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Friday, July 02, 2010

Amazon Sales Obsession

Before I sold my first book, I was obsessed with when the mailman would come and checking my email in box. Now that my debut is out in stores, I'm embarrassed to say I have a new obsession... Amazon sales ranking.

My main motivation for writing is not to sell as many books as possible, but here's the thing... the more books I sell, the more I can write.

It used to be that you could call a number through Ingram, punch in your ISBN number and get the actual sales numbers of your book.

No more.

Now, the only way that I know of for an author to get an idea of how they're doing is through Amazon sales tracking.

There's a problem with this method though. It fluctuates by the hour. Two days ago my numbers were sitting at about 9,000 (the lower the number the better). The next day I shot way up to forty thousand. By the end of the day, is was back down to 7,000.

What does all of this mean? (Gina shrugs.) It seems to me that anything under 100k is pretty good. Anything under 50k is good, under 25k very good, and if you hit under 1,000 ... well, you ain't going to be begging for your next contract.

There are folks who have dissected the numbers to guestimate approximately how many actual books are sold in any given sales rank. There are those who manipulate the sales rankings to obtain "best-sellerdom." I'm not sure how or even why they do it, but here's an interesting (but older) article that can point you to some in depth resources to read more about all of that.

If you find yourself checking your Amazon sales numbers more than once or twice a day, try Title Z as a time and mental health preserving alternative. The site lets you follow your book sales, giving you a great overall view of how it's selling, (on Amazon at least). It's far more accurate to see that your 30 day sales ranking is at 15k, then your ranking today is 2k (hooray!!!) and tomorrow it's 40k (boooo...).


  1. Hi, Gina. As a fellow debut author, I know what you mean about the Amazon thing. I try really hard not to look at it every day. I got a thrill when I found my book ranked #12 in Christian romance but then a couple days later I was bummed to see it had fallen to #30. I don't need all the yo-yoing. (Although I still give in and peek every now and then.)

    By the way - love the picture at the top of your post. Could I get a copy? My book is directly to the right of yours, and I love that the shelf behind it reads "Fiction Best Sellers". How cool is that?

    Keep up the good work!

    karen [at] karenwitemeyer [dot] com

  2. Karen, thanks for the comment. Yeah, the overall amazon ranking is bad enough, forget all the mini lists. THough I do love seeing my book above Nicholas Sparks or Nora Roberts in certain lists, but it's so ever changing I try to pay it no mind. Yes, you can have the picture, just right click and save. all yours!

  3. Hi Gina, your books is doing great in the rankings. You should be thrilled. I'm thrilled for you. I'd love to use that photo too for my page of your appearances.

    But may I take it in photoshop and see if I can reduce that glare on your cover?

  4. I equate checking amazon rankings with standing on the scale - neither really tell you that much yet both can either make or break a day. That said, I still check the rankings at least twice a day but I no longer own a scale :)


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