How to hit the bestseller List


You may have heard about authors hitting a bestseller list helped launch the career or helped them make the millions of dollars. You might have also heard about all sorts of corruption, games, and loopholes or manipulation that people put upon the lists such as the New York Times bestseller list or the USA Today bestseller list.

Because of so many people taking advantage of certain rules and loopholes or exploiting the system (Lani Sarem’s attempt to cheat her way into the list with Handbook for Mortals is a famous one,) a lot of authors barely even bother with tracking the best seller’s list… however, it is something of a Write of Passage (see what I did there? Please don’t unfollow me.)

Nicholas Erik (an author I follow) writes much about the why and how over at his blog post here. But to sum it up, having a best selling book under your belt allows you to brag a little. And I really like bragging. But more importantly, it lends a certain amount of credibility to all your future titles and can open other doors for you as well.

It’s also not an impossible task for any author who knows how to leverage marketing results and knows how to plan ahead (do work.) Here is what you need to do to hit the bestsellers list…

First and foremost, I want to know that I am using this to hit the bestsellers list right now. I don’t beg a lot, but I am asking anybody reading this in 2022 to click this link right here and pick up a 99c copy of a big book bundle I’m in.

  • Understand the rules of hitting the bestsellers list. The near times in the USA Today lists are slightly different, and all focus on the USA Today list.
    • Only US sales count
    • sales are counted in a one week period from Monday to Sunday
    • presales all count as sales made during the week of release (that makes them very important!)
    • The minimum price is $0.99
    • there are minimum sales numbers you have to hit on platforms outside of Amazon
    • you need to sell about 5000 copies over the course of one week and those sales have be made on multiple platforms
    • sales must he made to different individuals (that’s the controversy with Handbook for Mortals I mentioned above, you can’t simply buy 5000 copies of your own book)

  • Do the work (but share the load

A lot of independent writers will crowd source there workload. When you have 10 to 20 authors each with large newsletters, some of them will have their own blogs, many will have different avenues of advertising and platforms on a variety of social media. When you leverage all of these authors doing work on all the different platforms expands your total footprint.

There is also a joint fund those writers pay into in order to pay for different advertising packages such as Facebook, Amazon, newsletter stacks, bookbub, and the like.

While there is a lot of work, it’s not highly intensive since it takes place over the course of months or a year. I mentioned that prerelease time during which you will try to get as many preorders as possible. All your preorders counter sales made during release week provided to new work. The danger and that is that people will slack off and not taken as seriously as they need to (some of us tend to be procrastinators by nature.)

  • Ride the wave.

That last couple weeks will be pretty intense. While it will be a lot of consistent and constant work in the background for many months leading up to launch week, the couple weeks beforehand will be heavily focused on preparing for the launch. You will have to beg in all likelihood. Unless you have a few authors in your group who are of fairly high renown.

Authors who use a low strategy and brainpower leading up to this point will have spent a year or more prior to making a run at the bestsellers list with preparation. What I mean by this is that you will have attempted to build a solid newsletter list and engage their subscribers. You also will have built up a social media platform that’s relevant and learned the tools you need to communicate and engage with the audience that hitting the bestsellers list to provide you with. If you don’t do this, and you join a group of authors who want to hit the list, you will probably drag them down. If there are more than a couple of you who desperately want to be in the bestsellers list but don’t want to do the work and have not prepared properly, it just might spell doom for your chances.

Working together to leverage your results is something we call in the Indy world “List Aiming.” Generally speaking, we understand that the benefits of hitting a list and being able to leverage that with smart marketing in the future makes all the work worth it; the list-aimed work generally nets a contributor less than half a cent, so authors need to understand that it isn’t a get-rich scheme—you have to leverage it for some future goal. The list aiming set I’m currently in will launch my new series starter so that it hopefully releases as a standalone book already as a USA Today bestseller.

Please help me make that a reality and invest 99c in a massive book bundle that is sure to have something you’re going to like. Just click the graphic below and you’ll have some buying options and will have made a difference in whether or not I can call myself a best-selling novelist!


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