What is a Bestseller, Anyway?


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As you probably know, my new book is titled Best Seller. One word (bestseller) or two words (best seller) is acceptable when you’re talking about a best-selling novel (and hyphenated is correct when it’s used as an adjective). My book is about a novel that hits The New York Times Best Seller list back in the late 1970s. And the NYT Best Seller List is considered the preeminent list in the United States. But then you have the USA Today Best Seller list. And plenty of others, including the many, many lists on Amazon.

If you list your book on Amazon and pick one of those not-so-popular niche categories, you might hit a bestseller list. You could be #98 in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense-Crime Fiction-Murder-Humorous-Lesbian Protagonists-Outer Space and call your book a best seller (yes, tongue firmly planted in cheek). Hey, I hit a bestseller list on Amazon a few months ago. My novel Bits of Broken Glass hit a category under “Gay & Lesbian” and actually reached #1 for a few days in a row, eclipsing the likes of Wally Lamb and Armistead Maupin. But I knew the deal. I had discounted the book to 99 cents. I did not place it in the ‘Gay & Lesbian’ category – Amazon did! And it was because one of my four main characters was gay, so I used ‘gay’ as one of seven allowable keywords. Amazon did all the rest. But still, I can call that book an “Amazon #1 bestseller.” I just feel as though I should put an asterisk next to it.

So does that mean if you drop the price of your e-book to a ridiculously low amount (or even give it away), you’ll hit the best seller list, too? Maybe. Is it worth it? I don’t know. The more books labeled as bestsellers, the less impact the word has. I’m aware of that. Once I returned Bits of Broken Glass to (the still ridiculously low price of) $2.99, sales dropped dramatically. Wally Lamb’s We Are Water is still at the top of the list.

 

2013 and The Books I’ve Read


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I may not have had a stellar month of reading in November (or December), but then again, I published my fourth novel, so cut me some slack! Here are the books I actually finished in 2013 (I started plenty more – some I couldn’t finish and some I’m still reading):

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  1. Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb. 1/3/2013.
  2. I Heart Ed Small by Shirley Johnson. 1/4/2013.
  3. Rule Number One by Nan Reinhardt. 1/19/2013.
  4. The Fall of the Misanthrope by Louise Wise. 2/3/2013.
  5. The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala. 2/13/2013.
  6. Christmas in Wine Country by Addison Westlake. 2/16/2013.
  7. Champagne Toast by Melissa Brown. 2/23/2013.
  8. Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. 2/23/2013.
  9. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood. 2/27/2013.
  10. A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr. 3/3/2013.
  11. Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer. 3/18/2013.
  12. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. 3/18/2013.
  13. In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister. 3/27/2013.
  14. Social Insecurity by Kate Eileen Shannon. 4/6/2013.
  15. Way Out West by Blanche Marriott. 4/13/2013.
  16. Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel. 4/14/2013.
  17. Maid for Love by Marie Force. 4/19/2013.
  18. Daydreamer by Brea Brown. 4/23/2013.
  19. Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann. 4/27/2013.
  20. Wild for You by Sophia Knightly. 4/28/2013.
  21. Eyes of the Many by Kelly Graham. 5/3/2013.
  22. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. 5/7/2013.
  23. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin. 5/11/2013.
  24. Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala. 5/20/2013.
  25. Fatty Patty by Kathleen Irene Paterka. 5/27/2013.
  26. The Secret Keeper (#1) by Brea Brown. 5/27/2013.
  27. The Karmic Connection by Libby Mercer. 5/31/2013.
  28. When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 6/2/2013.
  29. Midnight Train to Paris by Juliette Sobanet. 6/18/2013.
  30. The Gatsby Game by Anne R. Allen. 6/22/2013.
  31. Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles. 7/6/2013.
  32. The Sunset Witness by Gayle Hayes. 7/16/2013.
  33. The Secret Keeper Confined (#2) by Brea Brown. 7/20/2013.
  34. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout. 7/30/2013.
  35. The Secret Keeper Up All Night (#3) by Brea Brown. 8/9/2013.
  36. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. 8/15/2013.
  37. Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 9/8/2013.
  38. The Illegal Gardener by Sara Alexi. 9/12/2013.
  39. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. 9/13/2013.
  40. Thin Rich Bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn. 9/14/2013.
  41. Men in my Town by Keith Smith. 9/16/2013.
  42. Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach. 9/27/2013.
  43. Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 10/3/2013.
  44. For I Have Sinned by Kathleen Irene Paterka. 10/8/2013.
  45. Fifty Ways to Leave Your Husband by KC Wilder. 10/20/2013.
  46. Oxygen by Carol Cassella. 10/25/2013.
  47. Merry Chick Lit by various authors. 11/24/2013.
  48. Merry & Bright by various authors. 11/24/2013.

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My favorites from this list? In no particular order, the books that affected me most this year were:

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I don’t usually jump on the NYT best-seller bandwagon. In fact, I’d rather support indie authors, being one myself. Many of the books listed above are indie-published, and well worth your time. Read the blurb, check out some of the reviews, and find yourself some good books!

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