If you’re extremely determined to make your book a bestseller and have hundreds of thousands of dollars in disposable cash, you may be wondering if you can buy your book onto a bestsellers list. After all, if you can get your book listed on the NYT, Publisher’s Weekly, or Wallstreet Journal’s best seller’s list, you’ll get some amazing exposure and sell thousands more books. Not to mention, people will know your name and be more likely to seek out your books.

Yes, You Can Buy Yourself onto a Bestseller’s List, and It’s Been Done

In fact, it’s been done several times. All an author has to do is have hundreds of thousands of dollars available to pay a dubious firm to ensure that vast amounts of the author’s book is purchased at various retail stores. In this scenario, the author pays the firm its fee for ensuring the book makes it onto a bestseller’s list. Then, the author pays another fee so that thousands of copies of his or her book is purchased from many many different book outlets.


Books that Bought Their Way onto a Besterseller’s List

  • Mars Hill ChurchReal Marriage
  • Lani SaremHandbook for Mortals
  • Soren KaplanLeapfrogging (Although, this is debatable. WSJ reports it as possibly buying its way onto the bestseller’s list because it was only on for one week and fell off. Forbes reports that he looked into the practice of buying his way onto the bestseller’s list and opted to go a different route – ensuring that his corporate clients bought X numbers of his books prior to its release. It’s important to note that if the Forbes article is correct, Mitt Romney did a similar thing as Kaplan for his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, by requiring the venues on his book tour stops to purchase X dollars of his book.)
  • Wikipedia also has a list of authors and their books that used ResultSource.

Why Do Authors Consider Buying Their Way onto Bestseller’s Lists?

Authors with lots and lots of money to burn consider buying their way onto the lists because of the exposure, kudos and increased sales. Not to mention, they can state that their book was listed on the applicable bestseller’s list, which gives it more clout in the eyes of readers and potential book buyers.

How Do Authors Buy Their Way Onto Bestseller Lists?

For authors that can afford it, many choose a company called  ResultSource, which may or may not still be in business. Their website merely lists a contact us link, but according to sources, authors that used the service paid ResultSource between $20,000 and $25,000 for their services and between $100,000 and $200,000 for the purchasing of their books from a plethora of book outlets.

However, if you're not using ResultSource, all it takes is a ton of money and an unscrupulous book marketing firm that's willing to facilitate the purchase of your book by the thousands (between 5,000 and 10,000 in the first week of the book's release) at various retail stores around the country, which takes an incredible amount of planning, depending on what you read.  Most bestseller lists, including Amason take steps to ensure that book sales reporting is accurate while eliminating potential red flags that indicate a book may have been scandalessly purchased.  A few rules that I ran across was making sure that not more than 350 books per purchased in each state and that various payment methods were used, like multiple credit cards, online accounts and gift cards were used.  It can even be broken down further accoridng to the outlet, because you wouldn't want a small indepedent bookstore to report sales of a book in the hundreds when they don't sell 100 books a week.

Is It Morally Right to Buy Your Way onto a Bestselling List?

Most authors would say, NO! It also has the potential to cause a serious scandal. In the case of Handbook for Mortals, it did cause a scandal because at the time it made the bestseller’s list, you couldn’t purchase it from places like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Today, it is for sale on Amazon, has 192 reviews with an average star rating of 3 and has an overall sales rank of 779,541 as of 12:53pm, August 20, 2019. (Amazon updates ranking hourly), so we can assume even with the extreme scandal that this book did very well in the beginning and continues to sell several books a month.

In the case of Real Marriage, Mars Hill Church reports that they’ve sold $200,000 worth of books, so if that number is correct, we can assume that they, at least, broke even when considering the amount of money they paid ResultSource.

Should You Buy Your Way onto a Bestseller’s List?

Probably not. Considering it takes the cash equivalent of buying a new house, I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, I’d rather buy a new house in cash. This is especially true when you consider that most of the books that were bought onto the lists only stayed on the list for one week. That’s not a lot of time and amounts to having spent $28,571 a day! My recommendation if you have that kind of cash, it to take out lots and lots of high dollar Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Google and Twitter ads along with purchasing cable and local television ads, billboards and radio ads. I would think you’d get better results with a really massive marketing campaign than with purchasing your way onto a bestseller’s list.




Read More from Stacey Carroll


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Avia might be able to con a rich woman out of 50 million dollars before her vacation to Hawaii, but she's going to need some help to do it. She has to call in people she terms her "cousins," and she has to deal with the fact that she is still an alcoholic and heroin addict. With the help of Benton, can Avia actually pull off this heist and get out of town before it is too late?




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