneously. Neil Gaiman also held two simultaneous spots, 84th and 88th.

The Author Sales Rank is determined solely by sales of all of an author's books on Amazon. Because this is Amazon, there are some peculiarities. For example, the person holding the first place Amazon Author Rank is not E.L. James (2nd), James Patterson (4th) or J.K. Rowling (11th). It's Sylvia Day.

Sylvia Day is an erotic novelist whose books "Reflected in You" and "Bared to You" have followed E.L. James up the bestseller charts. (Creating more neurotic authors: Amazon's Author Rank)
This isn't a bug, but it surprised me: when I took this screenshot a couple of hours ago, Bill O'Reilly was ranked higher than J.K.Rowling!

Click to enlarge

Author's Rank Could Make Having A Bestseller Less Important

Putting the emphasis on the author rather than the publisher, or the book, means that Author's Rank measures how successful you are as an (Amazon) author overall. In so doing it could make writing a bestseller less important to ones financial success.

For instance, if you get one of your books on the New York Times bestseller list, chances are all your upcoming books are going to be on the list as well. Not invariably, but often. When that happens you can buy a yacht, or take your neighborhood to Disney World. Whichever.

That put the focus on writing a bestseller because, no matter how many midlist books you wrote, you'd never get close to that kind of selling power. And, of course, whether your book was a bestseller had a lot to do with your publishers expectations--how many books they printed and sent to bookstores, how much money they allocated for marketing, and so on.

Perhaps, also, Amazon Author Rank will help mitigate the loss in sales indie authors have experienced since Amazon adjusted their book ranking algorithm in May of this year. Time will tell.

If you've published on Amazon and you're curious what your Author's Rank is, head over to Amazon's Author Central.

What do you think of Amazon Author Rank? Do you think it will help, or hurt, your sales?

Other articles you might like:
- Amazon's KDP Select: The Best Long-Term Strategy?
- How To Design A Great Looking Book Cover
- The Best Way To Build A Writer's Platform Is To Write

Photo credit: Karen Woodward

Tuesday, May 22

More on Amazon Select: Is exclusivity worth it?

I know I've written quite a bit about Amazon Select recently, but I've been looking for good information on it for some time, information from other indie authors, and it seems to be coming in a flood.

Today Joe Konrath had this to say about Amazon Select:
I've lost some of my faith in the Kindle Select program since it originated, and as a result I've opted my titles out. Select requires exclusivity, and I found I was making more money via Smashwords, Kobo, B&N, Overdrive, Sony, and Apple than I was through Select lends.

The other advantage of Select--being able to make your ebook free--used to result in a nice bounce from the free list to the paid list. Lately, the bounce isn't nearly as dramatic.

Two weeks ago Ann Voss Peterson made her thriller ebook Pushed Too Far free for a week. She gave away 70,000 copies--which is impressive, even beating many of the giveaways Blake Crouch and I had done (giveaways that got us in the Top 100 paid list and made us lots of money.)

Ann never hit the Top 100 paid. She's currently at #158. This is great, and she's thrilled, but she's only allowed to do this once every 90 days, and I don't believe the benefit corresponds to the loss of income from the other retailers.

If you do decide to make your ebook free, go all in. Use the 5 full days allotted, contact as many websites as you can find who announce freebies, and enlist everyone you know to help you spread the word.
Read the rest of Joe's comments here: Guest Post by Robert Gregory Browne, in the "Joe sez" section. He follows these remarks with fabulous advice for indie authors.

I'm paraphrasing.

- Get as many books as you can up for sale as quickly as you can. Your writing is the best advertising you could have.

- Don't be afraid to experiment. Experiment with pricing, covers, promotions, and share your knowledge with your peers.

- Bundle. For example, sell your short stories as stand-alones, then group them into an anthology and sell that. Do the same with your books, especially books in a series. "This increases shelf space without writing more."

- Forget about advertizing and marketing. It's not worth it.

- Keep your fingers on the pulse of the industry. Joe recommends subscribing to:

Publishers Lunch
PW Daily
Passive Guy
Kris Rusch
Dean Wesley Smith
David Gaughran
Bob Mayer
Mike Stackpole
Mike Shatzkin

- As Neil Gaiman recently said, "Walk toward your mountain." In other words, figure out what you want to do and do it. Of every decision ask yourself: does this take me closer to, or father away from, what I want to do. Then, and this is the tough part, believe in yourself and ignore those who ridicule you.

- As Joe put it, "The world needs heroes. Be one." Pass along what you've learnt and encourage others the way you would have liked to have been encouraged when you were where they are.

That's it! Reading the list over, it seems like I could title it, "Joe's Commandments for the indie writer".

Before I end this article, I want to give you a link to an article on KDP Select by the above mentioned David Gaughran. It explains, among other things, the nuts and bolts of KDP select and why Amazon's bestseller lists are so important to indie authors. Read it here: Amazon & The Importance of Popularity

Related Articles:
Changes in Amazon's Algorithm: An Update
Amazon's Ranking Algorithm Has Changed: what this means for indie authors
Self Publishing on Amazon: Kindle Direct Publishing

"More on Amazon Select: Is exclusivity worth it?," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Thursday, December 9

Brian S. Pratt: The Energizer Bunny of Self Publishing

Brian Pratt is projected to earn over 100,000 dollars next year at Smashwords and, when his Amazon sales are included, over 200,000 dollars overall. Here's a link to the blog post.

Almost as interesting as his amazing financial success is the story of his adventures in self-publishing.

[MC] You joined Smashwords March 27, 2009 10:26pm (I checked!). Can you take us back to that moment in time, and recall what was going through your mind

[BSP] Let's see. I was a single dad living with three kids and boy, was I poor (under the poverty level). Up until then, I hadn't really thought much about eBooks. I tried Mobipocket for a while and had great sales for three months, then it died off. Sales for my paperbacks, which I had published through iUniverse had fallen off dramatically. Where I had been breaking 4 figures a quarter, I was now less than 600 per quarter and bleeding red. I typed in "self publishing" and saw a quirky little site called Smashwords. It said, Your eBook, Your way. Didn't cost a thing so what did I have to lose? First quarter sales at Smashwords were dismal, 2009-04-07 — $7.92 As it happened, April 7th is my birthday. That was cool. But I wasn't deterred. Books were selling. Sometimes, one or two a week, but they sold. I stayed with it and refused to allow all the naysayers (and there were those by the droves) to stifle my dream. Sales gradually improved and, well, here we are. Can't give up on your dream, EVER!

Below are a few helpful links Brian listed.  For a complete list: Helpful Info for the Self-Publisher.

obooko: Free ebooks and free publishing.
Project Wonderful: Advertising for even a small budget.
FanStory: Share your writing and get helpful feedback.

Also, can't forget Brian's website which has a lot of useful info.

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