While the month to date sales reports are down I am anxious to discover how a new title I recently released for Kindle is doing. I noticed that it now has a sales rank which leads me to believe that it's sold at least one copy. Is my conclusion correct that sales rank only appears once a title has sold and its sales can be compared to other sales?
I wrote to the DTP help (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the reply I received said in part:
"Sales ranks are updated every hour of every day around-the-clock for each of millions of items. An item's sales rank is a reflection of its entire sales history at Amazon.com. In order to keep these lists fresh, useful, and up-to-date, recent sales are weighted more heavily than sales that occurred in the distant past. Sales rank for a title fluctuates even when no copies are sold since the rank is a comparison listing with the millions of other titles in our catalog."
The part between the asteriks (his asterisks, not mine) was clearly added to a canned response.
Do sales rank exist at all on the detail page if NO sales have EVER occurred for that title? He answered it. "An item's sales rank is a reflection of its entire sales history at Amazon.com."
My newly uploaded title that had a sales rank of about 85k (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002SQKMCU) during the breakdown of month to date sales reporting has now a sales rank of 98K (meaning no more or few new sales). Another new title which sold its first copy last night has a sales rank of 35k (it did not have a rank previously - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002OHD202). I have never had a sales rank show on a book until it sold at least one copy.
The rub is that the glitch in the system has been fixed and the reports are supposed to be accurate but I still don't show sales for that title (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002SQKMCU).
Am I missing something here? Can any of you share your experiences?
As best I know, the sales rank normally won't appear until there's been at least one sale. However, you also have to keep in mind that we're all on the outside of the Amazon fishbowl trying to peer in: there is absolutely no transparency on their part about how the rankings work aside from the generic blurb you received. So, we may be right about this...or we may not. Logically, if a title hasn't had any sales, you wouldn't think it would have a sales rank because...it hasn't had any sales! But only the Amazon programmers know the truth.
rivergathering, I've found sales ranks to be pretty much all over the place. When I uploaded my first offering and it (finally) actually showed up on the site, I noticed to my surprise that it had a 10k-plus rating (that's one week after upload). The next time I checked a week or so later, in spite of relatively robust sales it was down to 69k. Next check it was 32k and change - and although my sales have remained fairly steady, today I noticed that it was back up to 14k-plus.
????? Go figure. I have no idea what this means, except that I'm assuming the whole sales rank system must be calculated via a sophisticated computer program. It must take total Kindle sales for each day, total titles listed at that moment and a long list of other stuff - then smush them all together in some formulaic method...and come up with a number. And the next day it starts all over again.
In other words, I'm pretty sure the whole thing was designed for [i]Amazon's[/i] benefit (somewhere there must be a person massaging all those numbers and cranking out digital reports) and will remain a mystery. As such I'm more or less ignoring it. If the rankings can't be explained and understood quickly and easily, of what practical use are they to us? I'll keep track of my sales from my own perspective - and maybe one day Amazon will favor us with a better system.
As far as the reports accurately showing your sales, that's a puzzler. They tell me that they update sales every day. If so, at least by 24 hours later your titles should be showing when there are sales.
I have given up trying to understand Sales rank however I have been trying to figure out what affects where a book ends up in a search result. I had a book do extremely well during Halloween. This is partially due to the fact that I was ranked second for my keyword. However my sales rank was much higher than the number one position. At one point just before Halloween my book was ranked in the mid 300's for several days. The book listed before mine was ranked in the thousands the entire time. This is the third month that I have been watching my book outsell my competition with no change in the rankings. What gives?