Wednesday 19 June 2024


This blogpost is along the lines of a Public Information Broadcast. It's intended to explain, not to cast shade. We've all got to hustle in the writing business.

When you're looking at books, thinking about your next read, you may have noticed quite how many "bestsellers" and "award-winning" books there are out there. 

It often seems like every man/woman and their dog has written an international bestselling award-winner of a book. Which takes away from these words any discriminatory power they might have possessed.

I had an experience recently which puts some context around this idea of "bestselling".

I self-publish short stories on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which puts them onto Amazon for sale. I was experimenting to see what it would look like if I published one under a different name - would there be any detectable ties to "Mark Lawrence", so I put out a novella I'd written a while back, a children's story.

I was also interested to see how a book by a new author would fare if they (I) did absolutely nothing to promote the book. So, I didn't mention this novella to anyone.

For 2 months there were no sales at all. Zero.

Then in the 3rd month one copy sold!

In the 4th month I noticed that the copy had sold. (for $0.99).

I went onto (where the sale happened) and saw to my great surprise that despite a month having passed, the book was ranked #77 in the sales category "Children's Other Folk Tales & Myths".

I was a "bestseller" on the back of one sale a month ago. And these sales ranks 'decay' rapidly, so when it happened the ranking would have been considerably higher. 

Another week has passed and that single sale 5 weeks ago still has the book ranked in the top 100 in the category. It has a top 100 best seller rank on Amazon ... it is a best seller!

My book may be ranked 878,460th in the Kindle Store overall, but like most books, a subcategory can be found in which it ranks in the top 100. I sold one copy and forever more I can call it a bestselling children's book. 

And that's it. Just a bit of trivia for you. Why are there so many bestsellers? It's not because the authors are just making it up. They genuinely are bestsellers in some sense. It's just that Amazon makes everyone a winner.

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