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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Talking to people over the past couple of days it seems that the general experience is that rankings have fallen by around 20%.

Does anyone have any idea why this would be?

Have thousands of new books suddenly been released?

Have algorithms changed somehow?

Are books in Select being promoted by Amazon more than others?

I think a poll might be useful to try and get to the bottom of why, but I don't know how to set one of those up.

 

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Book or author rankings? I haven't been tracking my book rankings, just sales, although my author ranking has improved considerably since my book ran as an ENT bargain book yesterday (and today). Based on the number of purchases, I would've expected to break the top 1000 in paid, but the best I achieved was ~1700.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Saul Tanpepper said:
Book or author rankings? I haven't been tracking my book rankings, just sales, although my author ranking has improved considerably since my book ran as an ENT bargain book yesterday (and today). Based on the number of purchases, I would've expected to break the top 1000 in paid, but the best I achieved was ~1700.
Both, but principally people have been talking about the general fall in book rankings.
 

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I'm seeing the same.

Although I'm selling the same number of books as I did before Christmas, I've gone from an average 12k to 27k for Only Human.

So unless I sell MORE copies, it's going to be a tough climb to get back to where I was.

I wonder if the thing to do would have been to increase the price of the book, if that's what Zon is pushing  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quiss said:
I'm seeing the same.

Although I'm selling the same number of books as I did before Christmas, I've gone from an average 12k to 27k for Only Human.

So unless I sell MORE copies, it's going to be a tough climb to get back to where I was.

I wonder if the thing to do would have been to increase the price of the book, if that's what Zon is pushing :)
I'm selling the same numbers too, but I've gone from 7K to 11K, so it looks like a pattern. If the change were price-skewed, then I would have benefited, as my best seller is a higher priced title ($6.99) so I don't think that can be it.
 

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It's a simple matter of huuuuuge sales volume and that volume being weighted heavily in favor of the must-have bestsellers right now because of the seasonal rush. The closer to the top of the ranks, the more competitive it's become. Nothing nefarious. Nothing connected to price. Nothing connected to whether you're in Select or not. It's all to do with the math.

Talk to anyone around who had books in the Top 100 a year or two ago. The sales volume needed to get there was dramatically less than it was two weeks ago. And the number needed two weeks ago was 20% less than is needed today. I'm betting things will settle down in a couple of weeks. But with the increase in number of buyers now, it will likely take 5-10% more sales going forward to maintain the ranks we all were at before the rush.
 

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Alondo said:
I'm selling the same numbers too, but I've gone from 7K to 11K, so it looks like a pattern. If the change were price-skewed, then I would have benefited, as my best seller is a higher priced title ($6.99) so I don't think that can be it.
I have assumed it's just that a lot more books are selling overall at the moment so it is taking more sales to maintain the same rank.

ETA: Simultaneous posting. :)

Phoenix explained it very well as usual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Phoenix Sullivan said:
It's a simple matter of huuuuuge sales volume and that volume being weighted heavily in favor of the must-have bestsellers right now because of the seasonal rush. The closer to the top of the ranks, the more competitive it's become. Nothing nefarious. Nothing connected to price. Nothing connected to whether you're in Select or not. It's all to do with the math.

Talk to anyone around who had books in the Top 100 a year or two ago. The sales volume needed to get there was dramatically less than it was two weeks ago. And the number needed two weeks ago was 20% less than is needed today. I'm betting things will settle down in a couple of weeks. But with the increase in number of buyers now, it will likely take 5-10% more sales going forward to maintain the ranks we all were at before the rush.
I'm sorry, but I just don't see this logic. If the top 100 best sellers sell 100% more books, then they remain the top 100, but that wouldn't affect my lowly rankings down in the 7000's. How come 4000 people have suddenly overtaken me? Or am I missing something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JRTomlin said:
I have assumed it's just that a lot more books are selling overall at the moment so it is taking more sales to maintain the same rank.

ETA: Simultaneous posting. :)

Phoenix explained it very well as usual.
To repeat, I don't see the logic of this at all. If the top guys are shifting huge numbers that's good for them, but that shouldn't affect me lower down the tree. They were above me to begin with and they're still above me. What's changed?
 

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I am new to the amazon self-publishing scene, but it seems to me that rankings jump many thousands of places very rapidly. I think this is partially because there is a lag time between actual book sales and ranking. In other words, if I sell a couple of copies, it doesn't affect my ranking right away, but a few hours later I might jump 70,000 places in the ranking. Maybe because the processing requirements for tracking purchases of so many books are high, and it produces a lag time.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Guy Hepp said:
I am new to the amazon self-publishing scene, but it seems to me that rankings jump many thousands of places very rapidly. I think this is partially because there is a lag time between actual book sales and ranking. In other words, if I sell a couple of copies, it doesn't affect my ranking right away, but a few hours later I might jump 70,000 places in the ranking. Maybe because the processing requirements for tracking purchases of so many books are high, and it produces a lag time.

