How to Up Your Amazon Bestsellers Rank
by Virginia Williams
Do you know your Amazon Bestsellers Rank? Or what kind of algorithm Amazon uses to determine those rankings?
AND, do you think your Sales Rank is achieved through reviews?
The good news: It’s not.
The bad news: It’s not.
If you’ve self-published your book and are beating your head against the wall trying to market and promote your book by badgering friends and relatives to post a review for you, it’s time to change horses.
According to Rob Nightingale in his April 2014 article, “8 Things Most People Don’t Know About Amazon’s Bestsellers Rank (Sales Rank),” Amazon won’t specifically state how the Bestsellers Rank is calculated. Mr. Nightingale goes into minute detail and confusing explanation to achieve a simple clarification.
The answer, simply put: sales (i.e., verified purchases).
So what is the Amazon Bestsellers Rank?
In all Amazon book categories (including Kindle paid and free books), your title will include a “Product Details” section where all the stats are located. Included among those stats is the “Amazon Bestsellers Rank.” Nightingale’s, as well as Amazon’s own explanation for rank is that the “calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales… .”
Well, updated hourly for those who actively achieve sales per hour (in other words, the top 10,000 books are calculated hourly). Of course, that would not be the situation in my case.
The common idea about rank is that it takes into account more than sales (you were hoping reviews). But nooo, says Nightingale. The rank uses only sales (both recent and historical) and, of course, does not include sales to yourself. Rats! Guess that doesn’t include those books sold at libraries, historical societies, craft fairs, or book signings.
Raves and reviews can be good for the soul, however, and still may help indirectly with your sales through positive, descriptive reviews.
Ready for more (bad) news? Books are weighted the same whether they are free or paid. Time for another campaign!
In other words, these must be sales relative to other products within the same category. Amazon then splits “paid” and “free” into separate categories. Included in the algorithm is a predictive feature, based on historical data. YIKES!! It’s becoming as confusing as the algorithm Google uses to achieve their search engine rankings! Maybe we’ve seen this algorithm before?!
Here is the fun part: Using these sales ranking calculations, books selling close to one (1) book a day would achieve a sales rank of approximately 50,000 to 100,000. Numerous attempts have been made to project how many sales will produce a predictive ranking. Calculations vary widely, however, and produce as many results.
While surfing my rankings, I noted the following for Hot Air Promotions:
Apparently, the sub-category ranking change can be attributable to the sale of a single book achieved that week and shows that even a small ripple in the pool can start a sizable wave (from 6,281 to 317). Perhaps there is hope?
I’ve offered McShane books as giveaways on Goodreads with varying success when the goal was reviews. Perhaps it’s time to go back to Kindle and drop the price to $0.
(c) 2016 Virginia Williams
Virginia Williams inherited a steamer trunk full of her grandfather’s 90-year-old manuscripts, poems, short stories, and paintings. She is fulfilling a promise to publish his works. Look for Stanley McShane on Amazon.com and in your favorite eBook format, or contact Virginia directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.