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TBD
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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists  (Read 3287 times)  

Offline EvanPickering

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So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« on: April 19, 2017, 08:48:49 PM »
Alright, I've found my caps lock button and turned it off. (for now)

Now that I just booked my first bookbub, I'm trying to decide if I should try to hit a bestseller list for USA today or NY Times.

So, for those of you who have done it, or tried it, is it worth the investment? I know this may be hard to quantify, but was it worth the extra expenditures in promos just to get that stamp of approval?

I suppose its a pretty great blurb headliner for your book.

So again I turn to you, my comrades, for advice and opinion. This is my first Boobkbub deal. Do I go for a list or just see what I can do with the featured deal by itself?

Thank you, kind citizens of Kboardia.
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Offline farrago

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 10:12:51 PM »
Alright, I've found my caps lock button and turned it off. (for now)

Now that I just booked my first bookbub, I'm trying to decide if I should try to hit a bestseller list for USA today or NY Times.

So, for those of you who have done it, or tried it, is it worth the investment? I know this may be hard to quantify, but was it worth the extra expenditures in promos just to get that stamp of approval?

I suppose its a pretty great blurb headliner for your book.

So again I turn to you, my comrades, for advice and opinion. This is my first Boobkbub deal. Do I go for a list or just see what I can do with the featured deal by itself?

FYI: To make USA Today list you need to sell not less than 20K priced units within 5 days. And then your unit may be at the bottom of the list. That's all I know from experience.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 10:24:01 PM »
Can you make a list if you're in KU? I could be wrong, but I think you have to have sales reporting from more than one retailer.

Congrats on the Bookbub!

ETA: Sorry, just saw in your other thread that you went wide recently. Both your books are showing as in KU, for me.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 10:26:29 PM by Becca Mills »

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 10:59:27 PM »
I think it is too late for the NYTs. They don't do self-published e-books anymore.

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,247112.msg3440817.html#msg3440817

Offline Annie B

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 12:00:47 AM »
NYT list isn't really possible anymore for indies.

USA Today still is, for now. You'll need likely somewhere around 7k sales this time of year between Monday and Sunday of the week you are making the run, and they can't all come from Amazon. B&N won't report unless you have at least 500 sales there but there seems to be no threshold at Kobo or iTunes/iBooks and they both report. Still, without 500+ sales at B&N, it'll be hard to hit probably.

Good luck.

Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 12:19:45 AM »
I think it is too late for the NYTs. They don't do self-published e-books anymore.

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,247112.msg3440817.html#msg3440817

Yeah, everyone knows we Indies are just stumblebums and don't publish real books. Plus, we wouldn't sell more than a few if we did.


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Offline C. Gockel

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 05:07:22 AM »
You can't make the USA Today List without being on Nook.

If you're advertising a single title, stay in KU and don't bother with the list. Frankly, speaking as someone who made the list, it's really hard. Most people don't, even with a box set and a BookBub.

Don't cry about it. You'll make so much more money with a KU BookBub just on the page reads.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 05:23:42 AM »
You can't make the USA Today List without being on Nook.

If you're advertising a single title, stay in KU and don't bother with the list. Frankly, speaking as someone who made the list, it's really hard. Most people don't, even with a box set and a BookBub.

Don't cry about it. You'll make so much more money with a KU BookBub just on the page reads.

We made the USA Today List last month with a US only BookBub and we're only on Amazon and iBooks. I didn't even know we'd made it until an agent told us. To be honest, I don't know anything about the list, or if it's really such a big deal. It got us in contact with an agent so I guess it was worthwhile.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 06:56:51 AM »
We made the USA Today List last month with a US only BookBub and we're only on Amazon and iBooks. I didn't even know we'd made it until an agent told us. To be honest, I don't know anything about the list, or if it's really such a big deal. It got us in contact with an agent so I guess it was worthwhile.
Sounds as if it might be worthwhile, but it also sounds like a long shot for most people, even with a Bookbub. I've seen lots of people report their stats, and some appear to be in the zone on Amazon. It's that 500 outside of Amazon that looks tough to make. Bookbub seems to produce a fair number of sales in other venues, but I haven't seen too many people report 500 or more in a week, even with a Bookbub.


