Bestselling author

Posted: August 31, 2014 in Blog post
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Today I pose a question to you all, what makes a bestselling author?
Note, I’m not asking what makes a bestselling book. Obviously there are a lot of factors required of a novel to make it fit into that category. But the question is, what makes the author a “bestseller”? A lot of novels out there claim to be written by bestselling authors and I wonder – did the author dub themselves that? If so, what makes it true? We wouldn’t want to dupe our readers but there must be a barometer for this, surely?
Now, it may be enough to say that if your novels have sold in decent numbers then that makes you a bestseller. But what is a decent number?
Maybe it’s about sales ranking. I’ve had a novel stick at number one for a few weeks, great, right? Absolutely, I was overjoyed. But that same novel didn’t make it to number one in every territory. Several of my novels have reached single digit rankings in their genres, great! Again, that’s not in every territory. Is it enough to reach the top ten in the US? Does that mean you’ve made it everywhere? What about the UK? Does that count? Which country doesn’t? Yet, if I reached number one in a smaller country, could I still dub myself a “bestseller”?
The answer is that to be considered a bestselling author, by Amazon terms, you have to reach the top three hundred in overall sales on Though I see books out there who have reached this marker whose authors do not claim to be bestsellers. I also see books that I know have not made this milestone who do claim to be bestsellers.
This would lead me to the next question, would stating “bestselling author” on the cover actually sell more books? What’s to stop us all doing it, I doubt every reader would go out and check your historical rankings but if they did and found out that you hadn’t reached number one in their country would they feel conned?
I suppose being a “bestselling author” isn’t necessarily the same thing as being a “number one bestselling author”, is it? But short of listing your highest sales ranking on covers, which would have to be individually designed for each territory, how can we ensure not to oversell ourselves?
Maybe stating on the cover that you were a “bestseller” would sell more. Alternatively, it could mean that your work is read with a more critical eye, that the reader will have higher expectations, thus if you don’t meet those you could disappoint your reader. That brings us back full circle to creating a bestselling book.
Is titling yourself as a “bestseller” an act of arrogance? Or are we merely giving readers more information?

Good luck on your adventures,


  1. scarlettfinn says:

    All very good points, and I agree that just because something has a certain label does not make it any better or worse than something which does not have it.

  2. april says:

    In all honesty, I never pay too much attention to the “bestseller” title because so many of the books/authors I enjoy have never made that list. I almost look at it as a stuffy title that focuses mostly on “serious” authors, and not necessarily the genres that I’m into. Of course sales records will play a part in calling oneself a “bestseller” but look at all the cult classic movies that have been successful but have never won an Oscar. Does that mean that they’re not as good as an “Oscar winning” movie? Not always.

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