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james1611
04-27-2006, 09:28 PM
Since posting this thread I have come to realize that this was nothing more than a cheapshot at several authors posting on this forum who did nothing to deserve it.
And while none of them have mentioned it, I would like to formally submit my apologies to them (Maestro, Jenna, Victoria) for making an issue of Amazon rankings to prove a hollow point about self publishing.
I don't believe it was warranted or professional behavior and I would like to be seen as professional. We as writers, whether published or unpublished need to respect one another and of course that means not taking potshots at one another. I personally have found this forum to be very valuable and it goes without saying that much of its value comes from the advice given by those authors who have found success in traditional publishing.

I know that no author in his right mind would choose to self publish their book if they believed they had a genuine shot at traditional publishing, and had real intentions of becoming successful as a writer. While it may seem a dead end so to speak it is nice to know that the opportunity is there to publish a novel for those who wish to simply have it for themselves and have the satisfaction of simply completing a novel.

I for one am persuaded to get over rejection and continue trying to traditionally publish, for I have not by any means exhausted my opportunities for submission. It would be wise to do so before I relegate a work I believe in to relative obscurity.

Once again, to the authors...Please except my apologies for any hurt feelings and I hope you will recieve it in the manner it is offered...Sincerely.

James Somers
author: The Chronicles of Soone: Heir to the King

Be well,
James Somers
Author: The Chronicles of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com/)

maestrowork
04-27-2006, 09:32 PM
Our books got sold in real stores, some across the country, where people can actually look at them, flip through them, and take them to the cash register.

Besides, do you know the difference between a 24K and a 500K ranking could be as little as two books in a particular week? My highest ranking just a week or so ago was around 35K. I didn't make much out of it -- it meant two people bought my book on Amazon.com that week, that was all. I sold more books at the stores.

If you don't trust me, go ahead, order two copies of my books on Amazon and see how the ranking jumps. :)

What I really want to know, is the overall sales of Robinson's book, as compared to, say, Victoria's. That's what really matters, don't you think?

I generally find your analysis and thought process a sign of lack of understanding of how publishing and book selling really works.

alleycat
04-27-2006, 09:38 PM
Just do a Google search for "Amazon sales ranking" and you'll learn how their system works; you can't really judge how one book has sold relative to another just by looking at the sales ranking at one particular time.

And, I noticed you were a newer member, welcome to AW.

ac

LloydBrown
04-27-2006, 09:46 PM
Amazon is arguably the biggest online bookseller period...so I think these figures do obviously say something!

They do say something. They say for this week, book a sold more copies than books b and c on Amazon.

What were Mr. Robinson's bookstore sales? Big-box sales? And the number that really counts, lifetime total sales?

Also, Amazon might count for 10% of a publisher's volume by units and only 1-2% of the publisher's actual revenues because their discounts are so terrible. My publisher actually stopped selling to Amazon for that very reason.

Also, the book coulld have achieved that ranking with as few as 10 sales in a short period of time. We've seen situations in which employers who have written books tell their employees to all go to Amazon on a certain day at a certain time and buy their book. Then they get a screenshot of that sales ranking and use it to promote the book. "8,231 ranking on Amazon! Buy it now!"

While it's an interesting snapshot, it doesn't provide enough information to draw any conclusions.

james1611
04-27-2006, 10:13 PM
It is a very negative environment for those who might seek to self publish when they have a story they really believe in, yet find it rejected in the traditional market.

My point is not amazon sales rankings, I just thought it says that all hope is not lost on self publishing.
Besides as you are probably well aware, just because someone flips through your book in a bookstore, doesn't mean they buy.

Also as i have posted before, some self published books do get picked up by major publishers and have had success ie... my previous examples "Eragon" by christopher Paolini, and "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield.

I admit its not the norm but neither is it the norm to publish with a traditional publisher and become a bestseller...one provides more exposure admittedly, but it may not be the best advice to say shelf the book and write something better when the story may be good and yet rejected.

You may not like it but i think it would bear saying that of all that flows from traditional publishers into the market, many are not very good or enjoyable and have plenty of bad reviews and authors who complain about it.

