Three Biggest Myths About Bestselling Lists Debunked
[Approximate Reading Time : 3 mins]
You might have spent restless days and sleepless nights thinking about how you can make into one of those prestigious bestsellers lists. It would have hurt you deeply when your latest book written with a lot of expectations missed out on becoming a bestseller yet again. Have you ever given a second thought to whether this anxiety is worth it? If yes, then this article is for you, which will debunk all the myths related to the conventional ideas of a bestseller and will tell you that why getting into a bestseller’s list is more about strategies and tactics rather than the quality of your book.
“To be a bestseller is not necessarily a measure of quality, but it is a measure of communication.”
– Barbara Tuchman, Pulitzer Prize winning American Author
- Myth – Bestseller means a book that sells a large number of copies for a long time.
Reality – As per a recent poll conducted by BUUKS on the definition of a bestseller, around 40 % believe that a bestseller is a book that sells a large number of copies for a long time, which is a myth. Well, the criteria for deciding whether a book is a bestseller differs from one list to another. How many copies of a book needs to be sold to find a place on the bestseller list is difficult to answer. It again changes with every list and genre. It means that a book should sell a given number of copies in a given period as per each leading bestselling list like Amazon, New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. For example, the number of copies sold to be a bestseller will be different for fiction and nonfiction.
Similarly, sales for lists like Amazon, New York Times, Wall Street Journal will be different. Also, the duration within which a book should sell its prescribed number of copies to get into the bestsellers list varies for every list. For some, its weekly, while for some others, it is monthly.
- Myth – You can be successful as an author only if you are a bestseller.
Reality – Writing a bestselling book can increase and improve your books’ sales and reputation and bring many rewards. Still, it is wrong to say that you can be a successful author only if you have written a bestseller book. Firstly, making it to a bestseller list is beyond your control due to the complicated tactics involved. Even if you master the strategies, then chasing it is not the best use of time. Instead, you can invest your time in writing and long term marketing. You need to understand that a bookseller status is a temporary one, and it’s based on your book’s sale only within a couple of weeks or a month. Your book sale during such a brief time doesn’t fetch a good business for the book in the long run. So, it is better to focus on long term promotional and brand building strategies such as advertising, social media marketing, newsletters, and public appearances.
- Myth – There are fixed criteria for being a bestseller.
Reality – The truth is there are no such fixed criteria to be in the bestsellers list. Have you ever thought that why The Hindustan Times carries one set of books as its weekly bestseller while The Times of India has a different collection of books and Amazon.in has an entirely different list to feature? The reason is that these lists are curated and narrowed down and collated based on various databases. While preparing such lists, the data taken into consideration are provided by only a handful of bookstores or publishing giants or agencies. For example, the New York Times recognizes only those books published by one of the big New York publishing houses.
Another example is The Hindustan Times, to which the data is provided by Nielsen-Bookscan, which is the only data scan available in the whole of India. Talking about the biggest and most trusted game players in the industry, Amazon.in has its algorithms behind its bestseller list and considers only those books published under its banner. It is not wrong, though it is when someone uses its book’s status of ‘Amazon Bestseller’ as ‘Bestseller,’ the situation gets murky.
To know more about debunking myths about a bestseller, read our blog what really is a bestseller and connect with us.