Friday, November 8, 2019

Pondering the Rankings

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?


Just pondering.

Do you look at rankings when you're trying to find a new book?  Can you make any sense of this stuff?


  1. Rankings--and reading tastes of the general public (especially romance readers) is beyond my ability to understand. Most of the dogs that rank high are books with authors that have huge groups of fans. I don't know how they got them, how they keep them (writing drivel - I hate to call them dogs because I love my dogs) buying and highly rating their books. I always thought that you wrote the best book you could, edited it to as near perfect as you could and then offered it to readers. In this day and age, I fear that's not the case.

    And...that's all I'm going to say on the subject because that dark space in the back of my mind just opened one eye and yawned. Nope. Not sinking into that hole. I have words to write. Books to finish and publish.

    Have a great weekend. Go fishing before the artic blast comes in Sunday night!!!

  2. It never occurred to me to even look at the rankings before I buy a book. I occasionally look at reviews, but not the ranking.