Good morning and welcome to Monday Blogs. Today, we’ll be talking about those elusive best seller lists.
We’ve all seen these lists. USA Today, the New York Times. Oh, the famous authors who have graced those pages. Doesn’t it just make you long to have your book and your name featured on them? I mean, everyone certainly wants to be on these coveted lists. We’ll certainly do anything to get on one. To be honest, that was one of my goals when I made the decision to go from the writer with a huge stable of stories I was always editing, rewriting, and tweaking on to a published author. It seemed so simple to get there. All one had to do was research the guidelines to get on one of those lists.
Ah, how naïve I was. How out of touch with the reality of the publishing world was I? I honestly thought a lot of hard promotion, getting my book out in front of potential readers, raking in the sales, and being available for interviews would put my right at the top of the books those lists wanted.
Reality soon set in when I began researching exactly how one gets on those lists. Like my search for the perfect publisher for my books, I dove into the internet, seeking the guidelines to submit my book to both the New York Times and USA Today. In my mind, these were respectable publications and would more than welcome a book by a new author.
Did I mention how naive I was? Yeah, that feeling of conquering the world was seriously chipped when I discovered you, the author, don’t actually submit your books to these lists. To be honest, the rules for submission if your book wasn’t with one of the Big 5 publishers were pretty discouraging and always began with: Your publisher or publicist must contact us.
So, I looked further and what I found turned off my desire to be a part of these lists. This decision was further firmed when I heard about the scandal regarding a book that somehow “bought” its way onto the New York Times Best Seller list. It turns out a book with ten thousand or more paid pre-orders makes it onto this list, even if the book hasn’t been published yet. Handbook for Mortals had the distinct notoriety of being on this list in August of 2017. It was listed as “out of stock” on Amazon and there were no physical copies in any Barnes & Noble stores. Yet, this author and the website that had just become a publisher managed to take over what has always been considered a prestigious spot.
This incident brought to light exactly how books are rated on the NYT list. Only books selling well at a certain number of bookstores and a few online retailers; these stores or online retailers were not indicative of anything but the sales in a limited area.
Getting your book on the USA Today best seller list is less restrictive but just as hard, as it requires a lot of sales online.
What it boils down to is that new authors with small publishers or authors who elect to self publish need to continue their hard work not just promoting their book but also branding their name but they should also be happy with the fact that they are developing a good fan base. That hard work might one day get you on one of these lists, but not without doing what it takes to get noticed.
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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