Have you ever wondered how those lucky authors get into the top one hundred on Amazon and yearn to join them? If only you could get a break, your book would break free from the pack and become a best-seller.
Just how many sales do you need to rise in the charts? 2,000? 200? Using Novelrank, I discovered that even two or three sales seemed to get my books to move quite significantly up the charts – admittedly, it was still lurking about in the thousands—however, I had a theory that might ensure it a place in the hundreds.
I asked my few of my real-life friends (all three of them) and the IU team to help me (they are real too, apparently.) I sent each of them an Amazon gift card for a copy of the book, and explained what I was doing.
The volunteers were asked to download the book on Monday June 10th. I chose the day in the hope that there would be fewer sales on a Monday, thus giving my book more of a chance to take off. I expected to make twenty ‘fake’ sales for both the Amazon UK and US sites that day—not enough to make my book number one in the Amazon best-sellers, but sufficient to see what would happen if a certain number of people downloaded a book on the same day.
The day didn’t start as I hoped. One enthusiastic volunteer had bought the book the night before, so my ranking was higher than it had been on June 8th. Thanks to that one sale How Not To Murder Your Grumpy began the day at #63,187 on the US chart and #7,048 on the UK chart.
I monitored the book’s progress every hour, making a note of sales and positions. The book fell back a thousand places in the first hour of monitoring the UK site, but rose to #23,220 on the US site, even though it was night there and my IU friends were tucked up in their beds. There were no sales there, so I guess it moved in response to the aforementioned purchase.
The next four hours saw only minor movement. Two people bought the book and emailed me when they had done so. Two further sales in the next hour, and the book had almost regained the thousand places it had lost earlier, and now sat at #6181 in the UK charts.
It hung around at #43,849 in the US charts. With no further sales taking place in the States, it began to drop.
After midday, it hung around #3661 for four hours on the UK charts. The morning sales had begun to trickle through and were affecting the movements.
It dropped to #51,911 on the US charts, waiting for the early risers to purchase it.
Late afternoon, it all began to get exciting. Grumpy began to jump up the charts, moving a thousand places at a time, and rising to #857 UK by evening. It made greater leaps in the US, even though there were fewer sales than in the UK, and hit #28,424.
When four people in the US downloaded it the same hour that evening, it made a mighty leap up from #17,233 to #9,299.
By the early hours of the following morning, the book had reached #7,645 in the US and was #2 in the category ‘aging’.
The UK results were even more pleasing. By morning, it had reached #649 and #1 in ‘aging’. That wasn’t the end of the experiment. Driven by its #1 position, the book continued to attract sales (another nine copies sold) the following day in the UK, rising further, to reach #1 in three categories.
In the United States, it reached a plateau, and then gradually began to descend. It took five days to sink back to its original position.
Only eleven of my twenty gift cards were used in the US and eighteen in the UK. However, those sales made my book rise 55,542 places on Amazon US and 3,786 places on Amazon UK.
It seems the lower down the charts your book is, the more impact those few sales will have on driving it upwards. I guessed that would be the case, and that continues to be my theory.
What have I gleaned from this? If you want to give your book the best possible start, then you can propel it into the limelight by getting friends and family to buy it on the same day, at a similar time. You don’t need to make huge sales to achieve best-seller status, but if you want that fabulous #1 best-seller spot in the top 100 chart you will need considerable sales.
I am none the wiser as to the exact criteria Amazon employs to work out positions, but if you get a few sales, your book will go into the ‘Movers and Shakers’ chart on Amazon which will attract interest. If that results in a few more sales, your book will go higher up the charts. If you get a #1 status in one of your categories, that too should result in some more sales.
The upshot is, if you have enough friends to help you, you can get into the charts and you can earn a best-seller sticker for a while. As for maintaining that status, that, my friends, is undoubtedly up to marketing, continued sales and Lady Luck smiling down on you. However, you will for a while, bask in the same glory that other writers enjoy, and be able to say you are a best-selling author.