I can make you an Amazon !!!BestSeller!!!” (definition confusion)

Two different “experts in Amazon marketing” have contacted me over the past few months. Their promise was the same: they could make me and/or my book an Amazon !!!BestSeller!!!.

One fellow said he’d need at least six weeks lead time, the other five days. The former charged only 12k$US, the other 6k$US.

And because I’m an evil prick bastard, I asked for the titles of the books they’d worked their magic on and the names of the authors of these books.

The first gent gave me three pages of recommendations.

Which only contained three books.

The last two pages were for the same book which had multiple contributors.

And proving I don’t understand things, I checked the Amazon numbers.

WTF?
None of the books were bestsellers. At least not by my definition of bestseller.

Noun: bestseller
1. A book that has had a large and rapid sale.

 
But no, no, no, Joseph! That’s not the correct definition of an Amazon BestSeller!

No, no, no!

An Amazon Bestseller merely means it reached “bestseller” status on Amazon.

And it doesn’t have to stay there.

One hour is enough.

And don’t worry about being in a recognizable, easily identifiable category!

Ohhh no, no, no!

And the book can be for free!

Because it doesn’t matter if you make money!

Only that you hit that #1 spot!

Because…
Evidently there’s a lot of…individuals…who are thrilled to boast on their bookcover they had an Amazon BestSeller. Doesn’t matter how many books they actually sold. Or how obscure the category. Or if there’s competition for the #1 spot or not.

So long as they can boast about being an Amazon #1 BestSeller!

Sad, me thinks. I thought being a bestseller meant lots and lots and LOTS of people purchased a copy and genuinely liked it.

Idiot Moi!

Examples
The first fellow’s titles, when I looked them up, were far from in the bestseller leagues and lightyears away from the top 100 sellers…in any category.

And category is the key.

I realize now that often these book marketers create a category in which there’s no competition (or find a category with little to no competition) and promote your book there.

One of the second fellow’s titles was yep, a bestseller.

In a category in which only one other book existed.

And both were free.

Most of these books don’t survive bestsellerhood much longer than a few hours.

Just long enough for the book marketer to take a page snapshot of the “BestSeller” emblem so you can show it off.

And just think! For only 6-12K$US!

For bragging rights!

I’m sorry.

It must be exhausting for people to support an ego like that.

Or perhaps I’m wa-a-ay off base?
Having been in marketing for many years, I suddenly realize what’s actually being purchased for 6-12k$US!

Yes, these people are amazing salespeople and marketers!

They’ve managed to convince lots of people (according to their claims of satisfied customers) that getting a #1 spot on an obscure Amazon category where there’s no real competition for one hour or less means they and/or their book is a bestseller!

That’s what they’re selling!

(Idiot moi!)^2

Oh, and by the way…
Just so we’re all clear on what my bottomline is, none of these authors made back their investment with book sales. After market – classes, lectures, speaking gigs, … – I don’t know.

But in sales?

Definitely not!