What the term "Best Selling" means to me

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If you've been active on social media for just about any length of time, you've seen, met, and interacted with scores of "best selling authors." I'm not quite sure what that term means ... and my suspicion is neither does anyone else. So, I would love your opinion. Simply leave a comment on the post.

One common definition would be someone who has been on a "best selling" list, be it New York Times, USA Today, or Amazon. When you add Amazon to that list, things begin to break down because they have "free" lists. In my opinion, giving away a ton of books because you have an awesome marketing strategy during a free period does not make you a best selling author.

But I applaud you for your efforts, though.

Now, go out and sell some books.

For me, a better definition would be "an author who sells better than most." Of course, even with that definition you would get into trouble because your definition of most would most likely be different than mine.

However, using that simple definition, I can state an opinion with some force: most of the authors that label themselves as "best selling" probably don't sell better than most other authors. They probably made a best selling list for a brief time (perhaps even the briefest of times) and use the label as such.

Our time travel anthology made a best selling list and stayed there for more than a day, but I don't call it best selling.


Because it doesn't sell better than most other books in its category ... and never really did. Except for a few select hours. And to me that's not enough to use that label.

What do you think? What does the term "best selling" mean to you, and when do you use it or would use it?