Amazon rankings... There's a love/hate relationship going on there. But what does it even mean?
If I sell one book, that book's ranking jumps from somewhere in the millions to somewhere in the hundred thousands. The higher the ranking obviously means better exposure and thus better sales, but only when you get in the top 100 on the narrower genre listings. Does it really make a difference to readers if the book is in the overall 6 digits rather than 7?
For that matter, does a higher ranking mean a better book? I've read some highly ranked books that were total dogs and some lowly ranked books I thoroughly enjoyed.
Is it a matter of following the herd? Oh, look how many people bought this book, it must be a good one?
I can get my books to jump by offering them at a steep discount and advertising the hell out of them, but that only means people were looking for a deal and something about my ad sparked their interest. Whether the jump in ranking equals a jump in sales? No clue. Generally, once the ad gets shuffled to the back of everyone's inboxes and the new ads for the day come out, my sales tank.
How often does anyone really look at the lists? I mean if you manage to get on one of the Top 100 lists, that is. Beyond that, you can't look at anything. Wonder what #102 is? Too bad.
Last month, I actually took the time to find new books on the Top 100 lists in political thriller and suspense. I found two books I actually wanted to read. (New to me, and underappreciated, of course.) One of them was a dog. I haven't started the other yet, because I got burned on the last one. If the other one sucks, too, I'm done trying to find books on those lists. I ain't got time for that shit.
So, how does the book buying public make heads or tails out of any of this ranking stuff?
Do you look at rankings when you're trying to find a new book? Can you make any sense of this stuff?