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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ran an Ad yesterday on a book of mine which has been #1 in many sub-genres, claiming the book was a #1 bestseller, which is demonstrably has been. Amazon suspended the ad and told me not to make unsubstantiated claims and that a "third party source" would be required to substantiate it.

I wrote the book, uploaded it to Amazon and hit #1. That's the fact. and I have screenshots to prove it. Now, it appears, in yet another move against Indies, only professionally published writers can claim their #1 status, because they will have access to third party sources like newspapers, publishers, pro reviewers etc.

This is almost as bad as Amazon letting professionally published authors in Kindle Unlimited while simultaneously selling wide on other platforms while denying that privilege to indies. Why do Amazon work so hard to crush indies?
 

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I think its just one of their rules for ads. I don't think it affects your blurb where, I feel sure you would be able to make that claim. I have 'bestseller' in one of my blurbs anyway and have never had a problem with it - it is a bestseller by the way.
 

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I've never thought to advertise an Amazon #1 category bestseller. Here's what I dug up from TOS:
"Claims, awards, or accolades must be substantiated on the product detail page or in the ad with the source and date of the designation. For example, a claim such as 鈥淏est Seller in the US鈥 in the headline would require 鈥淏est Seller in the US, NY Times, March 2020鈥 on the product detail page or in the ad and must be no older than 18 months."

If it's an Amazon category, did you specify the category #1 genre and date? And is mentioning Amazon categories allowed at all on AMS??? Or do they only allow USA Today, WSJ, NYT?
{edit for clarity
 

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The issue is claiming #1 bestseller because a statement like that implies #1 overall, which can be misleading. I've seen plenty of authors specify #1 in a subcategory on their product page, which is more specific. I don't think this is an instance of Amazon discrimination against indies.

As to the last part of your comment, Amazon isn't trying to crush indies. They've given authors a platform they didn't have before. That's not to say I don't have my issues with how they run the store and their policies, but I wouldn't be a full-time indie author without Amazon as part of my platform.
 

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although I don't think that amazon is actively doing anything to discriminate against indie authors, they are certainly becoming more discriminatory in favor of the more established authors... and this includes both traditionally published as well as the more established indie authors, making the whole path to success just that little bit harder for anyone starting out now...
 

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although I don't think that amazon is actively doing anything to discriminate against indie authors, they are certainly becoming more discriminatory in favor of the more established authors... and this includes both traditionally published as well as the more established indie authors, making the whole path to success just that little bit harder for anyone starting out now...
Yeah, they've pretty much been on that trend for years. They built up the popularity of ebooks in general on the backs of indies, all the while enticing the bigger publishers. When it became obvious that ebooks would be a significant source of income for publishers without killing their main print revenue streams, Amazon began giving them better deals to sweeten the pot, leaving the indies behind.
 

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Yeah, they've pretty much been on that trend for years. They built up the popularity of ebooks in general on the backs of indies, all the while enticing the bigger publishers. When it became obvious that ebooks would be a significant source of income for publishers without killing their main print revenue streams, Amazon began giving them better deals to sweeten the pot, leaving the indies behind.
i don't think it is as much a case of leaving the indies behind as it is a case of taking them for granted because they know that options for indie authors, especially those who are just starting out, are limited. and then there is also the whole basket of advices which so many people have been following blindly that they've hit the point of diminishing returns years ago... but only for these authors themselves while it is business is as good as it has ever been for places like Zon
 

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Back when The Spaceship Next Door was being reprinted, the publisher asked me what I meant when I said it was a "bestseller". I told them that for about 26 hours it was #1 overall on Audible (not in its category: overall for the entire store) which is no mean feat. But they said that's not enough to call it a bestseller in their promotion of the book, and honestly? I agreed with them.