Well, we are not talking about a few hours, but a few days. Are time lags really that slow? And why would they apply to some and not others?
 

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Alondo said:
To repeat, I don't see the logic of this at all. If the top guys are shifting huge numbers that's good for them, but that shouldn't affect me lower down the tree. They were above me to begin with and they're still above me. What's changed?
It isn't just the top 100; it affects people all the way down the list. Add in the tendency for people to pick up the novels by "name" authors first and then go looking for new authors, and there is a strong tendency for rankings to slip right after Christmas.

I don't think I can really explain it better than Pheonix did, though. This isn't a change but something I expected to see and have adjusted for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JRTomlin said:
It isn't just the top 100; it affects people all the way down the list. Add in the tendency for people to pick up the novels by "name" authors first and then go looking for new authors, and there is a strong tendency for rankings to slip right after Christmas.

I don't think I can really explain it better than Pheonix did, though. This isn't a change but something I expected to see and have adjusted for.
Well, I must be dense or something, because I just don't get it. I am down there with the "no-name" authors, so we are all in the same boat. If the top guy sells a million or a billion, he's still the top guy and my ranking doesn't change. How does it "affect people way down the list"?
 

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Alondo said:
Well, I must be dense or something, because I just don't get it. I am down there with the "no-name" authors, so we are all in the same boat. If the top guy sells a million or a billion, he's still the top guy and my ranking doesn't change. How does it "affect people way down the list"?
It takes him more sales to maintain his position. It takes you more sales to maintain your position.

So if your sales have not gone up then your position will slip. Even if they have gone up, if they haven't gone up enough, your position will still slip although less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
genevieveaclark said:
It's every known quantity out there, including non-fiction books and children's books (especially children's books), every genre list, every pop list... It's everything, and the increased volume is weighted heavily towards books that already had visibility. 7k isn't very visible, so you didn't catch the fattest part of the wave. Look at it this way: are you actually selling less books, or is it that your ranks are worse for the same sales? The entire curve has shifted.
Okay, 7K doesn't give you much visibility, but I've been overtaken by 4000 books who had LESS visibility than me. Were they all childrens' books or Christmas titles? Mathematically, a universal shift in the curve would leave EVERYONE in the same place - just selling more books (or less, depending on the shift). If I am selling the same numbers but at a lower ranking, it must be something else.
 

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Alondo said:
Okay, 7K doesn't give you much visibility, but I've been overtaken by 4000 books who had LESS visibility than me. Were they all childrens' books or Christmas titles? Mathematically, a universal shift in the curve would leave EVERYONE in the same place - just selling more books (or less, depending on the shift). If I am selling the same numbers but at a lower ranking, it must be something else.
The shift was not spread evenly. Some increased sales more than others. People went LOOKING for Stephen King or Bernard Cornwell or whoever... They got more of boost than we did, including some of their older books that were behind ours in the rankings and now are ahead.

And do the rankings make much difference if you are below the top 100? Frankly... no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
JRTomlin said:
It takes him more sales to maintain his position. It takes you more sales to maintain your position.

So if your sales have not gone up then your position will slip. Even if they have gone up, if they haven't gone up enough, your position will still slip although less.
The only way this can be true is if 4000 people who were BELOW me have suddenly started selling more. The guys above me can have no effect on my ranking. Yet, everyone I have spoken to so far is in the same boat, with their rankings having fallen dramatically. Who are this army of people who are overtaking us?
 

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Alondo said:
The only way this can be true is if 4000 people who were BELOW me have suddenly started selling more. The guys above me can have no effect on my ranking. Yet, everyone I have spoken to so far is in the same boat, with their rankings having fallen dramatically. Who are this army of people who are overtaking us?
Not 4000 people. 4000 novels. And in the scheme of publishing, that's not very many.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
JRTomlin said:
The shift was not spread evenly. Some increased sales more than others. People went LOOKING for Stephen King or Bernard Cornwell or whoever... They got more of boost than we did, including some of their older books that were behind ours in the rankings and now are ahead.

And do the rankings make much difference if you are below the top 100? Frankly... no.
Now this answer is starting to make more sense. Even so, the size of the fall, which way be an Indie phenomenon, is surprising. Are there really that many languishing Stephen King novels out there?
 

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Alondo said:
Now this answer is starting to make more sense. Even so, the size of the fall, which way be an Indie phenomenon, is surprising. Are there really that many languishing Stephen King novels out there?
When you add in not just Stephen King, but Patterson, Jane Anne Krentz, GRR Martin, Robert Jordan, Clive Cussler, Ken Follett, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, et al and think about all of their backlists, yeah it's a lot of books. It is pretty normal that new Kindle owners go looking for them first. Then the goodness starts to spread.

ETA: And whatever my rankings, I may well sell twice as many novels this month as I ever have even last January which was a month that absolutely rocked for me.
 
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