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Amazon Ranking Obsession


Ever hear of A.R.O.? Apparently it’s the writer’s acronym for Amazon Ranking Obsession. Most book purchasers probably never even look at ISBN number, shipping weight and Product Dimensions and below that: Amazon Best Sellers Rank, but for a writer, it’s like watching the stock market go up and down with the same emotional highs and low. Amazon has about 8 million books they are selling. If Stars in the Grass is #15,212 (which it was on November 15, 2016) that means 15,211 books sold better. That was a bullish day on on the rankings.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages

  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Press (February 1, 2017)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1634099508

  • ISBN-13: 978-16340

99509 Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inchesProduct

  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (127 customer reviews) Sellers Rank: #284,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)Amazon Best

  • #402 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Small Town & Rural

  • #660 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Religious & Inspirational > Historical

  • #3512 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age

The above sample was a bear day on the market. Not one of my best days. What determines a better day? It could be when the book trailer was being pushed, when the cover first came out, the first day my friends and family could order the book. Who knows? On its supposed release date of February 1, Stars ranked 22,029. Yesterday it was 60,372 as well as the above 284,894. For reference, To Kill a Mockingbird is #86.

Amazon has a mysterious and highly secretive algorithm Amazon uses to determine rank. Emily Wenstrom from The Write Life blogs that rankings are based on sales not reviews and the sales include both recent and historical. The ranking is updated hourly for more popular books, and recent sales weigh more heavily in the rank. Sales are halved daily. In other words, if I sell ten books today and sold ten yesterday than yesterday’s sales count as five and today’s count as ten. And it takes time to make my rating number go down. If Aunt Mildred bought 100 copies an hour ago, it won’t show up immediately.

Other rankings are given for more specific categories. I’m #402 in Books/Literature/Fiction/Genre Fiction/Small Town & Rural. If there were a category for Books/Literature & Fiction/Genre Fiction/Books Narrated by nine-year-old girl named Abby who sees the world upside down after a loss, STARS might be #1.

That’s a quick look at ARO. I have a mild case of it, but am not seeking any medical treatment.

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