Top 10 Best Sellers in Amazon Fantasy – May 9, 2016
At the moment I’m doing a bit of research around how things work on Amazon. That feels smart since it’s likely I’ll be selling my work there. It also occurred to me that there’s some value in keeping watch on the top 10 sellers in Amazon’s fantasy section. Yes, yes, I know it’s not all about the money. We do this for the love of writing, right? But it’d also be nice to eat while loving to write.
Enemy (On the Bones of Gods Book 1) – K. Eason – $4.99 – 4 Stars. Due for release on June 1, 2016, but you can get it now on Kindle First
“The Illhari Republic rests on the bones of gods, telling tales of conquest and forgetting its once-bloody devotion to its most powerful goddess. Snowdenaelikk, half-blood conjuror and smuggler, cares less about history than the silver she can win with sharp metal and sharper wits. But when the local legion blames her for burning a village, an outlander with a sense of honor intervenes, and Snow finds herself tangled in politics and an unwelcome partnership.”
Judging By Its Cover
The text is bold and gets the point across like a hammer. You can’t miss it, “Enemy K. Eason”. “Enemy” would be legible if you shrunk the image down to be read by ants. The art doesn’t really tell me much about the book, (this comes from someone who has never read it). It’s largely blue, and there’s a blue fireball over some mountains, which certainly implies fantasy. There are no people, which is fine with me. It’s neither fancy nor plain, it’s successful, I think.
The placement of this one is interesting to me because J.K. Rowling owns the rest of it. This is also a pre-order, which makes me take even a bit more notice yet.
There are 28 reviews so far. The few reviews that I read feel thoughtful and real. But not to make this an accusation, I know I could pay for “real and thoughtful reviews.” For me, they pass the human reader test.
“Secret service agent Ethan Burke arrives in Wayward Pines, Idaho, with a clear mission: locate and recover two federal agents who went missing in the bucolic town one month earlier. But within minutes of his arrival, Ethan is involved in a violent accident. He comes to in a hospital, with no ID, no cell phone, and no briefcase. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into the disappearance of his colleagues turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he get any phone calls through to his wife and son in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what is the purpose of the electrified fences surrounding the town? Are they meant to keep the residents in? Or something else out? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the world he thought he knew, from the man he thought he was, until he must face a horrifying fact—he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.”
Judging By Its Cover
The first thing that catches your eye is the guy who looks like Rod Sterling. I actually missed “Blake Crouch” the first time or two I looked it over. I was more interested in the upside down city behind Rod Sterling.
The blueish, almost cyan tones give the photo an eerie quality to it. The word “Pines” is legible, which is good. “Wayward Pines” gets lost as it shrinks down. Even the author’s name disappears. The text “One Road In, No Road Out…” is visible but illegible in smaller sizes. But that’s fine. When I look at the image in larger sizes it gives me a clear idea of what the story will be about.
Three of the five reviews I read came from reviews of a free product. Even those of the free book ranged from three to five stars. There’s also a top 100 reviewer on Amazon here, too. I have no idea if that even matters at all.
But this book feels like a thriller. These days I don’t go for over the top monster-filled horror. But the description and the cover ensure me that it’s more interesting than that. I’d read it.
“Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H’.”
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
Judging By Its Cover
There are a few nice things about this one. The color is rich, and it feels like a classic. Sometimes when you get a modern book the art feels like stock photography. Or then there’s the case of the blockbusters where they use the art from the movie on the cover. This edition is warm, and it summarizes a key point or two with minimalistic art. When I shrink it down, you can see Harry Potter in huge letters. If you’re into Harry Potter, that’s the thing you want to know. J.K. Rowling isn’t even legible when it’s in thumbnail mode. And I think that’s okay with a brand like Harry has, it’s a household name. But I think the most helpful thing they’ve done is write a “1” on the bottom of the book. I know this is where I need to start, if I’ve never read a single Harry Potter story before. So many series could benefit by including that one design detail.
Trying to explain why Harry Potter ranks in the top sellers is laughable. It’s so laughable that after this week I’ll skip over them in the weekly summaries. You don’t need two pages on why Harry Potter is still for sale in a top spot on Amazon. There are 12,014 reviews and it carries a 5 star rating. According to the details on Amazon, they released this edition on December 8, 2015. This is most-likely here because of Fantastic Beasts, And Where to Find Them and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Wow, there’s a lot of promotional summary text here. There are some grabbing notes like, “What happens when WITCHES meet VAMPIRES?” and “For fans of…” There are also mentions of how many five star reviews and book sales it has done. But the summary of the book is like this:
On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.
She is kidnapped to The Shade, a cursed island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is selected out of hundreds of girls to take up residence in the tree-top harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal prince.
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
Will she succeed? Or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?
