Renovation Update and Bestsellers

We continue on with our renovation. One of the absolute gems we picked out for this house is a compass rose wooden medallion that will be placed in the antechamber floor just in front of our bedroom. Because it shows the cardinal directions, we had to make sure that North faced North.

To make that trick happen, Steve placed his compass in the center of the compass rose and then rotated the entire thing as if it were a giant compass.

Steve adjusts the compass rose

Once Steve and our contractor were certain it was placed in exactly the right place so that it could be seen from critical locations, the contractor used painter tape to outline the location he would need to cut into the new floor to place it just right. The next phases will have that medallion finished on top with some sort of polyurethane finish and then gluing it down to the floor.

Ivan, our contractor, marks the floor around the medallion using painters tape. Steve watches.

One of the absolute delights in this process has been meeting Ivan, who is the pickiest person I’ve ever met and the hardest working. Does it mean that everything is taking a little longer than we’d hoped. Yes, it does. But we are confident that everything will be done right.

Bestsellers

Image of DriveThruRPG’s Copper Bestseller Badge

Amelia’s Friends continues to outperform our fondest hopes. After winning a Silver Award from Miskatonic Playhouse, sales raced ahead giving us a Copper Bestseller badge on DriveThruRPG and the title is racing to Silver, which is the next bestseller level.

There is an interesting difference in how bestsellers are calculate in various place.

On Amazon, the bestseller status is calculated by the hour (plus one weird trick). Bestsellers can be bestsellers only in one small niche for only a short period of time (like an hour). For example, Steve’s best-selling book consistently makes bestseller status in ‘Discrimination Constitutional Law’ (Books) but only for a short period of time. My Lightning Scarred had a wonderful charmed bestseller life for a day in ‘Nordic Fantasy eBooks.’ So what happens is that authors watch the status of their books hoping it will crest and hit bestseller status.

One weird trick on Amazon is the pre-orders. Pre-orders are applied at the point the book is no longer in pre-order and can be bought directly by everyone without waiting. So if a book has 100 pre-orders accumulated over months, its first day will show 100 sales immediately. That’s why your favorite author begs you to pre-order their book. It can potentially catapult the book to bestsellerdom.

For some niches on Amazon, there are so few books published that even one or two sales will make the book a bestseller in that niche, at least for a while. That’s probably what’s going on with Steve’s book in the category of Discrimination Constitutional Law.

Amazon’s system isn’t all that different than the system used by the New York Times Bestseller list or the USA Today Bestseller lists. Both of those are taking the temperature at a certain moment in time as well. But it is a longer period than Amazon uses. And they then add editorial judgement.

With the New York Times Bestseller list it’s an even narrower funnel. Books have to sell at least 5,000 copies in a specific week. Then, they check which books are selling the most at just a few bookstores (which are not revealed) and then they use their own editorial judgement to remove certain bestsellers from the mix if they disapprove of them in some way. (They’re too genre or too naughty or not highbrow enough. Or if the author is a known genre writer and not taken seriously by the snobs at the New York Times.) Other bestseller lists in major newspapers are similarly a product of editorial judgment based on book sales during a narrow point of time.

DriveThruRPG uses a totally different system of determining bestsellers. Their bestseller status accumulates over time. Right now Amelia’s Friends is a Copper Bestseller. That means we’ve sold at least 51 copies of the supplement. The next level is Silver Bestseller, which we will achieve if we sell at least 101 copies of the book.

Surprised that the numbers to get to be a bestseller are so low? I was too. Most books and game products don’t sell many copies at all.

Only 28 percent of products on DriveThruRPG sell even as many as 51 copies. The numbers get more rarified as levels go up. At the highest level, Adamantine, only 0.13 percent of products qualify by selling more than 5000 copies for that metal designation. Here’s a great analysis of it.

Why does it matter if a product is a bestseller? It matters because products that have the bestseller mark are promoted by the platform, whether that is Amazon or DriveThrugRPG. So products that do well, continue to do well. Products that don’t sell, don’t get shown to anyone else who might be interested. One sale can make the difference for a book or game and whether it goes on to sell more copies or is dropped into the dungeon where no one can find it. Which means that people who buy books and games matter incredibly to all of us. Thank you so much to everyone who bought Amelia’s Friends! We love you.

We’re on our way to Silver and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We’ll be publishing another title in DriveThruRPG in the next couple of months. So watch for that one as well. If you love Horror gaming, watch for DriveThruRPG’s sale in October. They promise it will be a great one.

I found it absolutely fascinating when I learned how bestsellers are calculated by the various lists. I hope you found it interesting as well.

Be well, friends!

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