Sales Rankings


My agent has asked me to stop looking at Child of Fire’s sales rankings on She knows I know that they don’t really mean anything, but she also knows that it’s one of the few tools a writer has to see how the book is doing. Are sale trending upward? Is interest fading away? How does it compare to book X, released at the same time (which is never always fun)?

Her point (and, as always, it’s a good one) is that isn’t representative of certain kinds of book sales. It doesn’t match well with them and I shouldn’t even distract myself with it because it could be suggesting something that’s the opposite of what’s really going on. And I’ve taken her advice. I only visit the page to see if there’s a new review, although I sometimes will accidentally allow my gaze to fall on the ranking. Oops! Utterly meaningless!

The reason it’s been easy to kick the sales ranking habit is that I found a new, better form of crack. See, Random House has a nice list of books on their website, and if I click “science fiction/fantasy” right there in the left sidebar, they will automatically sort them by how well they’re selling that week. And, since they only update once a week, I’m not tempted to obsess

Currently, I’m on page 20 out of 99 of all Random House sf/f. Not bad (probably)! The top slots are almost always Laurell K. Hamilton, Star Wars novels and Farenheit 451. Me, I’ve been as far back and page 30, and as far forward as 12 (I wish I’d known about this when my book first came out).

And of course, I always have to click back one more page so I can trash talk the books trailing me in the list. “Eat my DUST, Stephen R. Donaldson! With your 30-something year old novel that’s still selling strong! How do you like the bottoms of my shoes! HAH!”

I consider this healthy.