I've seen some people going "Oh, no, I pre-ordered! I'm sorry!" and variants on this theme. I want to state, for the record, that pre-orders are awesome. Pre-orders are the rainbow sprinkles on the delicious sundae of a new book: not always necessary, but always an improvement. Pre-orders tell bookstores that there is a demand for something, and can increase initial on-shelf orders. They also tell publishers how many copies of a physical book are likely to be needed. Pre-orders rule.
The issue here is not pre-orders: it's that some retailers started releasing books early. Normally, your pre-orders do count against week one sales, because normally, that's when the pre-orders are charged and delivered. In this case, due to no fault of my publisher or anyone who ordered a copy ahead of release, those pre-orders will be counted two weeks ahead of week one. My sales for week -2 are going to be awesome!
Calculating bestseller lists.
I want to say this plainly: all sales count. Period. If you buy a book, your sale is counted. That said, not all sales count for purposes of making bestseller lists, because those lists are snapshots of certain measures of time. In the case of the NYT list, it's calculated on a weekly basis, and a new book's best shot (not only, but best) of making the list is week one, when all the pre-orders are delivered and all the bookstores have the book on their "new releases" shelf.
Not making this list doesn't mean your book is a failure. I'm pretty sure Feed is my best, steadiest selling book, but it didn't make the NYT. It's simply continued to sell, week after week, and that demonstrates good long-term health for both book and author. But that's long-term. In the short-term, making the list is a good way for publishers to know that they have something worth holding onto. That's why authors hope to make it; because they want that position of "see? People like me" to support them when they try to sell the sequel.
Early sales are still counted against your overall "my book sold this many copies." They just don't count against snapshots of release week.
My publisher is awesome.
My publisher rules. They did not release my book early; some online retailers did that. They are not dropping me if I don't make any bestseller lists; they've already bought the second InCryptid book, and the next two Toby books. I worry about my sales partially because I want my publisher to be happy with me, and partially because I want to be able to sell them the next three books in both my series, but also because I love them and want them to benefit from everything they've done for me.
To recap: DAW rules, DAW did nothing wrong, DAW is standing with me, DAW is very annoyed about people calling me names.
You are awesome.
All the support and kind words have been just amazing. Thank you so, so much. I really appreciate it.
I feel a little better because you're here.