Sunday, April 14, 2024

What Is A New York Times Best Seller

What Is The Requirement For A Book To Be A Nyt Bestseller

New York Times Best Seller

But what does it really mean? Is it based on number of copies sold? Does the NYT actually have editors read the books and only choose ones that they enjoyed enough?

  • The number of sales needed to get on it will vary of course, but someone said about 5000+ per week here: 22 ’10 at 1:48
  • 1I found books that say #1 NYT Bestseller are generally guaranteed to be good reads. Not always the case, but I’ve found it to be a good guide.

It means that a book has been – for any length of time – on the New York Time’s Best Seller’s List. This list aggregates sales data from thousands of venues in the United States for several different genres of books. It gathers data weekly and the data is published two weeks after data gathering .

Being a New York Times best seller is not necessarily an index of quality. It is an index of “hotness.” A book is moving fast to make it onto that list. The idea behind advertising it is to help the book pick up even more steam. If a book spends several weeks on the list, this is an indication of a book that sells extremely well.

The reason that it seems like this encompasses so many books is that you hear about books that are NYT best sellers because they are being purchased, read, and talked about. The reality is that this list contains fewer books than you would think.

Why Do Authors Want To Get On The New York Times Bestseller List

Getting published in the New York Times Bestseller list is traditionally regarded as the gold standard in the publishing world. While many notable bestseller lists exist in the publishing world The Wall Street Journal bestseller list for business-themed books, for instancethe New York Times Bestseller list, published weekly since 1931, is the oldest and most prestigious list.

To that extent, getting your work published on the list is a major dealbut there are rules that bars many ridiculously great authors from ever reaching this status.

Getting published on the Times list not only raises your profile as an established author but can offer many more opportunities.

Here are some benefits of becoming an NYT Bestselling author:

  • Land future writing contracts with established printing houses
  • Broader industry recognition
  • Provide increased sales particularly if you are a lesser-known writer
  • Lend a good deal of bragging rights.

Is The New York Times Best

All of the major best-seller lists have blind spots that serve certain genres poorly, especially genres that dont flourish in the traditional trade book market: gift shop books and toy store books. In that sense, all the major best-seller lists are biased, including the New York Timess.

However, the numbers do not back up Regnerys claim that the New York Times has constructed its best-seller list to penalize conservative books. According to data provided by the New York Times, of the 137 books that have hit No. 1 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction list since 2008, 16 have come from Regnery, or about 11 percent of the list. For a publisher that doesnt belong to one of the Big Five publishing houses that dominate the industry, thats a huge number of best-sellers. And conservative authors who dont publish at Regnery, like Bill OReilly, Glenn Beck, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush, also frequently appear on the list.

And as Callum Borchers and Kevin Uhrmacher point out at the Washington Post, the Timess list is actually sometimeskinder to Regnery than the Publishers Weekly list is. DSouzas 2016 book Hillarys America made it to No. 1 on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction list but peaked at No. 2 for Publishers Weekly.

All best-seller lists are compromises and guesses and interpretations of fuzzy data, including the New York Times best-seller list. Theyre just very important, very prestigious, hotly debated compromises.

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The Amazon Best Seller List

Personally, I dont think Amazon has a bestseller list. What they do is rank the sales of their books. Even on the page that they , it says Our most popular products based on sales. Updated Hourly.

So its not really a bestseller list, its just the top 100 sellers from their site.

Why does this matter?

Well, it is an essential question if you want to call your book a bestseller. The rules for calling yourself a bestseller from any of the above outlets are clear.

What are the rules for calling your book an Amazon bestseller? Its an open question, and a lot of people abuse it.

To show how ridiculous this bestseller list status is, one of the most brilliant marketers I know, Brent Underwood, took a picture of his foot, published it as a book, and hit #1 in with it. He detailed everything here, called out the whole group of people who sell this, and its a great read. It pulls back the curtain on this nonsense status symbol.

Methodology: Pure sales, just on their platform. Updated hourly. They do seem to have an algorithm that ranks the books in a trailing sales fashion. For example, if you sell 10 books in one hour, and then none the next, you dont just fall off their list that hour. You go down some spots and keep falling, unless you start selling more books.

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How Bestseller Lists Actually Work

#1 New York Times Best


One of the most common questions we get at my publishing company, Book In A Box, is this — “How do I get my book on a bestseller list?”

