Skip to main content

The Truth About The New York Times Bestsellers List


Getting your book on the New York Time Bestsellers' List is the gold standard of literary achievement...

Allegedly...

Here's the truth - it's all smoke and mirrors. Bestsellers' Lists are lies!

Kind of...

With most lists, sales are normally curated in a finite window of time, from a very limited number of places.

Or, in worst case scenarios, it's a handful of people deciding who makes the list based on what THEY think is relevant and noteworthy.

Disappointing...I know.

Since its inception in the 1930s, the New York Times Bestsellers' List has consistently fallen under scrutiny.  This is mostly due to the small selected sample from which it draws its numbers.

Specifically, there are a few problems to which the NYT's Bestsellers' List can fall victim.

One is fast sales. They look at a very short, finite window of time to pick out the bestselling books for their list.

This means that a book could sell really, really well in one week, while another book could sell steadily over several months and outsell this book, but the one that sells faster in a shorter period of time is going to hit the list.

Another issue that could come up is double counting.

So, since the list accounts for booksellers and wholesalers, its possible for a book sale to be counted twice, therefore skewing the numbers.

Then there's manipulation of the numbers by authors and publishers. This can be as simple as an author or publisher buying up massive quantities their own books to inflate sales.

Retailers and wholesalers understand the prestige behind a spot on the NYT's Bestsellers List. By inflating their sales numbers that they report to The Times, they can basically make a book a bestseller before it even gets there.

All that might sound like compelling evidence, but don't take my word for it. There's a ton of information online about how The Times's list is curated and the problems associated with it.

One interesting case to note is the 1983 William Blatty case. Blatty sued the NYT for $6 million because his book Legion, which was adapted to become The Exorcist 3, was not included on The NYT List despite having great sales numbers.

The NYT was able to win the lawsuit.

There defense:  "This list is not mathematically objective, but rather is editorial content and protected under the Constitution of freedom of speech."

No matter what the sales or ranking, there's always a chance of not hitting the list.

It's also very important to note - outside of the Romance and Horror genres, the NYT does not recognize books published by one of the top 5 publishers.

But wait...

...there is some silver lining to this situation. There are still a variety of ways to measure the success of your book.

Every book is different. Every author is different.

Be clear and honest with yourself about your goals for the specific book you're publishing. And if you publish multiple books, it's always a good idea to go back to the drawing board for every one and set a specific set of goals for each book.

If you're still interested in getting on the Bestsellers list, here are a couple of ways to stack the deck in your favor.

First up...presales!

For the NYT, it's specifically important to obtain a large amount of presales if you are a new or relatively unknown author.

This means around 10k minimum.

The thing to keep in mind is that their looking for the rate of sales in a specific time period.

What you want to do is sell as many copies as you can in a short amount of time. Selling around 5k in a week a great way to catch the attention of the Bestsellers List.

Also, be aware of where your books are selling.

Books must be sold through a channel that is reported to the list you're trying to make. Do your research and find out all of the reporting information.

Don't forget that there are other lists out there as well.

Take a look at The Wall Street Journal's Bestsellers list. They usually look for around 2500 to 3000 sales to make their list. And they accept self-published books.

If your goal is to make it on a list, don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done. Know which list you want to be on and map out a plan to get there.

If you felt like you learned a lot reading this article, go ahead and share it!




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 [FREE] Writing Courses on Youtube That Are Packed With Massive Value

This is a friendly reminder that the best things in life really are FREE, and that includes full spectrum writing courses on Youtube that teach you just about everything you will need to know about operating as a competent, reliable, and skilled copywriter. Sure, you could pay for courses and there's nothing wrong with that. But why not take advantage of a free opportunity? Here are  Top 20 [FREE] Writing Courses on Youtube That Are Packed With Massive Value. 1. Simple Learning's Copywriting Course In this course, writers will learn how to write write product descriptions, multiply sales, and how to influence your readers. Course contains very little fluff - only the most important principles are shared throughout the video.  2. Simplilearn's Full Course Content Marketing Tutorial For Beginners Every content writer and marketer wants that coveted #1 spot on Google. Heck, most want to get to the front page at the very least. This course is all about ranking high on Google an

[SPONSOR] Mine Crypto With Your Phone For Free Now

Download the app and start mining with Android today Use PROMO Code: BBC896 to earn a 1.00℅ bonus on everything you mine The Road To Mass Adoption It’s common for cryptocurrencies to talk about seeking mass adoption. It’s far less common for them to make tangible progress towards that goal. Instant Cryptocurrency Payments We have a global patent pending on a technology that allows instant cryptocurrency payments. Instant payments will initially be in ETN but our patent also covers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The ability to SPEND ETN instantly is only half the equation. We are developing an API that will allow easy integration to ACCEPT ETN instantly. This means it will be simple to allow an ecommerce system to give instant check out, and even allow easy integration into ePOS systems (electronic point of sales systems or tills). USD 3 trillion opportunity By giving access to the 'gig economy' for the first time to over 350 million unb

[VIDEO] Dan Peña - How To Create Deal-flow | QLA Audio Newsletter

Dan Peña - How To Create Deal-flow | QLA Audio Newsletter Dan explains how to get started in Merger & Acquisition transactions. Known as the $50 Billion man, Dan has been the Chairman of over 50 firms and regularly holds Quantum Leap Advantage seminars out of his 15th Century castle in Scotland. He has created billions in equity value on behalf of his colleagues. One of his most recent mentees completed a $500 billion deal to create NEOM, the city of the future. Recording circa the mid 90s. Dan's website: https://www.danpena.co.uk/qla-for-dummies/ Here's the secret to becoming a great copywriter: http://bit.ly/2Ko76yU You are about to get full-blown access to money-making software that's jammed thousands of dollars into my forex account in the last few months: http://bit.ly/2kopNGi Never Seen Before! This Smart And Easy To Use Software Is Helping Forex Traders To Increase Their Profitability With Any System: http://bit.ly/2kVCnx6 Bots Room Has Be