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Offline JalexM

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 07:56:28 AM »
There's some miss information here.
To make the USA Today, you'll need at least 5500 sales and that's for the very bottom of the list. You'll also need at least one other retailer that you sell over 500 copies with or they won't report it.
It doesn't matter if it's Nook, iBooks, or Kobo, you need to sell at least 500 at one of them.
For the NYT list, it is still possible to make the list with only ebooks, but you'll need to sell at least 20,000 copies and that's only for the chance making the very very bottom of the list, so, yeah. Good luck with that one.
USA Today is still realistically possible but still hard as hell to get thanks to the retailers who aren't Amazon.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 08:09:41 AM »
Sounds as if it might be worthwhile, but it also sounds like a long shot for most people, even with a Bookbub. I've seen lots of people report their stats, and some appear to be in the zone on Amazon. It's that 500 outside of Amazon that looks tough to make. Bookbub seems to produce a fair number of sales in other venues, but I haven't seen too many people report 500 or more in a week, even with a Bookbub.

To be fair to BookBub, we've sold over 500 twice this year on iBooks thanks to their promotions. Once was with international only and again with a US only. So, I guess it can be done, but I can't speak to how often it happens.

Offline crow.bar.beer

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 08:20:38 AM »
There's some miss information here.

No, she got married. ;)

Offline CLStone

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 09:10:10 AM »
So everyone's filled in 'how to get on the list' but not a lot of peeps are sharing if it is 'worth it'.

As an author who has been on both, and I normally get the USA Today list with most of my new releases, I can say...it doesn't really affect sales numbers. Like not directly. I don't know what people would call worth it, but I don't think I've ever had a sudden influx of sales just because I hit the list. And I think that's what people sort of hope when hitting the list. That somehow it means an influx of natural readers just because you've got NYT Bestselling somewhere.

Like, I don't think anyone scouts the bestseller lists for something new to read. It is what book industry people may scout and see who made the list.

What does change a bit is only in how you kind of promote yourself, and what others perceive as an accomplishment. It's total BS because you can sort of hack and buy your way into lists if you really wanted, and most people realize it if you're in the business. Most people who are authentically in the book publishing industry know this, so it isn't like you suddenly get offers from trade publishers or movie deals just because you've gotten the title. Maybe if your book stays on the list for a couple of weeks. Or you hit it regularly, agents or someone like that might poke around and see if you'd want to work with them. (Have had agents poking around, but they always want you to write something new to sell to trade.)

I've had fellow authors who got on both lists, some through those book bundles in the day, and it hasn't done much for their careers. They bought the book on sale, but they didn't follow through with buying other books. They struggle just as much as anyone else to make a decent living at it. There are authors here who have never made the lists and do spectacularly.

Honestly, I've stopped trying to organize myself completely to hit a list. I try to make more decisions on visibility for new readers, and generating more income, not getting a title. This doesn't always coincide.

Readers are more important. Visibility is more important.

Readers don't care about the label for the most part. They'll pick up your book if it looks good and the blurb makes it sound like something they want to dive into. Whether you're flashing NYT or USA Today doesn't really matter, or it may a little bit. There's an expectation that your book is more professional, even if you are labeled as indie. And if it isn't edited, there's a slew of 'bad editing' reviews that can show up.

If you think you have a reasonable chance at hitting it, try it. Do it the once. Get the label. Utilize that for marketing for whatever it is worth. Just don't expect a life change. :)

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 09:33:26 AM »
So everyone's filled in 'how to get on the list' but not a lot of peeps are sharing if it is 'worth it'.

Can't say it set my world on fire, but it's better than a kick in the head.  :D

What wrong with an agent asking for a new manuscript rather than an existing book?

Offline CLStone

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 10:17:04 AM »
What wrong with an agent asking for a new manuscript rather than an existing book?

Nothing, really. :) When I was first approached because of USA Today things and bestseller-ness, it honestly felt like an ambulance chaser deal. She really hadn't read the books, she just wanted to sell something off of my current success. When I researched her, it seemed she signed with similar authors who shot up the lists and was coaxing them to writing something new to sell.

My schedule at the time didn't allow for me to write anything really new, as I was neck deep in sequels for the current indie stuff. It really felt weird to be writing for someone that really didn't believe in *your work*, just in your sales numbers.

