Once you’ve launched your book, you’ll want to see how it’s performing. One quick way to check in on your sales is to pop into Amazon to see your book rank.
While Amazon is just one website, it’s the biggest online sales platform for books, and it’s particularly huge when it comes to ebooks. So knowing how things are going on Amazon is a smart place to start.
What does the Amazon book rank really measure?
You know it measures sales, but you may wonder which sales when? And for what period of time?
That’s a more complex question that you’d think.
Overall sales rank is based on the number of units a product sells (which means ebooks are ranked separately from hardbacks, and similarly so for paperback and audiobook sales ranks). However, recent purchases are given more weight than older purchases. So the exact formula is a little fuzzy outside of the black box that is the Amazon algorithm. Speculation around the evidence is that sales within the last 24 hours is about 50% of the total “score” to calculate rankings.
Amazon sales data is updated hourly. But you may not see a big change in rank on a day when you’re selling a lot of books. Why? Because others might be also selling a lot of books that day, even within the same category as your book. If you’re competing in a category that’s fairly popular, it might be a very competitive ecosystem within which to move up the ranks. You’re always competing with other books for the attention of readers.
On the other hand, your may see BIG fluctuations in your book’s rankings on a given day. It’s all the result of a combination of your actual book sales with the sales of your directly competitive titles.
What does an Amazon sales rank really mean?
As for what rankings mean, if your book is ranking on Amazon around 10k, it probably is selling around 15 copies per day, according to many analyses of the site’s data. That ranking would be considered by most authors to be highly successful. Here’s the data from Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest ebook, Velvet Was the Night, taken when the book was still a new release and selling very well:
The category and subcategory sales ranks are important for authors to understand – you will need to choose your book’s categories when listing it for sale – it may look something like this one for the children’s book, Hi It’s Me, I Have ADHD, does:
Both of these books are having consistent sales to their targeted audience on Amazon. You can also see that they’re both performing strongly in their categories.
But does sales rank on any given day really matter, in the big scheme of things? Getting an Amazon bestselling status is great, but what’s most important is that your book is finding the right audience and that you’re positioning it for success in the long term. So don’t obsess over your Amazon rankings – just use them to inform your marketing and energize your efforts!
How do I find my book’s Amazon ranking?
To find your own book’s Amazon ranking, check out this video for a quick tutorial!