I'm Not a P.O.D. crusader...but if I believe in my story and ultimately find no satisfaction in the traditional market...I'm glad to know that for very little monetary investment I could market my book myself and at least give it my best...Beyond that, who knows.

James
Author: The Chronicles of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

jchines
04-27-2006, 10:20 PM
As others have pointed out, a single sale on Amazon can cause an immediate ranking jump of a million points. And since Amazon is only a single pixel in the big picture....

Of course, that doesn't stop most authors from obsessing over their Amazon rankings ;)

I wonder sometimes if people perceive hostility from others who are simply trying to provide a realistic assessment of the alternatives. (Not specific to this post; this is something I've seen in a number of places lately.)

james1611
04-27-2006, 10:36 PM
By the way very cool SNOOPY avatar, how can i find those? I love SNOOPY!

Anyway, people I think will stand for whatever they are a part of: The Traditional writer will stand for Traditional Publishing and generally anything else is not worth the effort.
The P.O.D. author will stand for that and snub the traditionals and so forth. It seems we have a Literary Caste System going on and its sad.

Personally, I hope to find a Traditional Publisher, but I'm not going to wait around forever hoping. I'll self Publish and keep writing and if it does well and gets picked up by the big boys...yippee...if not, so what. This isn't my day job anyway, I have an income...this is a passion to tell a story and pass that on to others to enjoy (hopefully).

Everyone has to start somewhere. Some go one way, some another. Both may find success, or both may not. Both may be talented and worthy or both may not...

But I don't think it hurts anyone by saying "ya know, i'm going to try and see what happens" and it doesn't hurt for these authors to be realistic either.

By the way as far as Mr. Robinson's sales, I saw an interview where he said he had sold more than 500 copies in the first two months and has a goal of 10,000 copies in a few years...but he's hoping to take those things and the agent who noticed him on AMAZON.com and signed him and go on to traditional...but where did he start and others...with a little investment and a P.O.D. version of a story they believed in enough to not be turned away from trying.

Giving it your best hurts no one else but you, if you don't...I like what one writer says on this forum..."A professional is an amateur that didn't give up"...or something to that affect.

Peace.
James
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

LloydBrown
04-27-2006, 10:57 PM
Just out of curiosity, what does Eragon have to do with the topic of self-publishing? I hope you're not claiming it was self-published.

maestrowork
04-27-2006, 11:11 PM
Right... Paolini's parents published his book -- they happened to own the small press. Even though they're his parents (and gave him special treatments, of course), it would still be considered traditionally published.

jenngreenleaf
04-27-2006, 11:12 PM
I'm just wondering . . .
It is a very negative environment for those who might seek to self publish when they have a story they really believe in, yet find it rejected in the traditional market.Wouldn't a publisher or an agent have a better understanding of what will sell and what won't . . . hence the process they put everything through during submissions? Isn't it their job to have this kind of knowledge and experience? The same knowledge and experience self published/POD are believing they have? It's great that authors believe in themselve, but belief doesn't turn over sales . . . right? Or does it?

jchines
04-27-2006, 11:15 PM
Anyway, people I think will stand for whatever they are a part of: The Traditional writer will stand for Traditional Publishing and generally anything else is not worth the effort.
The P.O.D. author will stand for that and snub the traditionals and so forth. It seems we have a Literary Caste System going on and its sad.

I've done both. My first book was from a small PoD press that does LGBT titles. Sold a few hundred copies, mostly through my own efforts. Made a few hundred bucks.

My second was to a small but traditional press. $1000 advance, and it out-sold the first book in a matter of weeks.

Third sale is two books to a big New York publisher. The first should be out this November, and the advance is 2-3 times what I've made on the other two books combined.

The kicker? That first book, had I held off, would have sold to the second publisher. (One of the editors there read it and liked it, but they don't take previously published work.) Had I been patient and kept trying, that book could have made more money, sold more copies, and I wouldn't have had to do half the work.

