Who is a Bestselling Author?

Lots of independent authors seem to be throwing around the term “bestselling” like it was any old adjective, which makes me wonder what a “bestselling” author really is. How many books do you need to sell to call yourself a bestseller?

It seems like many mix this up with giving away books for free. I’ve given thousands of books away for free, but wouldn’t label myself as a bestseller just because I’ve had up to 40 000 free downloads or more. Maybe I should call myself a bestgiving author?

Many independent authors use programs like Kindle Select to give away books for free to spike interest around their work and possibly climb the “bestseller” lists (there is a free bestseller list on Amazon). The idea is to get traction on the book and move it into the bestseller list for paid books. I managed to do this once for The Wake-Up Call and got more than 25 000 free and hundreds of paid downloads over a couple of days. Does this make me a bestselling author? I don’t know.


Here’s an idea that’s up for grabs. Why not have an independent organization of some kind create a “verified bestseller” stamp that you can apply for and when granted, use in your marketing. Something like this 5-minute design:

This way we would know that when someone calls him- or herself a “verified bestselling author”, we don’t need to wonder about the authenticity of that expression.

Or for simplicity’s sake, why don’t just call yourself an author?

That’s good enough for me. Good enough for most of us.

And besides, just because someone has sold a lot of books, doesn’t mean they’re any better than someone who hasn’t.

Stay writing and keep hustling, but don’t write to sell – write to tell.

Published by


Jonas: Writer. Talker. Thinker. Wine drinker. Brand builder. Tennis player. Family guy.

One thought on “Who is a Bestselling Author?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *