Friday, May 05, 2006
Follow-Up Questions to Bestseller List
Happy Friday, BGs (bloggees). Here are the follow-ups I promised to your questions about this topic.
1. Am I deducing correctly that NO ONE really knows which books are actually selling the best--real sales in customers' hands, regardless of where they purchased their copies? That's really an amazing thought in this era of computer data.
Well, not really. It’s typical in any kind of data-gathering that a certain percentage represents the whole, whether we’re talking Christian or secular bestseller lists, the Neilson Ratings for TV, polls and surveys, etc. It’s just the way these things work.
2. What is it with the paranoia about divulging actual sales numbers? Seems like even authors have a terrible time getting a hold of what their book is doing.
That’s because we authors are an impatient, worrisome lot, and we want to know right now. We do get sales numbers on our royalty statements—that is, the number of books the publisher shipped to bookstores, which is different from the number of books sold off the shelves. If those books don’t sell off shelves, we eventually know it because we see the returns on our next royalty statement.
3. Are secular store sales excluded from these numbers [STATS]?
Yes. Christian bookstores are not included in any secular list, such as the New York Times, or Publishers Weekly, or USA Today, or any of the other newspapers lists. Nor are secular bookstore sales included on the Christian bestseller list.
4. How is placement of a book in a secular store determined? I'd love to see your books in the "thriller-suspense" section so non-Christian readers can pick them up. Won't that increase sales too?
There are two sides to this argument. One, you’ve stated. The other is that those who do want to buy Christian fiction know where to go. This does not seem to be changing anytime soon. Thing is, in many stores, such as in Borders, Christian fiction sells well, and the bookstores therefore don’t want to “fix the system if it ain’t broke.” Apparently they don't think it would help sales to mix our books in with others.
5. And finally, regarding the question from a few days ago about the line “Bestselling Author of Violet Dawn” on the Coral Moon Cover. One BG questioned whether the marketing people were “getting ahead of themselves” in making such a statement when Violet Dawn hasn’t released yet. I asked Zondervan about this, wondering if we'd have to change the tagline if Violet Dawn didn't make the list. The reply:
"That will be the tagline no matter what. You ARE a bestselling author and you wrote Violet Dawn. I also assume it will be a bestseller. However, on the remote chance that it isn’t, we can still use the phrase. If we said 'Author of the bestselling Violet Dawn,' that would be a problem."
And that’s the scoop on all fronts. Meet ya back here Monday for some new topics.