How To Stay On Top As An Author In An Increasingly Competitive eBook World November 28, 2015 – Posted in: Blog – Tags: , , , , ,

Part 3: Sales Volume vs. Price

While the sales ranking on amazon may not be equal to the number of sales, as the algorithm takes other points into consideration, such as at what time in the book’s lifecycle the sales occur, there’s evidence that the ranking is based on sales volume, NOT dollar value, as often assumed. The price of your book is irrelevant, as the ranking solely looks at the number of books sold.

It was a successful German physician, journalist and self-publishing author, Matthias Matting, who first pointed this out after he did a series of test to debulk the myths. Here are the most important results:

Fact 1: Price does NOT influence sales rank.

Fact 2: Enrollment in KDP Select does NOT influence sales rank.

Fact 3: ORGANIC GROWTH of sales number results in a higher ranking.

This is the most important result of this study for authors looking to climb amazon’s best seller lists, as Matting discovered two key points when it comes to organic growth:

  • Sales must last more than 24 hours
  • One day without sales decreases the sales rank of a title in the same way as halving its sales numbers

For a new title with a lower rank (and less visibility) that means:

The title must reach at least twice the sales numbers of the higher ranked title to actually overtake it.

Where it gets really interesting is when it comes to borrowing books. While enrollment in KDP Select doesn’t influence the sales rank, borrows on Kindle Unlimited influence the ranking immediately. And this is what’s probably most surprising about this entire study. Borrows on Kindle Unlimited are only paid when the user reads at least 10 % of the book. But, for the sales ranking, that number is not taken in consideration. ALL BORROWS COUNT IMMEDIATELY, even if the potential reader never opens the book.


What does that mean for authors?

Kindle Unlimited is not as bad a deal as one might think. You might not get paid much from the program itself. But you get an immediate boost if someone borrows your title, what can ultimately result in more sales.

And if you are planning promotions? You will want to start with the least effective and increase the power in several steps.

20 sales each day for a week get you higher than 150 sales one day and none the other.

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