Sheryl Nantus
04-27-2006, 11:17 PM
Right... Paolini's parents published his book -- they happened to own the small press. Even though they're his parents (and gave him special treatments, of course), it would still be considered traditionally published.

and they went school to school to push it - something most people have neither time nor money nor connections to do.

saying that this is a successful self-pub book is really not telling the truth nor the entire story - yet another fable that keeps on travelling...

james1611
04-27-2006, 11:40 PM
The story i believe was that he and his mother had to hoof it around to different schools dressing him in costumes and stuff trying to promote it.

And while they had the company, I haven't read that they were a book publisher in any way, but had the resources to publish his book...they did the work but I don't think It was traditionally published in the sense that bookstores were carrying it and so forth. The mother and he were selling it door to door to coin a phrase. According to his own account on his website and so forth it was bought by someone's child who passed it to the parent and they had connections with a publisher as an author or something and the book was picked up by traditional publishers.

How that propagates a self publishing myth I'm not sure...I never said people have great success, JUST BY SELF PUBLISHING, only that it may get picked up as Paolini's book did and Redfields "The Celestine Prophecy" and on his site he definitely states that it started as a self published novel.

I only pose that self published can be a beginning, Not an end to success and that trying is better than not.

Peace,
james
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

Sheryl Nantus
04-27-2006, 11:46 PM
so... how seriously did you try to market your story to publishers and agents before you went the self-pub route with Lulu?

Peggy
04-27-2006, 11:57 PM
I thought that with all of the negatives you here around here about P.O.D. and self publishing efforts and how the books aren't good enough and so on... I think you are conflating print on demand technology with self publishing. P.O.D. technology can be used for either "self published" or "traditionally published" works. Self publishing can use P.O.D. technology or offset printing. The advantage of P.O.D. is that the books are only printed when there is a demand, so it's great if you aren't going to sell too many copies. It's not so great if you expect your sales to be in the 1,000s.

Also, I haven't seen anybody here say that self-published books "aren't good enough". The trouble with self-published and vanity published books is that they don't go through any vetting process, so there is a higher percentage of poorly written books than the output from a "traditional" publisher. That doesn't mean the books are necessarily bad, just that it's harder to find the good ones.

As others have pointed out, the Amazon rankings are usually pretty volatile, with sales of one or two books (and apparently page views even without sales) changing the numbers dramatically. Maybe someone with Booksurge access can fill us in on some of the actual total number of books sold.

james1611
04-28-2006, 12:02 AM
I researched publishers galore for submissions guidelines and agents through publishers marketplace, sent out 30-40 or more queries including email, fax, and Snail with synopsis, chapter, full manuscripts depending on the guidelines.

some rejections came faster than they could have read the stuff.

others never sent back anything at all. Those independents who were smaller that i have recently sent material to, have stated they found the concept of my novel very interesting, intriguing, so forth and upon reading the manuscript quoting page numbers, that they were enjoying it and looking foward to reading more.

I haven't given up on traditional, but i'm just moving ahead with my own plans until i find out otherwise. I still send email queries and so forth, sent 3-4 today to agents who say they accept these kinds of storie...we'll see.

Most of all I want the book myself and for my kids and so forth and to see if anyone else enjoys it. I have a job and don't need to write to survive. My wife would say I probably spend to much time on it now. But the thrill of telling a story, the kind I like to read and would buy, that is a wonderful feeling and to see it in a professional cover and available is nice too.

has anyone any knowledge of "The Celestine Prophecy"...it was self published I think by a vanity press (Infinity, Iuniverse) maybe...I only remember on one of their sites they stated he had published with them...and yet a publisher still picked up, so maybe the reprint rights and so forth wasn't an issue??

I may not write an effective query, but the hook for this thread raised a few eyebrows...LOL

I have nothing against anyone here...in fact i listed it on my website as the best writers forum around, now to just get people to my website..LOL.

PEACE,
James, Author: The Chronicles of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

maestrowork
04-28-2006, 12:08 AM
The story i believe was that he and his mother had to hoof it around to different schools dressing him in costumes and stuff trying to promote it.