And I get it. I really do. I understand why they want something new, and I get that this is the business model they are working from. At the time, I couldn't see writing something outside of my series for a couple of years so I politely declined.

Since then, I've emailed with a few agents at this point, ones that have contacted me and ones I've contacted with a few questions. Just me personally, I haven't really found one that 'matches' with me and where I'm going with stuff. Not saying I wouldn't, I just haven't found one that clicked and asking them to just do like audiobook deals or foreign market stuff... A LOT of agents don't like to pick up authors with just this in mind. Their big money is in selling that new book, so unless you're ready with something mass market acceptable, they are really leery of picking up new authors.

I've been doing the dealmaking with publishers on my own now and utilizing a contracts lawyer to ensure everything is how I want it. While I'd love to work with someone who wanted to team up to save some time and handle a few things, I don't really have the 'fear' of working without one to feel I've gotten the best deal possible. And right now, presenting something new to a trade publisher is more along the lines of treating it like a chance at better visibility in some areas, like getting paid to market myself using their stuff, rather than expecting the money to be the best.

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2017, 10:40:31 AM »
Nothing, really. :) When I was first approached because of USA Today things and bestseller-ness, it honestly felt like an ambulance chaser deal. She really hadn't read the books, she just wanted to sell something off of my current success. When I researched her, it seemed she signed with similar authors who shot up the lists and was coaxing them to writing something new to sell.

My schedule at the time didn't allow for me to write anything really new, as I was neck deep in sequels for the current indie stuff. It really felt weird to be writing for someone that really didn't believe in *your work*, just in your sales numbers.

And I get it. I really do. I understand why they want something new, and I get that this is the business model they are working from. At the time, I couldn't see writing something outside of my series for a couple of years so I politely declined.

Since then, I've emailed with a few agents at this point, ones that have contacted me and ones I've contacted with a few questions. Just me personally, I haven't really found one that 'matches' with me and where I'm going with stuff. Not saying I wouldn't, I just haven't found one that clicked and asking them to just do like audiobook deals or foreign market stuff... A LOT of agents don't like to pick up authors with just this in mind. Their big money is in selling that new book, so unless you're ready with something mass market acceptable, they are really leery of picking up new authors.

I've been doing the dealmaking with publishers on my own now and utilizing a contracts lawyer to ensure everything is how I want it. While I'd love to work with someone who wanted to team up to save some time and handle a few things, I don't really have the 'fear' of working without one to feel I've gotten the best deal possible. And right now, presenting something new to a trade publisher is more along the lines of treating it like a chance at better visibility in some areas, like getting paid to market myself using their stuff, rather than expecting the money to be the best.

Thanks for the balanced explanation.

I'm just finishing up another series so I am in a position to write something new. I've asked a friend of mine who's been an editor for 30 odd years to work on it along with beta readers and so on. I can't see a loss position doing it to be honest. If anything, I'm using this as an opportunity to work with an editor who I wouldn't have asked otherwise. I had to nag him into accepting any fee at all, even then he said whatever I was ok to pay.

I never considered agents and trad publishers, never thought I'd get that far. From what I gather, all I'll do is send him a manuscript and he'll yay or nay. Yay means he'll see if he can find a publisher, in which case I can leave it with him. Nay means it comes back to me so we can publish it.

As for the finer points of negotiation, I figure we can sort that out if/when we get there. It's just a bunch of straightforward options, and commonsense will both guide and prevail.

So, I can't see much of a problem here. We've had a few approaches by agents and publishers in the past, but I've ignored them. I almost sidestepped this one thinking it wasn't real. I'm glad the agent wrote back and we talked or I might have missed out on an interesting discussion, one I never expected to have.

But, there is a lot between here and being trad published, so I figure I'll just take one step at time and see how we get on.

As for USA Today. I'm not sure it means much other than a marketing tag and being just a little bit more visible in the industry, even if only fleetingly. If I had of blinked I would have missed it!  :P

Offline CLStone

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2017, 11:11:42 AM »
Exactly, sometimes you'll hit the right person in the industry you want to work with and take a chance with and sometimes you just don't connect. Doesn't make them a bad agent/editor/publisher or whatever, it just didn't fit.

