Damn it’s tough.
The Historical Fiction genre is one of the most competitive in all of literature, and the rankings prove that.
The #1 Historical Fiction book is currently The Empty Throne: Saxon Tales Book 8 by Bernard Cornwell. It has an overall Amazon rank of #31.
According to this helpful chart, that means the book is selling about 500 copies each day and had to sell 2,400 copies to get there.
Looking at the publication date I see that it’s January 6 of this year. That tells me that this book has sold approximately 182,400 copies.
Pretty good info to know, huh? That’s what experience in the eBook market gets you.
So…about that genre?
Yeah, it’s a real bitch to break into, and one of the main reasons for that are romance novels.
Yeah, those pernicious romance novels.
I have to say – I have a lot of respect for romance writers:
- They write quickly and publish quickly;
- They do great covers that their readers eat up;
- They keep their nose to the grindstone and build backlists to drool over;
- They have the sales to look you in the eye and say, ‘fuck off, bub.’
So I have respect for romance writers.
What I also have is a lot of frustration on how they eat up a lot of sub-genres…especially some I’d like to compete in.
We discussed all that in my post on how to rank in the Westerns Genre on Amazon.
For today, let’s break down the Historical Fiction subgenres. There are 25 of them.
Here’s what that looks like:
So, again – what I’ve done here is go to the #1 and the #20 and the #100 book for each of those subgenres.
I did this because if you can get on the Top 100 for your genre you’ll have constant visibility. That’s how I sold enough copies of Colter’s Winter this year to make it one of my bestselling books to date.
What I’d do is figure out how you can boost your book into one of those subgenres through some fancy marketing.
The trick is getting enough sales to rocket onto a harder-to-reach subgenre in that chart.
If you’re a British Historical Fiction book you’ll need to rank at #23,679, at least, just to be seen on the Top 100 chart.
Now, I know today that you can see the rank of a book up to #1,000 (for the list) or higher on those charts. The thing is, readers can only browse through the 5 pages that Amazon gives them, and this is the Top 100.
If you’re a Short Stories historical fiction book or anything under that on the chart, you have a pretty easy time. You just need about 2 sales a week to maintain that visibility.
That comes out to 104 sales a year and many authors would die to have that.
If you’re an author you probably know about rankings already.
Let’s say you’ve got a book that steadily ranks around #50,000 to #75,000.
One option is to experiment, moving your book into European, Scottish, Biographical, or even something a bit lower on the list.
That gets new eyes on your book. The trick is finding an element that your book has that appeals to that genre.
If your book is set in America but has a French character (like my book Colter’s Hell) perhaps a jaunt in the French subgenre is in order).
Bottom line – you have to rank. If you don’t rank you’re invisible and you’ll get no sales.
When you know your category and the subgenres and how to manipulate keywords on Amazon to get onto those subgenre lists, you can get continual sales that allow you the steady income you need in order to quit that day job.
Whew – that’s a lot!
You can do it. Make sure you do market research. Look at the top books in your genre…or just use the lists I’ve made.
Here they are…cheers!