Pay attention to the right bestselling book categories on Amazon

Posted December 27th @ 8:10 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Monday’s planning tip for authors

There’s brand-building magic to the words “bestselling author,” or “ bestselling book,” but exactly what defines an Amazon bestseller? How many copies of your book would have to be sold to qualify your book as an Amazon bestseller?

Look beyond the obvious

The starting point is to look beyond a book’s overall sales rank on Amazon. The overall sales rank are based on 24-hour sales, computed daily, and–in some cases–hourly. The overall sales rank lumps fiction and nonfiction books. This puts brand-building nonfiction books at a disadvantage, as your book would be competing against good review of a pop-culture fiction book in a mass circulation magazine like Cosmopolitan, or a controversial or timely author interview on Oprah!

Even focusing on just nonfiction book sales is unlikely to significantly improve your book’s relative ranking. This is because “nonfiction” covers a multitude of topics, including historical nonfiction narratives, current events and political books, as well books on health and self-help topics by television personalities.

Exploring topics, subtopic, and sub-sub topics

A more practical alternative, when writing and publishing a book to drive your business and build your personal brand, is to identify the specific topics where your book could become a bestselling book.

As you can see by clicking the illustration to the left, it’s possible to drill down from broad-based topics like Business & Investing through  Small Business & Entrepreneurship, to specific subtopics and strategies where your book could become an Amazon’s Top 100 sellers in that category.

As you’ll see when you explore the subtopics and sub-subtopics, the competition differs from one sub-subtopic to another. In some categories, there may not even be 100 titles listed, greatly enhancing your book’s ability to attain Top 100 placement in the category!

So, avoid being mislead by a book’s overall sales rank on Amazon. Instead, pay attention to existing competition in the specific categories and sub-subtopics where your book is likely to be located. These are your true competition, and the lower the number of competing books, the higher the chances your book will become a Top 100 bestselling book on

You may know that a Top 100 Amazon bestseller refers to your book in a specific category, but prospect book buyers visiting your book’s sales page on Amazon are unlikely to be as savvy, meaning they’ll be very impressed by your book’s sales rank.

To learn more about Amazon’s book categories

To learn more about exploring’s topics, subtopics, and sub-sub topics, watch the recording of my recent webinar with Jay Boyer discussing book marketing & self-publishing on

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