Judging By Its Cover
It’s a book about vampires. So, I’m going to critique this one a little bit different than I would any other book. I feel like you have to allow some leniency in designing for a specific niche. There are always expectations. As someone on the outside, I most likely don’t know what they are.
For example, the most visible thing about this cover is the girl in front of the moon-lit sky. And there are bats, which isn’t surprising. But that’s the most obvious thing about this design, the photo. I know this book is supernatural, most likely vampire-focused. In thumbnail size, even the word “Vampire” blends with the red behind it. There’s just not a lot of contrast here. In other genres I’d suggest that’s a failure. But this story is about vampires. There could be an expectation in this niche to handle the text in this way. Even at expanded sizes, I can’t even read Bella Forrest’s name without effort. Whatever the text above it says gets lost. I won’t say this cover is terrible, the photo is pretty telling. But it’s not informative.
Amazon states that there are 7,158 customer reviews, and it holds a 4.3 rating. It also displayed 4 five star ratings and one two star. (Word is that it’s short, at 147 pages and some felt that it could have had more depth.) But this book had some marketing efforts behind it. It’s a Wall Street Journal Best-Seller and appeared on USA Today.
In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king’s powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne’s shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Judging By Its Cover
There’s no mistake the cover is iconic, maybe because it’s everywhere. Plus, there’s a dude with a sword, in armor. You can’t miss the genre. The author is a bit more prominent than the title, which is fine by me. Even at small sizes both are visible. It is interesting that the human disappears at the thumbnail size. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing, but it is unusual. It’s also dark, which is appropriate.
Most likely I’ll be skipping this one, too. We all know it’s going to stick around for awhile, and people will continue to buy it. But it is worth noting that this is the audio book, not the actual book or the Kindle version. I assume there was an Audible sale on it, or people just don’t have time to read the original. This listing also has “by Roy Dotrice,” who narrates the book. Either which way, it continues to sell.
“’Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.'”
When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves … But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss …”
Judging By Its Cover
When this cover was at thumbnail size, it looked like a wolf. But it follows a lot of the same critique of the Sorcerer’s Stone. This one is a bit less minimal and more like traditional cover art. It’s still classy and the purple helps it keep that feeling of sorcery.
At the time of this posting, there are 11,334 customer reviews and it has a five star rating. What writer wouldn’t love to have a series of books that all hold those stats?
“‘There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.'”
Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone … Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true.
Judging By Its Cover
I don’t want to spoil the plot of this one for you. But I will say that the green, serpentine shape is a great hint and design element. When this shrinks down the text is still legible, and even the shape stays present. It’s minimal and smart.
7,079 customer reviews at 4.5 stars. 708 pages of reviews.
“‘There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways … their magical prowess – their daring – their powers of deduction – and, of course, their ability to cope with danger.'”
The Triwizard Tournament is to be held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter – but that doesn’t stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe’en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons and Dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through – alive!
Judging By Its Cover
We have some hands, and a goblet with fire in it. That seems fitting to me. It’s almost cyan, which sets a certain kind of mystery to it. The art scales well, and so does the title.
7,195 customer reviews with 5 stars. This one is just like the others in that nobody has a serious and legitimate critique. At book 4 things often get tired. But it seems that people were even happier with this then the last.
“‘Give me Harry Potter,’ said Voldemort’s voice, ‘and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.'”
As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin – Harry must stand and face his enemy …
Judging By Its Cover
It’s green. I don’t know the story well enough to know what’s going on here. But I can say that even though the cover consists of various shades of green, it still has depth. When you get down to the thumbnail version the glasses are still visible as is the scar.
11,334 customer reviews and a solid five star rating. 2% of reviews are at 1 star, 1% at 2 stars, 3% at 3 stars, and 9% at 4. I’m not sure whether to be surprised about those numbers or amazed. On one side we have 15% of non five star ratings. That’s not only impressive it’s incredible. But then, this isn’t the first book in the series. How do you get to book 7 and go with a 1 star rating?
“‘You are sharing the Dark Lord’s thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.'”
Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort’s savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time …
Judging By The Cover
This cover matches the rest of the series, and still holds to the tone of the individual work. There’s a burning phoenix on the front, so it’s obvious. As usual, when it’s in thumbnail mode you can only read Harry Potter, nothing more. But hey, that phoenix tells you what you need to know.
This one took a dive in star power. It’s not because the 1-3 star ratings jumped up, but because the fives moved down to fours. Of the 7,768 customer reviews, 16% were 4 star, 71% five. But I’m picking on a book that holds a 4.5 star rating with seven thousand reviewers.
Those are the stats as of Monday, I’m going to take a look next week to see how things have changed. If there’s enough of a shift, I’ll make some comments. If not, this feature could be bi-weekly or monthly.