I've been thinking a great deal more about indie publishers and authors and their standing in the marketplace, stimulated by a read of Aaron Shepard's book, Aiming at Amazon. The book is a frank insight for indie publishers into the burgeoning world of online booksellers versus bricks and mortar stores.
In the book Shepard submits that Amazon sales rankings are definite indicators of a book's marketing success. He breaks those rankings down thus:
- Top 10,000. If you can your book here and keep it here, you have a real winner. A book with a rank of 5,000 might sell 250 copies a month.
- 10,000 to 50,000. A very good performer.
- 50,000 to 200,000. Not a hot item, but still a respectable earner.
- Over 200,000. Don't do it for the money.
Because Amazon's sales rankings change by the second, Shepard offers a nifty little free calculator that will give you the latest rankings.
Curious, I stacked my own novel, Shadow Song, up against other award winners and short-listed books, using Canadian Amazon sales as the base. Thought I'd share the results of that research.
- 4,016, Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, Sunburst Award Shortlist.
- 70,160 The Alchemists Pursuit, by Dave Duncan, Sunburst Award Shortlist.
- 133,965 Shadow Song, by Lorina Stephens.
- 158,500 Marsegeuro, by Edward Willett, Prix Aurora Award.
- 233,427 Night Child, by Jes Battis, Sunburst Award Shortlist.
- 284,095 Wild Talent, by Eileen Kernaghan, Sunburst Award Shortlist.
- 702,878 After the Fires, by Ursula Pflug, Sunburst Award Shortlist.
The result: Yes We Can!