Our answer — you probably don’t want to be on a bestseller list, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. We encourage our authors not to chase bestseller lists, but instead focus on their business goals for their book. This confuses them initially, but once we explain the process and tradeoffs to them, the overwhelming majority discard the bestseller dream and focus more on the business goals that are far more impactful to them.

This guide covers everything about bestseller lists — how they work, why they’re not what they seem, how they lie, why chasing them is a losing proposition, what to focus on instead, and ultimately, if you insist, how to set yourself up so your book can get on them.

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What Can Be Done Now

As authors, what can be done with this?

Yes, WSJ and NYT list = More money.

And its hard to ignore that, but we must. The only answer to this debacle is to stop worrying about hitting the major bestseller lists.

At this point, the results are so far outside of an authors direct control, that it doesnt make sense to make these lists a goal anymore.

Instead, focus on the reader.

Make your book available at the stores or websites your readers buy books from, in the formats they buy in. Make it easy to buy and easy to read.

Dont make the lists your customer. Keep the reader your customerthe people youre really writing books for.

The Complete List Of New York Times Fiction Best Sellers

Go beyond just the current list of New York Times Fiction Best Sellers to discover every bestselling book listed on the NYT Bestseller List in 2021.

Since 1931, The New York Times has been publishing a weekly list of bestselling books. Since then, becoming a New York Times bestseller has become a dream for virtually every writer.

When I first started reading adult fiction, one of the first places I went for book recommendations was the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers. I wanted to know what books were the most widely read, and start with those.

However, scrolling through the list week by week on The New York Times website is rather annoying. I just wanted all the bestselling fiction books gathered together in one place.

When I couldnt find it, I decided to create it.

Here are all the New York Times fiction bestsellers from this year. Ive got the current #1 and this weeks bestselling list, both of which you can find all over the place.

This list also compiles every book that appears on the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list in 2021 for Hardcover Fiction. Every week I update it so you can get the most accurate view of the year in one place.

Since this is a bit of a sprawling post, feel free to jump to the section that most interests you or take your time scrolling through the complete list of New York Times fiction best sellers.

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The Nyt Bestseller List Is Not A True Measure Of Bestselling Status

It may seem contradictory and still remains controversial to say but it is nonetheless true: The New York Times Bestseller list does not represent a true best-seller listthat is, when accounting for actual total sales.

Just what constitutes Bestseller status has been the decades-long battle legal, political, commercial, and otherwise betweenthe Times, various authors, and book publishers.

Like any traditional gatekeeper, the Times has its set of rules, standards, and procedures. As such, they hold the keys as to who gets inand who is left out .

It is best to think of New York Times Bestseller status as something that is subjective in nature. A book that becomes a New York Times Bestseller doesnt necessarily have to sell millions of copies, or hundreds of thousands, for that matter. While book sales do meet the subjective criteria that the Times uses, it is a specific kind of book sale that counts toward New York Times Bestseller status.

Moreover, given the explosion of online sales and the diminishing number of traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores the sales methodology behind how books are counted has influenced which books appear or do not appear on the list.

As explained in a recent article about how to become a best-selling author and how to appear on a bestseller list, its stated that the New York Times in particular, when tallying books for bestseller status, considers:

Again, the Times explains this in more detail on their site.

Why Is It Such A Big Deal For A Book To Be Named A Best

How to Get on the NYT Bestsellers List

There are multiple best-seller lists out there, and getting named to any of them is welcome for most authors, but the New York Times best-seller list is widely considered to be the most prestigious, and its certainly the most well-known.

Becoming a New York Times best-seller has a measurable effect on a books sales, especially for books by debut authors. According to a 2004 study by economics professor Alan Sorensen, appearing on the New York Timess best-seller list increased debut authors sales by 57 percent. On average, it increased sales by 13 or 14 percent.

Besides the lists effect on sales, it offers prestige. If your book appears on the New York Times list even just for a week in the last slot of the Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous category you get to call yourself a New York Times best-seller for the rest of your life. You can put that honor on the cover of all of your other books. If anyone ever insults you, you can say, Well, have you written a New York Times best-seller?

And for the rare book that manages to establish enough of a presence on various best-seller lists, a self-sustaining momentum develops. Not everyone who bought a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey expected to like what they read, but Fifty Shades became such a ubiquitous cultural force that lots of people wanted to have an opinion on it anyway. That inspired them to buy it, and that meant the book stayed on the list.

