June 21, 2011--The Kindle Edition of Where Love Once Lived is in the top ten as rated by Amazon customers. Here's the announcement which is posted with the print edition and the Kindle edition:
#7 Top Rated in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Religious Fiction > Romance
This line only pops up for books rated in the top 100. If you click on the word Romance (not here, but on the Amazon page (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1451511817) you'll see the complete list of Top Ranked books in this category. When I first spotted this achievement last week, Where Love Once Lived was in the #8 position.
Is It a Romance Novel?
I know what you're thinking. I've said many times in this blog that the book is not REALLY a romance. The title makes it sound like one and the manuscript won first place in the romance category of a major writing contest. It has male and female protagonists with alternating points of view. It looks and feels like a romance. But romance novel publishers don't like the subplots I've included and I didn't want to delete them. My writing mentor, Bonnie Hearn Hill, has read the book and she calls it a "coming of age" inspirational novel. I like that description even though the main characters are a little older than those of most coming-of-age stories.
The reason I selected the romance category for Amazon was because it is the closest of the choices in under Religious Fiction. See if you agree. Here are the others: Biblical, Historical, Mystery, and Science Fiction & Fantasy. So, where would you put it if not romance?
What Amazon Top Rated Means
Amazon describes it as "Top Rated by Customers", and the following is taken from Amazon:
Amazon Top Rated products are identified based on factors that have been carefully chosen to help give customers the best shopping experience. Factors considered include Amazon customer review star ratings, the number of customer reviews a product has received, and the timing of those reviews. Reviews that don't meet our Community Guidelines may be excluded from consideration or subject to other corrective action.
So, it has to do with reviews and whether or not customers find the reviews useful. Of course the more stars a reviewer gives, the higher the ranking. There is also something about the timing of the reviews. I suspect this means the reviews aren't all done at once, but have grown naturally over time. I suspect, the ranking for my book just popped up now, because some minimum time period has passed.
How Many Reviews Does It Take to be Ranked?
The #1 ranked book in this category is Redeeming Love: A Novel by Francine Rivers. It has 871 reviews and 5 customer discussions. However, #5 on the list, I Called Him Dancer by my friend G. Edward Snipes, has only 14 reviews. Between Snipes and me is The Negotiator by Dee Henderson with 129 reviews.
Where Love Once Lived has only 11 reviews, with 10 being 5 star. Most of the 93 books that follow have more reviews than my book, some many more. However, my average star rating is higher than most.
Was This Review Helpful to You?
Checking the Yes button where you see Was this review helpful to you? at the end of a review seems to help move a book up in rank.
I've done pretty good at this, and I notice Eddie has also. So perhaps this helps the ranking more than we thought.
If you are interested in getting your book ranked in the top 100, the first step is to pick the right category. You are automatically assigned a category. It is posted near the bottom of Amazon's book page. Click on the category to go to a page showing the top 100 books in that category. At the top you will see the categories and your subcategory. Click on the category, in my case Religious Fiction, to see the other subcategories. On the left side of that page you'll find a list of categories and subcategories, and how many books are each. At this time there are only 15 books in the Mystery subcategory of Religious Fiction Kindles. My next book, The Vengeance Squad, will be in the mystery category, and as such, should pretty much stay on the ranked list all the time. That's mainly because some of the top writers do okay in the broader categories and don't bother with subcategories.
Changing Your Book's Category
How do you change your book's category? You have to call Amazon. I know, we're writers not talkers, but just do it. It part of the marketing process. Go to Author Central, select Contact, select My Books, select Phone and click the submit button. Changing categories is more complicated than I think it should be and it sometimes takes multiple calls. But hang in there, be nice, but persistent.
Next, if needed, get more positive reviews. Ask your friends and writing buddies. Trade reviews with each other. Send review copies of your book to bloggers. After the review is published, ask people to read it and, if they agree, click the Yes button.
Be aware of Amazon's rules regarding reviews. For details, see: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&nodeId=14279631&qid=1306352593&sr=1-1#reviewguidelines.
One way to get reviews is by joining author groups. I belong to ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), John 3:16 Marketing Network and a few others. These groups provide authors helpful information as well as support from other writers. Some members are not writers, but people who love to read and review books.
Good luck. Contact me if you have questions about the process, and let me know how this works for you.