Amazon Sales Ranks – what the numbers really mean

Want to be a Best Seller? Let’s see what you need to achieve…

Gain sales by understanding Amazon sales ranks

Publisher Rocket

Becoming a Bestseller on Amazon is not as difficult as you might imagine – because there are now over 16,000 different categories in the Amazon books store and each one has it’s own bestseller list.

But how do we know what we need to achieve to get there?

The key is to understanding the relationship between the numbers highlighted on the image to the right.

So let’s dive in to finding out how!


How the Bestseller Ranks Relate to Each Other

What we see in the image above is how the sub-categories relate to the overall ranking on Amazon.

What it tells us is that if your book is ranked at position 387 in the overall sales ranking, it equates to the same number of sales as reaching position Number 8 in Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction. So if it takes roughly 250 sales a day to reach position 387 in the overall ranking, then equally 250 sales will take you to position Number 8 in Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction. 

Now if we click on the sub category Women’s Action & Adventure Fiction, we can find the book that is at Number 1 and establish what position we need to get to in the overall rankings to top the charts. In this case, we have to get to overall position of 32. This equates to roughly 2,000 books a day. That’s a tough target for any author and particularly a new one without the support of a huge marketing machine.


So How Do You Become a Bestseller More Easily?

The key is to find the categories that have lower daily sales targets to get to Number 1.

Let’s say your Women’s Action and Adventure story also has a financial theme to it. Then it could be listed under Financial Thrillers. If you look at the image on the right, you’ll see that to get to Number 1 in this category, you only have to get to Position Number 326 in the overall rankings – which means a target of more like 300 book sales per day rather than 2,000. Much more achievable – and if you research carefully, you’ll find categories that require more like 20 book sales per day – or even less.


Publisher Rocket


Well there’s the long way and the short, powerful way…

Here’s the long way: You can do some of the research yourself – by using the amazon navigation system you can start to build a picture of the categories tree and identify the ones that might be suitable for your books. You can also look at the authors whose works are similar to your own and analyse the categories they are using – although do remember that amazon only ever shows the top 3 for each book.

Using these methods you will start to build a picture of the best categories for you to target. Then, by assessing the relative rankings of the groups against the overall ranking (see our quick calculator below) you can work out the number of sales that you need to achive Top 10 levels.

And here’s the short, powerful way!

There’s a brilliant software tool that easy to use called PUBLISHER ROCKET. This is what we use for our authors and it’s invaluable. It was developed by Dave Jesson, who is know as The Kindlepreneur and has the blessing of Amazon themselves.

It’s update regularly and you can search for any category, keyword or author and it will give you information and stats to help you work out the best way to list your book on Amazon to give it the best chance of success.

For example, you can look up a book title that is by an author who publishes work that is similar to your own and it will show you the categories the book is listed under. Or you could search the category list for keywords that are relevant to your book  – and it will show you all the categories you could use AND the number of sales you need to achieve to get into the Top 10.

It really is a fantastic tool. Click here to check it out (this is an affiliate link but it will not cost you anything and will add a little to our coffee fund!)

We’ve used this toool a ton of times and we’re confifent it can help you both understand and use Amazon categories and keywords to your advantage. If you wantt help using it, please make sure to join our writers group on facebook.


The Steps to Get Your Books into More Categories

By default Amazon offers you the option to select 2 categories when you list a book (see our article on BISAC Categories here)

Amazon then interprets that with your book information to decide which categoires it will place you in. BUT you can add up to 7 categories by request.

The first step is to do your reasearch to establish which categories will work best and offer you improved chances of becoming a best seller. Then do the following:

STEP 1. Go to Author Central on this page link:

STEP 2. Click on AMAZON BOOK PAGE and then UPDATE AMAZON CATEGORIES. When you do, you will see the contact form below:

 STEP 3. Complete the form with your required changes.

Here’s an example. I want to add 7 categories to my book and remove 1 with the following details:



Amazon Territory: .com

Format: eBook

Current Category: Books>Literary & Fiction > Contemporary

The form would now look like the form below.


 STEP 4. Click Submit

Amazon is usually quite quick to respond and you should find your book has been recategorised within 48 hours


Want some help setting up?

If you would like us to assess your category options and prepare an email for you to submit to Amazon, order our set up package and we’ll research your book and send you an email template and instructions for you to submit.


Amazon have a sophisticated algorithm for promoting books – and when you reach the top selling positions in their bestsellers lists, it will kick in for YOU.

Doing the research and putting together a promotional plan is the way to win Amazon’s ‘heart’. The kicker is, you have to make sales first, for them to start to make sales for you.

To help you, we’ve added a simple to use table below that gives you an idea of the daily numbers you need to achieve at each level of the overall Amazon Bestseller list.


These numbers change literally every day and you have to keep on  top of your research. Don’t forget the major publishers spend a huge amount of resources to keep their authors dominating the charts.



The best way to stay in the game as an author, is to collaborate

Being an author can be a lonely profession – and sometimes it’s welcome! But there’s no getting away from the need to market your book – and then being alone can make that task very tough indeed. That’s why we’ve set up the Writers Hub.

You are stronger together – and you will be making waves rather than being upended by them.  

Amazon RankSales Per Day
6 3870
5 3950
4 4550
3 5170
1 6390
16 3248
17 3186
18 3124
19 3062
20 3000

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All well and good.

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Readers buy books by genre and author style – you see it all the time “If you love Martina Cole, you’ll love my book” – right? But Amazon has a divide and conquer policy – they split authors up and make you advertise to be found alongside your comparative writers.

With BooksOffice we line you right up alongside each other and let you boost each others sales. It’s easier for the reader and it gives you the chance to work together directly to sell your books – and it won’t cost you a penny in advertising to do it.

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In our multi-media world, readers and viewers are finding new ways to enjoy stories – and on BooksOffice we give you the chance to explore your options. AND in Writers Hub you can work together to create offers and campaigns to help you win readers and sales.

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We know how it is to spend months, maybe years, on your manuscripts – and that working alone, for most of you, is your comfort zone. So we have a unique way to make group work easy and effective. With your Team Leaders at the helm to guide you, guest specialists to advise on marketing opportunities – and a treasure chest of How To videos, this is the way to  collaborate your way to greater success with a like-minded family of authors.

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