It doesn't matter what he did to push the book, it was still traditionally published. It went through the whole process (editing, proofing, typesetting, etc.)

Now, are you willing to devote all your time dressing up in costumes and promote it to schools, malls, shops, etc.? Paolini could do that because he had nothing else to do? Do you have a job? Do you have a family? How much time and effort are you willing to put into selling your books out of your car trunk?

If you can devote all your time and effort in doing that, then maybe you're on to something. Still, the book has to be good. If you self-pub, how do you know the book is good?

Peggy
04-28-2006, 12:14 AM
And while they had the company, I haven't read that they were a book publisher in any way, but had the resources to publish his book...they did the work but I don't think It was traditionally published in the sense that bookstores were carrying it and so forth. The mother and he were selling it door to door to coin a phrase. According to his own account on his website and so forth it was bought by someone's child who passed it to the parent and they had connections with a publisher as an author or something and the book was picked up by traditional publishers.

How that propagates a self publishing myth I'm not sure...I never said people have great success, JUST BY SELF PUBLISHING, only that it may get picked up as Paolini's book did and Redfields "The Celestine Prophecy" and on his site he definitely states that it started as a self published novel. According to this story (http://www.rickross.com/reference/cut/cut32.html), Paolini's parents did have their own small publishing company. It's true that they sold it door to door, but what made the book really successful was that novelist Carl Hiaasen read it and touted it to his own publisher, Knopf. The book was only successful after it was picked up by a major house by what amounts to a lucky coincidence. On top of that, Paolini's book was probably published at much lower cost that it would be for other self-publishers, since his parents already had a publishing company. His experience is such an exception it proves the rule "it's better to be 'traditionally' published".

james1611
04-28-2006, 12:22 AM
I don't think i ever said it wasn't better to be traditionally published and I would like to be myself.

Gee my query letters should have gotten so much response!

And I have noted on a number of occasions that people like "silverhand" were told to put the story aside and write something better if traditional publishers wouldn't take it.

I do have a job maestro, I work as a surgical tech, assisting physicians do various unseemly things to peoples bodies. I don't need to write to eat, but my only thought has been throughout this thread, that there is nothing wrong with publishing a book yourself if thats what you want to do. Gee whiz guys, lighten up a little...

And there is nothing to say that a self publishing author can't have his book edited, proofed, typeset etc...it all depends on what you can do and are willing to do.

As i've said before, I think traditional is great, but if you can't get it why not explore the alternatives??...

I have nothing against anyone on this site, I even listed it as the best writers forum i know on my own author site...now if i can just get people to my site...LOL.

peace,
james: The Chronicles of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoon.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoon.bravehost.com)

Medievalist
04-28-2006, 12:31 AM
Amazon sales rankings are almost meaningless. Their algorithim weighs purchases/date, so a book that sells x copies /day is going to rise, and have a highter rank than a book that sells fewer copies on a given day, but more over time.

Bookscan is more accurate, but doesn't track POD books.

james1611
04-28-2006, 01:31 AM
That the Celestine Prophecy, had 100,000 copies in print as a self published novel by James Redfield, before Warner ever picked it up and since then has been a best seller.

he said he and his wife bought 3,000 copies and gave many away to start. then word of mouth did the rest for him.

100,000...thats pretty good for a self published novel, and from one review i read, they didn't think the book was even very well written...

It's difficult for anyone to know what will take off in the marketplace these days...if you ever saw the documentary on the making of star wars, it looked like Lucas' movie almost didn't even make it to release...and now look at the empire he built out of it (pun intended).

peace,
james: The Chronicles of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

Peggy
04-28-2006, 03:48 AM
he said he and his wife bought 3,000 copies and gave many away to start. then word of mouth did the rest for him.It must be wonderful to have enough money to buy 3,000 copies and give many of them away to build word of mouth.

eldragon
04-28-2006, 04:23 AM
If you can devote all your time and effort in doing that, then maybe you're on to something. Still, the book has to be good. If you self-pub, how do you know the book is good?


Just because something is put out by a big publisher, sure doesn't mean it's good.