I don't think anyone in the publishing industry as a whole equates "#1 in a category on Amazon" with being a bestseller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
although I don't think that amazon is actively doing anything to discriminate against indie authors, they are certainly becoming more discriminatory in favor of the more established authors... and this includes both traditionally published as well as the more established indie authors, making the whole path to success just that little bit harder for anyone starting out now...
Many thanks to all replies. As someone who has been self-publishing on Amazon for a decade now, I can say it got harder around 2015 and substantially harder after about 2017/2018. I saw a lot of stables come on then and use colossal ad budgets to soak up massive amounts of carousel space, etc. Amazon, of course, is not a thing with a heartbeat or a conscience. It is a money-making machine that cares only about how to increase profit. If that means shafting indies in favour of the Big 5, then so be it. There are ways to fight back, but we're talking Viet Cong tactics, circa 1967. as we get smaller and smaller and the stables and pros get bigger and bigger. I disagree with the sceptics on #1 status. If your book has achieved #1 in genre, then readers of that genre have put it there, and other readers of the genre might be interested to know it was #1. It's a #1 bestseller in genre, factually, and indies need all the ammo they can get. Bigger names do far worse, as was discussed at length on this forum a year ago.
 

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Many thanks to all replies. As someone who has been self-publishing on Amazon for a decade now, I can say it got harder around 2015 and substantially harder after about 2017/2018. I saw a lot of stables come on then and use colossal ad budgets to soak up massive amounts of carousel space, etc. Amazon, of course, is not a thing with a heartbeat or a conscience. It is a money-making machine that cares only about how to increase profit. If that means shafting indies in favour of the Big 5, then so be it. There are ways to fight back, but we're talking Viet Cong tactics, circa 1967. as we get smaller and smaller and the stables and pros get bigger and bigger. I disagree with the sceptics on #1 status. If your book has achieved #1 in genre, then readers of that genre have put it there, and other readers of the genre might be interested to know it was #1. It's a #1 bestseller in genre, factually, and indies need all the ammo they can get. Bigger names do far worse, as was discussed at length on this forum a year ago.
I totally agree about Amazon. It is a business and makes it choices based on ROI (or tries to). I disagree that Amazon targets Indies. We just haven't been significant to them. As we've become more important, they've developed ways to make us dependent on them, while controlling what we do. They don't always see the path clearly, but that's the direction.

To the main point you make about labeling your book (not being able to), while I understand your anger at the rather arbitrary nature of it, I'll admit I've never quite gotten the allure of bestseller status. I've never been inclined to buy anything, especially art, based on the fact that other people bought it. Sturgeon's Law (95% of everything is crap) applies to bestsellers as well. The most popular items in any product category are often garbage. I certainly don't care how or why other author tout that status, because it only means they made money, not that it was good. (Yes, it might make money because it is good, but the two are not the same). I'd much rather my books were referred to as "Stunning!" and "mind altering" than bestselling. Do you really believe that not being allowed to scream to the skies that your book achieved a best-in-class monetization status deprives you of something?
 

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Many thanks to all replies. As someone who has been self-publishing on Amazon for a decade now, I can say it got harder around 2015 and substantially harder after about 2017/2018. I saw a lot of stables come on then and use colossal ad budgets to soak up massive amounts of carousel space, etc. Amazon, of course, is not a thing with a heartbeat or a conscience. It is a money-making machine that cares only about how to increase profit. If that means shafting indies in favour of the Big 5, then so be it. There are ways to fight back, but we're talking Viet Cong tactics, circa 1967. as we get smaller and smaller and the stables and pros get bigger and bigger. I disagree with the sceptics on #1 status. If your book has achieved #1 in genre, then readers of that genre have put it there, and other readers of the genre might be interested to know it was #1. It's a #1 bestseller in genre, factually, and indies need all the ammo they can get. Bigger names do far worse, as was discussed at length on this forum a year ago.
FYI, the Big 5 don't exist anymore. Around November 2020 Penguin Random House bought Simon and Schuster. Now it's the Big 4.
 

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If that means shafting indies in favour of the Big 5, then so be it.
FWIW, trade authors can't advertise Amazon category "bestseller" claims either. So this particular gripe is actually level playing field.
 
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Well, really only bigger authors who have a publisher with a large marketing budget (in my view) will really ever truly get a best-selling book - as in long-running and consistent and what would be acceptable to amazon as being a best-seller. Though, really a best-seller in my mind doesn't = the best book/story...read quite a number of books from bigger name authors that can claim a best-seller...but personally barely got past the first couple of chapters....it has all to do with marketing, its more that they can get the word out further then that it's a best-seller because it blindly good (however, I have to admit some novel live up to it). However, I have had more success finding a story I really like from an indie author which I have to say is about a 50/50 chance...I've been disappointed often when buying a big-name author...I have to say that is to 20/80 ratio with 20% being the ones I finish reading.
 
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