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What Qualifies as a “Best Selling” Author?


Becoming a published author is a dream for many writers. But not all published authors can claim the title of "bestselling author." The phrase "bestselling author" is often used to describe writers who have achieved significant sales numbers for their books. However, what exactly does it mean to be a "bestselling author?" Let's delve into the topic and find out.

What Qualifies as Best Selling Author?

A "bestselling author" is someone who has sold a large number of books, enough to make a significant impact on the sales charts. It's important to note that the definition of "bestselling" can vary depending on who you ask. For some, a "bestselling" book is one that has sold at least 5,000 copies. For others, a book must sell over 100,000 copies to be considered a bestseller. Ratings company Nielsen provide a ranked list of bestselling books on a weekly basis. These reports form the basis of The New York Times Best Seller list in the US and the Sunday Times Best Seller list in the UK, two of the most well-known bestseller lists, which use a combination of sales figures provided by Nielsen and other criteria to determine which books make the lists.

It's worth noting that the term "bestselling author" can also refer to an author who has had multiple books hit the bestseller list, or an author whose book has stayed on the bestseller list for an extended period. The length of time a book stays on the bestseller list can vary, but typically a book will only remain on the list for a few weeks or months.

How Do You Become a Best Selling Author?

Achieving bestseller status is no easy feat. It requires a combination of factors, including a well-written book, a strong marketing campaign, and healthy bit of luck. Many bestselling authors have a loyal fanbase that helps to drive sales and pre-orders, while others have benefited from viral marketing campaigns or media attention.

It's also important to note that not all authors aspire to be bestsellers. Some writers are more concerned with critical acclaim or writing for a specific niche audience. Each author has their own goals and expectations for their writing career, and becoming a bestseller is just one of many possible achievements.


In conclusion, being a "bestselling author" means having significant sales figures for a book or books. However, the definition of "bestselling" can vary depending on who you ask. Achieving bestseller status requires a combination of factors, including a well-written book, strong marketing, and a bit of luck. While becoming a bestseller is a significant achievement, it's worth remembering that not all authors aspire to this goal, and each writer has their own definition of success.


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