Hey What's Going on with My Book's Amazon Sales Ranking?
Updated: Apr 26
Have you ever done a search for your book on Amazon and noticed that the book did not automatically show up in the search results? Have you ever noticed that someone purchased a copy or read several pages, but your sales rank on Amazon never changed or just kept creeping higher or lower depending on your viewpoint?
Well, I did, and I reached out to Amazon support, and of course, I got no help. Their answer “Sales Ranking doesn’t really matter when it comes to someone viewing your book.” Yeah right. We all know that ranking matters. It matters in every aspect of life. If you start a new job and they have seniority protocols in place, then ranking matters. If you are an Olympic athlete, then ranking matters.
So, I put aside Amazon’s generic answer to my question and went to look for help via the internet. And guess what? I couldn’t find one. It seems no one else was concerned with the sales ranking of their books on Amazon but me. For a minute, I considered taking Amazon’s advice and forgetting about it because if no one else was concerned, maybe Amazon was right. But yeah, that wasn’t going to work for me.
In my opinion, I have written a damn good book, and I want people to find it. In fact, someone read the whole book a few days after its release, but for some reason, my ranking stayed the same.
That’s when I started considering what I could do on my end. I thought about things that I may have done recently that could have affected why my sales ranking was not lowering. After a few hours of letting it sit for a while, a light bulb went off. I had made a few changes in my manuscript and uploaded it to Amazon the day before. Maybe that had something to do with it. And if it did, perhaps that affected the algorithms in some way or threw off where my book actually stood in Amazon’s system. Heck, I don’t know how this stuff works, but anything is possible. Right?
So, I decided to unpublish my book and went through all the save and continue pages, and republished it. And guess what? Within an hour, my sales ranking dropped from over 700,000 down or up, in sales ranking to into the 300,000s.
So, I was right. Making changes in my book without unpublishing it, somehow threw things off. And by unpublishing and republishing the book, it sets them right. Unfortunately, this only works for kindle reads (if you aren’t giving the book away for free). If someone purchased your book on Amazon, unpublishing and republishing it will not fix your book's sales ranking after the fact.
I also found something interesting a month ago. I set my book up for the free book promotion and noticed that although people were getting copies, my sales ranking was not rising. Again, I thought about if I had made any recent changes to the manuscript, and I had not. I then remembered that I had made recent updates to the book's paperback version and considered if that may be affecting anything. I unpublished the paperback version of the book and republished it, and my sales ranking rose from over 800,000 to 15,000 in the Free Kindle reads section, which means that any changes can affect every version of your book.
One thing to consider when publishing and republishing your book, depending on the changes you are making, it may take a while before your book is able to be viewed again on Amazon. If you are making changes to the book description, keywords, or category, it can take from a few minutes to up to an hour for your book to return to Amazon’s website. However, if you upload a new manuscript or book cover, it could take up to several hours or even a day. This is something you may want to consider.