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Blogger Get’s it Wrong: Amazon Sales Rankings are Valuable Metrics if Benchmarked over Time

In Accountability, Amazon, Amazon Rankings, amazon sales, Amazon Sales Rankings, Author, Author Boycott, Author Watch, Authors, Best Sellers, Bestsellers, Book, Book Boycott, Book Marketing, Book Sellers, books, Bookstores, Boycott, Boycotted Authors, Boycotted Books, Credibility, Fact Checking, false information, Goy's Law, Money should flow toward the author, New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers, Propaganda, Publisher, Publishers, Publishing, Recommended Author, Recommended Authors, Recommended Book, Recommended Books, Reputation, Reputation Management, Royalties, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, Self-Publish, Self-Published, Self-Publishing, SFWA, Untraditional Publishing, Vanity, Vanity Press, Victoria Strauss, Watchdog, Writer, Writer Beware, Yog's Law on November 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm


“Uh, the Amazon Sales Ranking? That completely useless metric of book sales . . . . In other words, it means nothing. It’s a hourly popularity contest. If someone buys 100 copies of my book, my Amazon ranking will shoot way up for that hour then fall again.”

 –      From an Author’s Blog

The author of this quote (above) would like readers to conclude that The Write Agenda is “wrong” regarding its use of Amazon Sales Rankings. However, in fairness, it is true that Amazon Sales Rankings are updated every hour. Also, Amazon Sales Rankings are only one benchmark in measuring the success of an author and his/her book(s). We’ve never claimed that Amazon Sales Rankings are the exclusive resource; it’s a valuable tool and nothing more.

The Write Agenda’s use of the Amazon Sales Ranking data is not an hourly process. The data is measured over time (weeks and months) for consistency to establish a history for a particular book. For example, Author Anna Mara’s Her Perfect Revenge, published by Outskirts Press, was listed at #1 on our Author Watch – Best Sellers List for 12 weeks straight.  The Amazon Sales Ranking were: 81, 82, 86, 81, 107, 190, 228, 271, 334, 472, 572, and 961. In addition, Author Anna Mara’s Her Perfect Revenge, while no longer at #1, has continued to remain on the Author Watch – Best Sellers List since that time and consistently performs within our guidelines. Dr. Laurence B. Brown’s The Eighth Scroll, published by BookSurge Publishing, was #1 six (6) times.  Moreover, there are numerous examples of other authors books that are consistent performers on our Author Watch – Best Sellers List. We would also be remiss not to mention that many of these successful authors, to the dismay of Writer Beware™, are in fact published by entities listed on their so-called “Thumbs Down” list. The significant difference here is that 100’s of books are being sold beyond the “hour” window. In the spirit of Yog’s Law, money is flowing to these authors . . . as it should. The difference is that they have written good books that people want to read.

 We find it ironic that the author of the quote above would even make such an intransigent statement as this. Upon a cursory review of this particular author’s book sales data we discovered, as expected, some very dismal sales data. A book that he published in 2002 has a current sales ranking of 10,269,826 with one (1) 4-Star review. There was a subsequent book, published in 2004, that has no sales data available or any reviews. Therefore, it appears unlikely that his Amazon Sales Rankings will change anytime soon. Unless, of course, “[if] someone buys 100 copies of [his] book.” Just as bad spellers always say that “bad spelling has nothing to do with intelligence,” bad authors with bad books will always say: “Amazon Sales Rankings are a completely useless metric of book sales.” These comments were posted by this author with the intention of defending Victoria Strauss (see Victoria Strauss Critical of Indie Authors Successes: The Voice of Envy). Victoria Strauss has continued to downplay the significance of Amazon Sales Rankings as well. While many view our Boycott List as an opportunity to boost their book sales, the placement of Victoria Strauss on our Boycott List has not improved her Amazon Sales Rankings. Again, this is historical data and not an “hourly” measurement of Victoria Strauss’ Amazon Sales Rankings:

THE VICTORIA STRAUSS TITLES – AMAZON SALES RANKINGS

 Guardian of the Hills

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

5,884,506

5,850,367

5,779,492

5,598,080

5,838,144

335,805

7,800,304

Worldstone

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

3,825,886

3,458,585

2,662,751

4,980,576

6,106,142

109,084

7,793,756

The Burning Land

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

2,252,986

2,192,183

1,955,658

1,748,220

1,515,424

77,905

2,277,598

Awakened City

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

2,141,490

2,010,611

1,536,556

1,996,144

1,810,186

99,275

2,586,300

The Arm of the Stone

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

422,782

2,145,811

2,119,431

1,876,787

1,424,559

75,797

2,158,066

The Garden of the Stone

Current Rank

7-Day Average

30-Day Average

90-Day Average

Lifetime Average

Best Rank

Worst Rank

350,363

326,903

276,467

268,780

225,359

31,606

377,630

 Let’s take this opportunity to review the Amazon Sales Ranking metric once more. Again, Amazon Sales Rankings are only one of the numerous benchmarking tools.  There is a logical mathematical equation that proves that there is more validity in actual science (and proofs) versus mere rhetorical and salvation-based opinion. The equation can convert the Amazon Sales Rank into the actual number of sales on a weekly basis. The formula is:

Sales/week = e to the power (10.526-(.87*sales rank)

To put this into an Excel spreadsheet: =EXP(10.526-(0.87*LN(rank)))

This data has been actually vetted by four scientific studies that reviewed 1000’s of various titles. In addition, the authors of these studies found a direct and predicable relationship between the Amazon Sales Rankings and the actual Ingram sales data. In conclusion, Amazon Sales Rankings are a valid benchmark to measure and predict your book sales. Don’t be convinced by rhetorical statements, ignorant conjecture or opinions when scientific evidence is readily available. This is science not Science Fiction. Amazon is the world’s #1 online bookseller.

Rank

Copies Sold/day

1

3000

10

650

100

100

1000

13

10,000

2.2 (11 copies every 5 days)

100,000

0.2 (1 copy every 5 days)

1,000,000

0.006 (3 copies every 500 days)

2,000,000

0.0001 (1 copy every 1000 days)

References

“Power Law Converting Amazon Sales Ranks to Units Sold « Nimble Books LLC.” Nimble Books LLC. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://www.nimblebooks.com/wordpress/2006/06/power-law-converting-amazon-sales-ranks-to-units-sold/&gt;.

“Why Your Self-Publishing Service Probably Didn’t Cheat You.” Writer Beware™ Blogs! Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-your-self-publishing-service.html&gt;.

“Wired Blogs.” The Long Tail. Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <http://longtail.typepad.com/the_long_tail/2005/08/amazon_methodol.html&gt;.

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