Friday, 30 May 2014

Everyone can be a "Best Selling Author"

Having now spoken to a substantial number of people about this subject, the overwhelming consensus is:

The term "best selling" is almost completely meaningless without proper qualification.

For example, if I self-publish three novels and only one sells any copies at all, that is my "best selling novel", even if it sells a single copy ever!

The term "International Best Seller" is similarly meaningless. The best selling of my own novels (Astronomicon: Icarus), currently sells much better across the Atlantic in the US. As I don't live in the U.S., does that make it "International"?

So far I've found almost 1000 people who claim to be best-selling authors and none of those are very well-known. I always used to think of "best selling" as meaning "sells multiple thousands of copies each month", but clearly this is most unlikely to be true in every case.

I intend to continue resisting the attraction of using the phrases "best selling" or "best seller" to describe any of my books or even to describe myself. My sales are healthy and, from what I gather, I sell more books than the average indie author, but I still feel it's misleading to use the term.

Authors, if you're going to say "best seller" in your status/profile, please ensure you state how you measure that (ie top ten on Amazon). Otherwise "best selling author" means about as much as "magical word wizard" (No offence intended to the magical word wizards out there).

Authors mostly know this, but do our readers?