lists put out by publications that show which books have sold a whole lot of copies
How does a book get on a list like the New York Times bestseller list?
Nobody knows exactly. The New York Times has said that its formula for determining which books go on their list is a trade secret and that they don’t want to give out info that would let people game the system. But basically, you need to sell several thousand copies of a book in a one-week span. And that book needs to be sold by stores that report sales to the New York Times. But whether your book makes the list also depends on a few other mysterious factors that are beyond me. Note that bestseller lists only list books that sell a lot within one week; they do not necessarily list which books sell best over time. Which means that your book could sell more copies over time than a book that is a bestseller for only one week, even if your book doesn’t hit a bestseller list. I suppose you can take comfort in that if you try really hard.
When are bestseller lists posted?
You can find them online on the Wednesday of any given week. The New York Times has a list specifically for YA hardcover and children’s hardcover, as well as YA ebooks and children’s ebooks, which means your book won’t have to compete with adult bestsellers.
My book is the number one seller in a specific category on Amazon (like “Books About Teens With Pet Turtles”). Can I call it a bestseller?
No. But that’s still pretty cool. Yay for you.