I had an email from a potential client overnight. In response to an article I sent him about Amazon and bestseller status, he replied that working to get bestseller status on Amazon seems like an ego play. While there is certainly some element of ego involved when people set a goal to make their books a bestseller, there are other, less obvious reasons you may want to work to become a bestseller, on Amazon or elsewhere.
- Discoverability. When your book is new, Amazon’s algorithms have not yet fully incorporated it into their search engines. I’ve noticed this with authors whose books are on Amazon long before their launch dates. In those early weeks, before they’ve announced their books to their networks and sent direct traffic to their books, searching for the book with the title may not be sufficient to find the page. We teach Amazon’s algorithms, by activity on our book pages, that our books are interesting and sought after. A campaign to send lots of activity to your page in a short amount of time can make it easier for people searching for your book (or a book like yours) to find it.
There’s an added discoverability factor: ranking as a hot new release in a category means that your book is also cataloged with those other hot new releases in your category. That hot new release page is another place people can discover your book. The more categories you select and rank in, the more places people may discover your book.
- Momentum. Launching a book successfully is challenging. Selling books is harder than anyone anticipates. If you are able to rank as a bestseller, on Amazon or elsewhere, that early success builds momentum. Success creates more success. People may want to be a New York Times bestseller for the bragging rights, but it is also about the exposure afforded books once they land on that list.
- Credibility. While you may think bestseller status is about ego, I would argue that the real desire for most authors is to create credibility for their books. By ranking as a bestseller, you send a signal that your book is worthwhile and important. When you tell others that your book is a bestseller, they confer status on your book and your ideas.
- Conversation. Gaining bestseller status gives you something to talk about as you continue to share your book with the world during your launch week and beyond. It gives you something to share when people ask you how it’s going with your launch. You can capture screenshots of your book as a bestseller in its category to share across your social channels. If you’ve asked people for support, your ranking as a bestseller is an obvious indicator that the help they’ve given you has been worthwhile.
I’m curious, what other reasons do you see for seeking bestseller status on Amazon or elsewhere? Which of the above reasons are most important to you?
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.