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If You Enjoyed The Lions Of Fifth Avenue Then Youll Love The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

What a great read! Perfect balance of pure gossip and Hollywood drama with a gut-wrenching love story all told from the perspective of a woman who is so flawed and so endearing. This book went somewhere that was so surprising and yet made so much sense. It turns all preconceived notions of Hollywood on their head and certainly makes you question anything you’ve read in tabloids and online. A must-read!I just re-read this for my book club almost 3.5 years after the first time . Damn, it is still an engrossing read. The audiobook was narrated by three faves: Alma Cuervo , Robin Miles , and Julia Whelan .

Kimi, Buttonwood Books and Toys

Bestseller Lists: Why Do They Matter

Its true, bestseller lists are becoming obsolete. There are plenty of books that, despite never gracing the pages of WSJ or NYT, go on to sell thousands of copies, and have a great fanbase. However, the fact remains that having a New York Times or Wall Street Journal bestseller can greatly enhance your career.

Since the publishing industry still shows great deference to these lists, finding your name on them significantly impacts the advance on your next book contract.

If youre a nonfiction author, and particularly if you write business books, bestseller lists mean more speaking gigs, higher consulting rates, higher visibility, and an enhanced reputation. They also mean more sales. If your book is a bestseller, it all of a sudden gets more copies on bookstore shelves and other promotions. Its a self-feeding system.

Bestseller lists also mean more appearances in the media. NYT bestsellers get phone calls and emails from the media. And lets face it: It matters because its pretty damn cool to be a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. But the bottom line, especially if you have anything to do with the traditional publishing industry, is this: WSJ or NYT bestseller = more money for authors, publishers and agents.

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Why Do You Want A Bestselling Book

All this being said, it does make a lot of sense for professional writers to focus on bestseller lists. It is a status marker for the writing and publishing industry, and it does help them get better deals from publishers in the future. This is all true.

The smart professional writers look at bestseller lists as a necessary evil in their industry. Get a smart long-term plan to hit the lists, work the steps, and then once they been on a few times, they ignore them. They focus instead on selling books directly to fans, which often makes them more money.

For entrepreneurs whose main revenue source is their business, and they use books as marketing tools, I can tell you this — hitting a bestseller list creates very few tangible results for your book. It doesn’t get your book much more attention. It doesn’t help sales much. It doesn’t get in front of many more clients or help your marketing.

I’m not saying it has zero effect. It can have some. Almost all of the impact of hitting a bestseller list is personal and social impact. There is not much business or sales impact, and when you measure the low impact against the high trade-offs, it’s a bad decision. This is why almost all of our authors don’t end up pursuing it.

Your Book Isnt Quite Good Enough

Award Winning Children

Hugh Howeys Dust sold more than 50,000 copies in its first week, yet only debuted at No. 7 on the NYT bestseller listeven though it far, far outsold books that were higher on the list.


Fantastic question. Apparently, the people making the decisions about which books are selling the most copies didnt think Dust was quite good enough.

This is the problem with having these decisions made by a hidden group of people who are highly selective with their data. Real numbers dont matter to them.

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How Books Get On The New York Times Bestseller

The New York Times has been publishing bestseller lists since 1931. Today, there are many competing lists both in print and online, but the ones in the Times remain influential. Getting a book onto the lists is a sign of prestige. Publishers are thrilled to plaster the words New York Times Bestseller on the covers of their books.

What does it really mean, though, to say that a book is a New York Times bestseller? The Times doesnt count every book that is sold in the country. So how do the lists really work?

Know What The Nyt List Wants

A Stanford Business School analysis done years ago concluded by saying that the majority of book buyers seem to use the Times list as a signal of whats worth reading.

Knowing what the Times regards as a bestseller is important because it provides a helpful window into this segment of the bestselling publishing world .

It helps to know what is currently passing for a New York Times Bestseller.

Simply start with the category in which you would like to be published: fiction, non-fiction. Beyond that, genre: history, political, fantasy, science-fiction. It helps too to know who the Big Players are.

The Times is known to favor the Big New York publishing houses. Who are these? What are their submission guidelines? Who are some agents known for working with them?

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Why Authors Are Better Off Not Trying For Bestseller Lists

Right now, you might be thinking, OK, even if it is all true, being a bestselling author is still a goal of mine and I want it, so Im still going to try for it.

OK, thats fine. Im not telling you it cant be a goal.

But before you decide to go for it anyway, you need to aware of two things:

  • How hard it is to do, and the tradeoffs involved
  • Why it is you are so eager to get it
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