As a full-time true crime writer, how do I measure the success of a book, or a particular author? Amazon’s true crime categories are a great place to look at who’s who and what’s hot.

In Hoaxes and Deceptions, the heads of state in true crime are all there listed and updated hourly according to popularity. Imperfect Justice, Jeff Ashton’s book on Casey Anthony has been riding high of late, even visiting the #1 spot a few times this year. Ashton’s book has been reviewed over 600 times.

Frank Abagnale’s famous story Catch Me If You Can is also in the top 50 of Hoaxes and Deceptions, with over 700 reviews.

War Dogs, recently released as major motion picture by the director of The Hangover and starring Jonah Hill, is also there. So is Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Run of his Life [The People v. O.J. Simpson] and now a senior legal analyst at CNN.

Ann Rule, the grand dame of this genre, is a dominating presence with no fewer than five of her books in the top 100. Lying in Wait, ranked at #47, has over 400 reviews. Her book The Stranger Beside Me about her firsthand encounter with serial killer Ted Bundy was a breakthrough for her. That book, a #1 New York Times bestseller once upon a time, has been reviewed a staggering 1 112 times.

I’ve always measured my efforts and the popularity of my work against Ann Rule, believed by many to be the foremost crime writer in America. Her bio takes credit for creating the true crime genre as it exists today.

As an author her solid background in law enforcement and criminal justice gave her an authoritative credibility that many others lacked. Her education includes a BA in Creative Writing with minors in Psychology and Criminology. The fact that her grandfather was a Michigan sheriff didn’t hurt either.

Rule’s output was also prolific. Until her death in July 2015, she’d produced 33 books in 30 years, that’s a rate of just over 1 book per year.

So Rule has always been a great model to measure my efforts in true crime against.


As of this writing, True Crime Rocket Science has 11 books in the top 100, including TWO FACE and TWO FACE II [Chris Watts], Blood & Seawater and Night Before Christmas [Scott Peterson], Treachery and Treachery II [Casey Anthony],  and The Craven Silence, The Day After Christmas  and Black Star Over Bethlehem [JonBenet Ramsey].

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With True Crime Rocket Science in your Kindle, all your true crime bases are covered. Every aspect is exhaustively interrogated. With #tcrs you know you’re in good hands!

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