I think we all pretty much know we'll never see the same dollars through a trade that we would see doing it indie for the same *number* of sales (mileage will vary), but I'd be willing to work with a publisher for that mutually beneficial arrangement. There's the chance of more visibility in areas you couldn't reach before and 'less work' for that effort, and publishers get to earn part of the royalties for the few years it stays with them. And if I write a book they don't really want, I publish it myself and make more money. :D

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2017, 11:20:59 AM »
Exactly, sometimes you'll hit the right person in the industry you want to work with and take a chance with and sometimes you just don't connect. Doesn't make them a bad agent/editor/publisher or whatever, it just didn't fit.

I think we all pretty much know we'll never see the same dollars through a trade that we would see doing it indie for the same *number* of sales (mileage will vary), but I'd be willing to work with a publisher for that mutually beneficial arrangement. There's the chance of more visibility in areas you couldn't reach before and 'less work' for that effort, and publishers get to earn part of the royalties for the few years it stays with them. And if I write a book they don't really want, I publish it myself and make more money. :D

When it comes to trad publishers I'm more curious than anything else. I just want to see what happens if we get a book published that way. The agent we're talking to works with the big houses so I'm not holding my breath, but it'd be an interesting ride if he got us a deal.

Then we'll know if it does increase visibility, give us access to a wider audience, and all of the other good stuff. Even if it doesn't it's still worth the trip just to learn. But, as you say, indie publishing is fine too. I mean, it's hard work, but what isn't? I find writing a funny sort of hard work. I edited for 14 hours straight yesterday and barely noticed myself doing it. You're either into or you're not. If you are then the hard work is neither here nor there because you barely notice you're doing it.

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2017, 11:33:22 AM »
NYT list isn't really possible anymore for indies.

USA Today still is, for now. You'll need likely somewhere around 7k sales this time of year between Monday and Sunday of the week you are making the run, and they can't all come from Amazon. B&N won't report unless you have at least 500 sales there but there seems to be no threshold at Kobo or iTunes/iBooks and they both report. Still, without 500+ sales at B&N, it'll be hard to hit probably.

Good luck.

Pretty much nails the requirements. As noted, the time of year matters for the threshold you will have to beat.
Just getting a Bookbub usually isn't enough. You will probably need to do some pretty serious promotion during your BB week.

Is it worth it?
There are two measurements of that. One is the feeling you get from being on "a list." That one is up for debate. Some people claim it is meaningless, others see it as a badge of legitimacy. If it is one of your goals as a writer, then go for it!

The other reason is pure business. A bestseller badge is one more form of social proof. BB says they see a definite increase in clicks on books from bestselling authors vs. those that don't mention it. (They run split tests, and have a huge sample size to work with.) They also take it into account when choosing books to feature. Will you see a difference in your overall income after you hit a list? Probably not. But it might make people more receptive to your ads and future BB deals. So it certainly can't hurt!

Good luck!

Offline Crystal_

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2017, 12:37:23 PM »
I just hit USA Today and WSJ with a bundle. Was it worth it? Definitely not, given the stress involved and the way it destroyed one of my friendships. But I don't feel strongly about having letters. My only motive was easier access to BookBubs. I may include the title on future book covers or in blurbs (i.e. From USA Today Bestselling Author...), but it's not a big part of my strategy.

Will the letters make you happy? Maybe.

Will they make you money? Probably not, but they certainly won't hurt.

Offline Annie B

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2017, 01:29:52 PM »
There's some miss information here.
To make the USA Today, you'll need at least 5500 sales and that's for the very bottom of the list. You'll also need at least one other retailer that you sell over 500 copies with or they won't report it.
It doesn't matter if it's Nook, iBooks, or Kobo, you need to sell at least 500 at one of them.
For the NYT list, it is still possible to make the list with only ebooks, but you'll need to sell at least 20,000 copies and that's only for the chance making the very very bottom of the list, so, yeah. Good luck with that one.
USA Today is still realistically possible but still hard as hell to get thanks to the retailers who aren't Amazon.

This entirely depends on time of year for the USAT list. I've missed it with 8k sales, with 12k sales, and with 6k sales before. I hit it with 7k or so sales. All different times of year. This time of year is probably not too competitive, but you could always check with someone who hit last week to see where they fell and what their numbers were if you know anyone (that's the best way to know what ballpark you need). 5500 sales is borderline and many times of year wouldn't even come close.

