Everyone is intent on becoming a best-selling author, these days.
The prime best-selling status most writers are after is the recognition on Amazon that your book is a best seller in one or more categories. The way that happens is simple – you have a launch, you sell thousands of copies in a short amount of time, and Amazon rates you as a best-selling author.
Everyone walks away happy. Your readers get a great book, you get the accolade.
But what happens next? Yes, you have that status, you became a ‘best seller’ on Amazon and now you can go announce your achievement to the world.
But how many books will you sell the following week or the week after? It depends, of course. If you’re still out there marketing yourself and your books, you might sell hundreds, or thousands. But if you gladly accept your new status as a best-selling author on Amazon, and walk off into the sunset, resting on your laurels, you won’t sell any more books.
Because being a best-selling Amazon author isn’t the be-all and end-all of publishing a book. It’s pretty common. Everyone does it. Why not be a best-selling author outside of Amazon? Why not write a book that has the merit to be a best-seller by virtue of its content?
Don't just listen to me, listen to Noah Kagan:
But even if you knock your launch out of the park and manage to hit #1, the unfortunate reality is that -- for most authors -- topping the charts is a poor measure of success, and an increasingly ineffective promotional strategy.
And Zach Obront, from Scribe Media, who says,
Book marketing never really ends, but after your book launch week, the formula reverses—at least when it comes to self-publishing.
Up to and during your launch, you’re working for your book. After your launch, your book should start working for you.
Here are 5 Secrets to Becoming a True Best-Selling Author
- Tell a good story. Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, a memoir or a how-to book, people want to hear your story. They don’t want a report on your life or your business success. They want a narrative they can relate to – emotionally.
- Write well. Be a good writer. Take a course in creative writing. Learn how to tell the story. Writing books abound – I recommend Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont and On Writing by Stephen King. They’re talking about fiction writing, but all good nonfiction contains the same powerful elements fiction books contain: the 6 C’s - Context; Catalyst; Complication; Change; Consequence; and Choice. Learn how to use them.
- Hire the right people to help you. If you’re writing a book to attain best-seller status, it needs to go through a full editing process; proofreading; developmental editing; professional page layout and design; cover design. Yes, all of that is provided if you work with a traditional publisher but since that is a likely to happen as me getting struck by lightning, I am advising self-published authors today. And yes, self-published authors can become best-selling authors.
- Market your book. I don’t just mean talk it up on LinkedIn once in a while. “Hey everyone, I started writing a book. Can’t wait to tell you about it.” That’s fine, but you must be consistent and share parts of the book with your followers. You must be the loudest, most visible advocate for you book, across all social media channels and in every networking group you belong to. It’s your baby. Show it off. Don’t wait until it’s born! Give us the scoop as you write. We’ll be more engaged and excited and run to the bookstore to buy it, when you launch.
- Finish the book. That’s right. Finish the darn book! Stop procrastinating. Stop trying to get Chapter Four perfect. Stop worrying about what happens when the book comes out. I can hear you - you're fretting about who will read it, who will buy it, who might write a bad review on Amazon or elsewhere. Just stop. If you follow the first 4 points here, you'll be fine. You'll be better than fine. You'll be fantastic. The book needs to launch and it needs to launch in less than 10 years. You're not Margaret Mitchell and your book isn't competing with Gone with the Wind. Is it? If it is, go off and write a bit, and come back and tell me how it's going.
For those who want a book to help create authority in their industry, and to build community with their story, your road to best-seller status is going to be a little bumpy at times, twisty and turny at other times, but well worth it when you can say you have sold more than the average 280 books most authors sell.
Let's look at the numbers.
Maybe best-seller is a 1000 books for you. Maybe it's 3000 books. Or 5000 books. Whatever the number, the value of the book is in its ability to support your business and increase your visibility in your industry. Plus, it's a shoo-in to better (paid) speaking engagements.
A good book. A well written book, with a great cover, is best-seller worthy no matter how many copies people buy. And the only way to make that happen - to get a lot of people to buy the book - is for you to sell it to them.
Whether that's in a workshop setting or at a networking event where you're the speaker that day and you're selling books in the back of the room, or in a webinar where you're teaching the precepts you talked about in the book, and including the cost of the book in your webinar pricing, or just you giving folks a deal for Mother's Day, because you have great stories in the book about your mother. Whatever it is you do with the book after it's published, is what will determine best-seller status.
Anyone can become a best-seller on Amazon. Becoming a best-seller off of Amazon is a big deal. Why not make that your goal? Tell a good story, market it well, and use it to influence your growing business. Win-win all around.
Now, go out and write. Email me when you're ready to get serious about the results of your writing.