Walking through a bookstore, I might pick up 30 books before I find one interesting enough to look at the first page. After opening the 30th book, I can read the first page or two and see if I think it's worth buying and or/reading (the same applies at the library).


By the same token, I am not buying a book based on its cover, who wrote it or whether or not it is sitting in a store window. I, therefore, can find plenty of interesting books I want to read by shopping online. I think it's Lulu or Iuniverse (I have purchased decent memoirs from both sites) that lets you read the first several pages of a book, and that's all I need to see if its written well, and if it sounds interesting. Of course, some books stink so bad, I can't finish them. (Traditionally published, too).


I guess in my 42 years, as an avid reader of non-fiction only - I have read thousands of books.

My opinion is that many commercially successful books are only better because they have been professionally edited.
Every book written has good parts and bad parts; boring parts and fantastic parts. (For the most part ,:) )

I'm not convinced that books in bookstores have any better stories in them than books that haven't made it there; anymore than I am convinced that Britney Spears can sing better than the first 5 ladies I can find in the closest church choir I stop at next Sunday ........Britney has been doctored up, prettied up, and has alot of money put behind her look .......but she certainly isn't a better singer than average.

Does it really come down to talent, or marketing?

maestrowork
04-28-2006, 06:35 AM
II do have a job maestro, I work as a surgical tech, assisting physicians do various unseemly things to peoples bodies. I don't need to write to eat, but my only thought has been throughout this thread, that there is nothing wrong with publishing a book yourself if thats what you want to do. Gee whiz guys, lighten up a little...


There is NOTHING wrong with self-publication. I never said there was. I am just saying that don't go into self-publication thinking you will be the next Paolini or Richard Paul Evans. Dreaming is nice, but be realistic. Of the hundred of thousand self-pubbed authors, only a very small handful succeed, as compared to the number of traditionally pubbed authors (again, Paolini would be considered traditionally pubbed). That was my point.

If you want to self-publish, go ahead. But do know what you are getting into and do understand why you want to get published in the first place and do understand the possible outcome. If you want to get published because you have something to say and you want a lot of people to read you, just remember, you may only sell 200 copies of your book if you self-publish. Are you achieving your goal that way?

Once you weigh in all the pros and cons, and still want to self-publish, I'd say go ahead.

To be honest, I thought about doing self-publishing, too -- but not my fiction. I have some non-fiction ideas that I might want to go self-pub. But that's another story.

maestrowork
04-28-2006, 06:39 AM
100,000...thats pretty good for a self published novel, and from one review i read, they didn't think the book was even very well written...


*sigh* 100,000 in print, not 100,000 sold. I am sure it eventually got sold and went on to become the best seller that it was... but!

Also, 100,000 copies. Do you know how much upfront cost it takes and how much storage room you need for warehousing that? Do the math. Let's just say $2 a book just to print (don't add other costs).

Do you have $200,000? What if they don't sell? Are you willing to be stuck with 100,000 books and a $200,000 debit?

Something to think about.

james1611
04-28-2006, 06:55 AM
I would say it takes at least a little of both.

fact is, there are good and bad books in both traditional and self published markets. (Good stories I mean...)

traditional will get more makeup applied and more exposure because there's money to do it.
Self published will try and languish, but if your story is good and you believe in it then I still think its better to try and fail than to not try at all.

I'm not speaking as one who would tell you to write for your next meal. Thats not good advice. But just to tell the story...Your story.
Personally if you want a career, I'd say go to college get trained in something someone needs. People don't need entertainment, but they do like it.

I like to write but I don't need it to pay the bills. I just want to share a story. That's all.

Isn't that what the "craft", the "Art" of it is all about?...Maybe not. People all want to be a bestseller and famous or forget about it.

Sure I think those things are great if they come to you, but either way I still want to tell the story...

peace,
james: Author, The Chronicels of Soone
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

LloydBrown
04-28-2006, 07:05 AM
If all you want is to tell a story, what's wrong with putting it on a free website? It'll cost less than self-pubbing and take less time.

james1611
04-28-2006, 10:01 PM
I AGREE WITH YOU...

