How the NYT Bestseller list is created

I found a video this morning about how the New York Times Bestseller list is created. I’ve always wondered. I’ve been asked a thousand times.

Truth be told, I just figured “they” (“they” being people behind the publishing industry’s pearly gates) tallied up the total sales for hardcovers any given week and VOILA! NYT Bestselling.

Not so much. Take a look.

(ETA: Sorry the right side of the video is cut off. I don’t know what’s going on with Blogger, but I can’t modify the margins like normal.)

Are you shocked to hear that books sold at WalMart aren’t included into the tally? Me too. I’m also shocked to hear that only two books from each publisher are sent. Seems like there should be more under consideration especially since I’m sure trusted and true authors (like Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Stephen King) are sure-ins for the list. Where does that leave room for debut authors? Kinda feels like there’s a teeny tiny crack in there somewhere to slip through.

Whether you’re shooting for your writing goal today (mine’s 4k), or aiming to finish that book that just won’t end (I’m still 50 pages off. Heh.) or hoping to sell your first book to a major publisher (I’m still waiting on editor feedback from Enemy, Beloved) or are praying to hit the NYT Bestselling list this Sunday (under the circumstances I’d say I’m years off), at least now we all know the process to get there.

Have a great writing day!


3 thoughts on “How the NYT Bestseller list is created

  1. It's always strange to see how things actually work, as opposed to how you assume they work. I would never have thought this. Thanks for the info!

  2. Yeah, I thought the same thing. Very strange. I assumed it would be a simple sale count…assumption wrong! I just wonder what that whole "NYT Bestselling winner generator" thing is and if I could find one on ebay. 😉

  3. That was pretty interesting. I too thought that it was simply the sales of books in general. It kind of sucks that the list is pretty damn selective, but she has a point that it's the prestigiousness of the list that makes it so important.

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