The NYT ebook list is gone. No more. Ain't gonna happen. It's just the combined list now, and they heavily weight paperback sales and bookstores reporting. They also curate that list, it isn't actually entirely based on sales. I've known people who had more than enough sales to get onto it who were blocked from it (probably because they don't want a bunch of ebook only bundle stuff on there or a glut of SF or whatever, most likely).  Aiming for NYT these days is likely futile and not worth it unless you really think you'll hit tens of thousands of sales and not be curated off the list mysteriously.

Also, the USAT list has 150 slots. The NYT combined list has 15. There's a reason one is easier (though not easy) to hit than the other.

If your book is in KU, it won't make any lists. But you'll likely make more money from increased reads etc. :)

Offline JalexM

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2017, 02:05:57 PM »
This entirely depends on time of year for the USAT list. I've missed it with 8k sales, with 12k sales, and with 6k sales before. I hit it with 7k or so sales. All different times of year. This time of year is probably not too competitive, but you could always check with someone who hit last week to see where they fell and what their numbers were if you know anyone (that's the best way to know what ballpark you need). 5500 sales is borderline and many times of year wouldn't even come close.

The NYT ebook list is gone. No more. Ain't gonna happen. It's just the combined list now, and they heavily weight paperback sales and bookstores reporting. They also curate that list, it isn't actually entirely based on sales. I've known people who had more than enough sales to get onto it who were blocked from it (probably because they don't want a bunch of ebook only bundle stuff on there or a glut of SF or whatever, most likely).  Aiming for NYT these days is likely futile and not worth it unless you really think you'll hit tens of thousands of sales and not be curated off the list mysteriously.

Also, the USAT list has 150 slots. The NYT combined list has 15. There's a reason one is easier (though not easy) to hit than the other.

If your book is in KU, it won't make any lists. But you'll likely make more money from increased reads etc. :)
True about the time of the year, summer is the best time so if he tries for it now, 6k should be enough. (I know a person who made it with 5.5k sales a few weeks ago, so that's where my statistic comes from.) Fall and Winter is a harder time to hit it.
For the NYT times I know a few people who made it with 21k sales, ebook only, a majority of the sales from Amazon, the rest were from ibook and Nook, so the new list isn't as curated as people claim.
Not worth for aiming for it though unless you were planning on not making back the thousands and thousands of marketing dollars to make it.

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2017, 05:43:30 PM »
I'll stack revenue against letters any day. It's totally lost its meaning in the last few years. If it's something you can throw money at to buy, but doesn't gain back the investment, it's a poor investment, nothing but a vanity thing. Today's readers (of which I am one) tend to gloss over the monikers, doubting that it's a good indication of the book's true entertainment value.
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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2017, 06:28:07 PM »
Why do people think you have to pay to get on these list? I mean, sure, you probably had a BookBub, but they tend to pay for themselves. Outside of that, what else do you have to pay? If you sell enough books via the BookBub ad to land on the list then you certainly made money even at 99c and 35% royalty. The BookBub's I've have broken even within 2 - 4 hours of going live. The ROI was a no brainer. Making a list was a bonus.

Offline AllyWho

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Re: So.. about those USAT/NYT lists
« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2017, 06:46:42 PM »
Why do people think you have to pay to get on these list?

There are some book promoters charging $2,000 buy in per author, for 20 authors to be in boxed sets (40k+ per boxed set) that are pretty much guaranteed to hit the USA. Used to be NYT as well, but I'm not sure if that's still happening with the changes. They get the numbers by either using the buy in to simply pay people to buy the set (eg: show your receipt for the 99 cent set and I'll send you $3-5) or thousands of copies are gifted to make the numbers. For some who really want the letters, and simply don't have the readers to do it on their own, they consider it 2k well spent to call themselves a USA/NYT bestseller for ever after. If you're a small time author with a small following and books with 6-figure ranks, then you practically have zero chance of hitting the lists on your own, these sets offer a chance that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

It depends on what your publishing goals are, some want the letters at any price, some would rather have a larger reader base.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 06:48:24 PM by AliceW »

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