Interesting experiment by Brass Check marketeer Brent Underwood: Behind the Scam: What Does It Take to Be a ‘Best-Selling Author’? $3 and 5 Minutes.
Armed with nothing but a picture of his foot and $3, he shows how you can make it onto the Amazon best-sellers list, and why the title Best-seller has all but lost its meaning.
I would like to tell you about the biggest lie in book publishing. It appears in the biographies and social media profiles of almost every working “author” today. It’s the word “best seller.”
A quick flick through the #amwriting Twitter profiles of a dozen authors seems to support this. Everyone is 'award winning' and 'best-selling.'
Your best-seller ranking isn't based on how many books you sell overall, but how many you sell within the shortest amount of time. Getting everyone who wants a copy of your book to buy it on opening day will rocket you up the best-seller chart, although pre-sales won't.
That's why someone selling 20 copies in an hour will rate higher than someone selling 200 over six months.
I made it to #6 in Historical/Fantasy on my release day with Rosy Hours. At one point I was displayed right up there with Elizabeth Kostova and Bernard Cornwell. Whereas it's amazing that this can happen, the fact that it happens does somewhat devalue the best-seller ranking system. As the article asks:
A book at the #1 spot in any given category will get a “#1 Best Seller” banner featured next to the title. This lets potential customers know the book is the top-selling item in that category. If a book holds the top spot in a category for months, that’s saying something. Hitting it for an hour (which is how often Amazon refreshes its rankings), screen-shotting it, and calling yourself a “bestselling author” for life? Well...
Have you been a best-seller? Does 'best-selling' on a profile entice you to buy a book? What are your thoughts?