As cool a name as "Captain-POD" might be, I'm no caped P.O.D. crusader.

Sorry if you felt dissed by the Amazon stats...it wasn't meant to be taken that way.

much success to you and all.

James,
www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com (http://www.chroniclesofsoone.bravehost.com)

Dave Sloane
04-30-2006, 08:15 AM
In the beginning my Amazon rankings were around 700,000 to 1,000,000.
No one knew my book, "Methadone Clinic" existed so who's gonna buy it?
Right? (There are roughly four million books on Amazon, as you know.)

Then, maybe one or two stumbled across my fine work and one day
it hit about 100,000. To date, on my best day, just recently, I was rated
at about 70,000.
KEEPING IN MIND THAT EXCEPT FOR ONE SMALL AD IN AN ALTERNATIVE
NEWSPAPER AND SOME TEPID WORD OF MOUTH, IT'S SOMETHING !!!
Naysayers who just like to naysay can never be won over. The point
is that at least now I know that some readers know I'm out there. Also,
that one little sale that jumped your ratings from 1,000,000 to 100,000
can garner you more sales by good word of mouth.

FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT FEELS GOOD TO SEE GOOD
NUMBERS EVEN IF THE ACTUAL SALES ARE MINOR.

SO, PLEASE MY FRIENDS, LIGHTEN UP AND HAVE A LITTLE FUN WITH IT--
AND THANK YOU AMAZON FOR PROVIDING US WITH A RANKINGS SYSTEM.

PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING TO ALL KINDRED SPIRITS !!!

Jamesaritchie
04-30-2006, 09:10 PM
[QUOTE=Dave Sloane]

SO, PLEASE MY FRIENDS, LIGHTEN UP AND HAVE A LITTLE FUN WITH IT--
AND THANK YOU AMAZON FOR PROVIDING US WITH A RANKINGS SYSTEM.

QUOTE]

I would, if the ranking system they provide us with had any meaning at all. It doesn't. It's worse than useless, it's completely meaningless.

james1611
05-01-2006, 07:52 PM
I think the nice thing about the web and web based book sellers is that the playing or selling field, is a little more even.

On the web we can advertise, reach people with word of mouth and be listed along side very famous works in the online bookstores...thats nice for self published authors...

As more people get online and shop online, that creates more opportunity, but also i think that much of the stigma for self published books is deserved... there are tons of horrible books available that foster that opinion. One good thing i think is that most of those will not see much more marketing than what it took to actually create them and post them to some site. Many will not be bought except for one copy to the author and thats fine.

Others though, that have truly engaging stories and authors who really do believe in them, have more opportunity on the web. It just needs to be utilized. I have read reviews of some books that were self published and got just as good reviews from buyers as the traditional books are getting online anyway, where customers post their reviews. So I would say that they felt the money was well spent, they were satisfied and enought to tell others so.

I'm more moved by a persons opinion who spent the money and then said it was good, than some reviewer who got a free copy and otherwise has no investment in it...the one who paid for it; their opinion means more and generally they will be VERY honest about it, good or bad...

That can give self publishers some hope...at least hope in writing a good story...

Publishing companies have to feel they can return a big investment, plus a nice profit...As I've heard it said by editors, that's a very difficult call...

peace,
james

Dave Sloane
05-02-2006, 08:27 AM
[QUOTE=Jamesaritchie]

I would, if the ranking system they provide us with had any meaning at all. It doesn't. It's worse than useless, it's completely meaningless.



JAMES, THIS IS NOT TRUE. I KNOW BECAUSE MY QUARTERLY REPORTS
FROM AUTHOR HOUSE WITH IMPROVED SALES CORRELATE TO IMPROVED
AMAZON RANKINGS.

jchines
05-02-2006, 03:50 PM
And global warming is inversely correlated to the number of pirates worldwide. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster -- scroll down to the Pirates section ) Correlation does not mean there's a statistically useful relationship between the two factors.

