Monday, October 22, 2007

NY Times Bestseller Lists: More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

Clark Hoyt has written an article for The New York Times that will give you more information about their Bestseller Lists than you’ve heard before. Some you probably already knew, especially if you read my blog post of September 18th this year. Like, there’s not one NY Times Bestselling List. There are actually 13.

Hoyt admits that the list “is not a completely accurate barometer of what the reading public is buying, and it has generated controversy from time to time.” He also says what every writer knows is the truth: “Making the list can be huge.” And “Not making the list, or falling off — some books last only a week — can be devastating.”

Why is making the list so important to authors? Money. “Alan Sorensen, an associate professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, who has studied the list’s impact on sales, said that if a first-time author makes the list, the book will sell 57 percent more copies than it would have otherwise.” Sorensen said the list is less helpful to established writers, but topping the list is important to them as well. “Michael Korda, the former editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, said some authors’ contracts call for bonuses as high as $100,000 for hitting No. 1 on the Times list.”

It’s quite an interesting article, so take time to read the whole thing.

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