How to get your book on a bestseller list

Happily Ever AlphaI’m taking part in another box set, this one with 21 paranormal romances bundled together for the low price of 99 cents during preorder. One of our big goals this time around is to hit a bestseller list, and I thought you might be interested in some of the tips I ran across as I researched lists.

There are two big lists indie authors are eligible for — the USA Today bestseller list and the New York Times bestseller list. In either case, the best way to aim for a list is to have a long preorder since all of the preorders (at least those from within the U.S.) count toward the launch week’s sales for these lists. However, you really have to choose which list you’re going for up front since it’s best to have your preorder go live on a Monday to hit the NYT list, versus on a Tuesday to hit the USA Today list.

The latter is a good choice if you’re not sure of your marketing prowess since USA Today lists 150 bestsellers each week. At a low time of year like this, indie authors have been known to hit the USA Today bestseller list with as few as 5,000 U.S. sales. On the other hand, you may need as many as 8,000 sales during the post-Christmas season to hit the list.

paranormal romanceThe rub is that you have to reach a certain threshold on a non-Amazon retailer before you’re eligible for the USA Today Bestseller list, and some people think that threshold is 500 on Barnes & Noble. This is hard and I suspect is what holds many indie authors back from hitting the USA Today bestseller list. So if you’re intent upon list-hitting, it’s worth putting some effort into reading a nook-specific readership. (If you want to help us along in our goal of reaching those all-important 500 nook sales…while filling your ereader for a long winter…you can preorder here.)

Of course, list-hitting isn’t the only benefit of a multi-author box set. My experience with our previous box set (on sale at 99 cents starting November 12) showed that these collaborations are an awesome way to reach new readers and boost other books in the series. Plus, they’re a great asset to the indie author’s bottom line all on their own. Proof positive that even if you try for a list and fail, there’s value in the effort.

9 thoughts on “How to get your book on a bestseller list

  1. Best of luck, Aimee. Hitting those lists is a tough fight, but I’m betting you make it. Many authors have good luck with boxed sets or anthologies. Thank you for sharing this helpful info on what it takes.:)


  2. Don’t know how I missed this post, Aimee. I guess it was because I was playing catch-up with the #MysteryNovember posts. Sorry!! As always, you have valuable information to share with us, and I learn something new from your posts. I’m printing this one out for the folder I keep this kind of stuff filed in. I just might want to try something like this one of these days, and it helps to understand how it all works. Good luck with your pre-orders, and I hope this goes just the way you want it to! Be sure to let us know how it works out. Thanks, again!


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