A common question is, “How many books do you have to sell to become a best seller?”
Well, it depends upon the list. Another way of saying that is, it depends upon what you’re “comparing” your sales against. While my Sell Your Book on Amazon is “officially” an “Amazon Best Seller” I will say that Outskirts Press has published many books that have sold more copies than Sell Your Book on Amazon in any given month, and many of them don’t refer to themselves as “best sellers.” In fact, today on our Self Publishing News blog, our top 10 best sellers from 2009 are announced.
I will also say that a “best-selling” book doesn’t always translate to high revenue or high sales. In fact, those two criteria do not have to be connected at all. We have other “official” Amazon Best Sellers who sold enough books to reach #1 in their category on Amazon for a period of time, but didn’t sell enough books to become one of our top 10 best-selling authors in that month. We have other books where authors earn $20, $30, $50 or more for each copy of their books that Amazon sells, but the content is very niche. As a result, their quantity of sales are never statistically “high” enough for them to be considered “best sellers” but we still send them impressive royalty checks. If their goal was to receive impressive royalty checks, mission accomplished. And then we have other authors who receive impressive royalty checks AND are best sellers in their category.
Authors have different goals when publishing a book. Some want to be famous; others want to make a lot of money; others want to share a message with the world; and still others want to attract the attention of an agent or New York publisher and get “picked up.” We have helped authors reach all these goals, and that is part of our goal at Outskirts Press. Most authors’ goals fall into one of these four major categories, and being a “best selling” author is simply a by-product of, or a catalyst to, reaching one of those other goals.