It does make sense that if there's some event which helps publicize your book, both overall sales and Amazon sales would increase. And one can assume that a book on Amazon which stays in the double-digit rankings is selling better than one in the six-digit rankings.

But Amazon rankings are a statistically minute proportion of overall sales. The rankings fluctuate hugely based on what you sold today, as opposed to how the book has done over its lifetime.

For instance, if you kind folks go and pre-order a half-dozen copies of my book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0756404002/), that ought to bump the ranking into the five-digit range, or maybe the low 100,000s.

Fellowship of the Ring (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618346252/qid=1146570427/) is currently ranked 240,000. Does that mean my book would be more popular or making more money than Tolkien's?

The rankings may not be completely meaningless, but I'd argue they're pretty close. Unfortunately, they're also one of the only places authors can go to see real-time numbers about their books, so we tend to obsess a bit.

Lauri B
05-03-2006, 08:10 PM
I've said this before and I'll say it again (and again, and again): there's nothing wrong with self-publishing as long as you are aware that trade publications won't review them, distributors won't rep them, and bookstores won't sell them. So the only venue left for self-published authors is via amazon or on their own web sites. So if you're okay with that, then go for it. For every story about how a self-published author became a wild publishing success, there are hundreds of thousands of others that talk about the boxes of unopened books in the author's garage.
If you know what you're getting into and set your expectations as low as the inevitable outcome, then go for it.

JNLister
05-04-2006, 01:18 AM
If you are interested in Amazon rankings, it's well worth visiting www.titlez.com (http://www.titlez.com)

This has a (currently free) service for tracking books on Amazon so that, as well as getting current ranks, you can get the average ranks for the past 7, 30 and 90 days, plus a lifetime average. These are much more useful figures for comparing two books, or tracking one book over time.

Ralyks
05-08-2006, 03:33 AM
But Amazon rankings are a statistically minute proportion of overall sales.

Yes, for traditionally published books, but not for vanity POD published books. They are the PRIMARY proportion of overall sales for most vanity POD published books, I imagine. I would estimate that 80% of my books sold through Amazon. So, for me as an author, the sales rankings do help to give me a general idea of how many copies I am selling in any given week (though it requires a translator), and this helps me to keep tabs on my publisher. That said, the rankings are useless for any kind of comparison of books.



The rankings may not be completely meaningless, but I'd argue they're pretty close. Unfortunately, they're also one of the only places authors can go to see real-time numbers about their books, so we tend to obsess a bit.

Yeah, that's the long and short of it. Well, bn.com also has sales rankings. I imagine the system is similar to Amazon.

Ralyks
05-08-2006, 03:44 AM
If you are interested in Amazon rankings, it's well worth visiting www.titlez.com (http://www.titlez.com/)

This has a (currently free) service for tracking books on Amazon so that, as well as getting current ranks, you can get the average ranks for the past 7, 30 and 90 days, plus a lifetime average. These are much more useful figures for comparing two books, or tracking one book over time.

Thank you. That was very interesting to see, especially the "lifetime" average sales rank.

jchines
05-08-2006, 04:26 AM
Yes, for traditionally published books, but not for vanity POD published books. They are the PRIMARY proportion of overall sales for most vanity POD published books, I imagine. I would estimate that 80% of my books sold through Amazon. So, for me as an author, the sales rankings do help to give me a general idea of how many copies I am selling in any given week (though it requires a translator), and this helps me to keep tabs on my publisher. That said, the rankings are useless for any kind of comparison of books.

That's a good point, and one I hadn't considered. Thanks for pointing it out....

JNLister
05-08-2006, 10:45 PM
Yeah, that's the long and short of it. Well, bn.com also has sales rankings. I imagine the system is similar to Amazon.

I believe BN.com ratings are more of a longer-term average, and less likely to change as often.

I believe a bn.com rating refers to sales over the past 60 days or six months - I don't recall which.

Dave Sloane
07-28-2006, 09:24 AM
[quote=eldragon]Just because something is put out by a big publisher, sure doesn't mean it's good.


Right on, kindred spirit. I totally agree with you because you tell it like it is. Rock on, Eldragon !!!