Should I Care About Amazon Author Rankings?

As if we didn’t have enough things to make us crazy, Amazon has come up with a new one—Amazon Author Rank. This is different from the “sales” rank for individual books on individual platforms. The new ranking combines all your books sold on Amazon—Kindle, hard-copy, and multiple titles.

Where are you in respect to other authors on Amazon?

You can access this new ranking on your Author Central Page. A new tab, “Rank,” appears right next to the old “Sales Info” tab. Click on that and you’ll see how you rank from Amazon’s perspective. As with anything Amazon, it changes hourly and with sweeping changes.

The email I received from Amazon on Wednesday started out like this …

Dear James Devitt,

Today we have added a new feature, Amazon Author Rank,
the definitive list of best-selling authors on This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on overall and within a selection of major genres …

Then it went on to inform me that my rank in the TEENS category was #4269. I looked today (at the time of writing this post) and my rank in the TEENS category moved up to #3344 so I guess a bunch of teen writers stopped selling books so that my ranking could improve.

So, as with anything in the book selling world, this is just one more time waster to worry about—UNLESS you are in the top 100 and the public actually sees your name. Category rankings are much more powerful and visible. If you want to see how you can improve your visibility with rankings, check here.

For the public, you can now see the top 100 Authors on Amazon and the selected genres. So, if you’re not in the top 100, better head over to your Author Central Page to see where you land.

My advice? Don’t go too crazy worrying about this. It can get depressing. This is in Beta testing and if Amazon decides to add it to the sales page, it may give readers another option to analyze before buying. But, for now, you are the only one who can see your numbers, so I suppose that there is not much effect.

Now run along and look up your author rank so that you can get depressed with the other 499,900 authors who are not in the top 100 on Amazon.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

18 thoughts on “Should I Care About Amazon Author Rankings?”

  1. Definitely agree with your conclusion. Aside from those fortunate 100, there’s no point in paying it any mind. The only thing to do to increase it is to continue doing what you’re already doing: writing and promoting your work.

  2. As a reader this would do absolutely NOTHING to help me find a book because the top 100 would either be swamped by authors I already know and love, or, they would not show up at all. 🙁 In terms of providing exposure to new authors and new books, someone with just one published book would simply be buried even deeper.

    I understand Amazon’s rationale : they sell books so they want to promote those books that sell the most [just like trad. publishers]. And maybe these author rankings will lead to more competition between authors, but it will really only promote the fad that is flavour of the month. I think that’s erotica and vampires, isn’t it?

    1. I would say the flavor of the month Erotica and Zombies! You are absolutely right, those of us with only one published book (that would be me) it’s tough to compete. I was surprised to find myself in the #3,000’s in the teen category.

      Thanks for your insight from the readers perspective, I think that is very important.

  3. The lesson to be learned here, and that much more experienced and successful indie authors keep telling us, is to forget about all that stuff and focus on the writing. The best way to build an audience and build sales is to prolifically write high quality stories that people want to read.
    Now, if I could just follow my own advice…

  4. “This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on…”

    Why is this even a criteria? “Best-selling” does not mean a “good book.” It just indicates a good marketing plan and/or a lot of sheeple. I could care less if a lot of people have bought a particular author’s book.

    1. (standing and cheering)

      I agree with the general consensus. Seems like Amazon wants to turn this thing into a horse race. Well, here’s what I say to that (brace yourselves….): Neigh!

  5. perhaps its for the good of us all to move forward, we can’t be old dogs unaware of new tricks in the trade ,for those writers who don’t want to understand, new things stay on the horizon, amazon is in the zone with others on their neck therefore they will have to make changes to stay on top of “Their game,” so writers, “We will just have to step up our game and old yeah do more homework to keep up with the new changes that are bounded to come about.

  6. Thanks Jim. Something tells me Amazon would like to have authors concerned about their ranking. It’s just another tool that can be used to divide us.

  7. LOL! Great, Jim. And thank you again for reminding us… Personally, I’ve seen no rhyme or reason why some books rank and others don’t. I wrote four novels before I even attempted to publish one. Why? Because I’ve been editing ten years, and I’ve seen a lot of heartache. It seems to me, and I know I’ll get backlash for this comment… But if you want to sell more books and have a better rank, you have to write more books. It’s as simple as that. As you wrote, there are millions of books, and we all know that plenty of horrible books become bestsellers. Write well and often and gain a fan base is the best advice I can give.

  8. The ranking is a bit of a hoot, if you do not take it seriously.

    At the top level, you are given your overall rank among all Amazon writers, Then you drill in, such as Literature & Fiction, and then into a specific genre. At each level the rank is given.

    The rank changes hourly and your rank may have as much to do with what other authors are not selling as much as what you are selling.

    It’s an amusing gimmick for those moments when you are procrastinating.

  9. When I got my email, I quickly realized it was just another way to remind me my books don’t hit the top anything list. I don’t look at this because there really isn’t anything I can do to change it. I also wonder if anyone is having a hard time finding the best sellers? It would be cool for Amazon do come up with lists that highlight other authors/books.

  10. Thanks from me too, Jim. I used to check the ranking (for my one book) every day, sometimes more than once a day. Not wanting to drive myself any crazier than I already am, I now check my sales report once a week. All that matters is how many books you’ve sold – or not.

  11. And why is it that Amazon never tells us “of how many” in ANY of their rankings? At one time they’d say at the top of a list (example) out ot 1,500,000 (or something like that–I forget the actual wording). Now, you’re 2,000 and have NO IDEA what that really means–God forbid it’s 2,000 of 2,000. I wouldn’t mind being 2,000 out of 649728!

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