While it’s true that many people dream of writing a book one day, few actually succeed. And more importantly, those people who do write one, find that they have just sold a dozen or so copies. So, how do you write an amazing bestseller, you may well ask.
The word bestseller has fascinated publishers and writers for over a century now. The pertinent question is, is the bestseller just an accident or is it a carefully handled marketing strategy? Maybe neither of them.
What actually is a bestseller?
There was a time when the word simply meant a book that has had a better run than others. You can safely say that Mark Twain, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens fall under this category. In the initial years, bestsellers were generally works of fiction. But slowly non-fiction, with an ever-growing genre of self-help books was also included.
Currently, the term means a work that has made it to the list of major bestsellers in publications like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.
Let us look at some tips on how to go about writing a bestseller
1) Carry a notebook with you
Once you have a notebook with you, you will get into the habit of writing down things that come to mind suddenly. It may not seem important at the time, but just pen it down. Look at life through the eyes of a writer. Don’t stress over how that bit of information is going to help later. Just note it down. Somewhere down the line, it can come in use.
2) Ask yourself; would I want to read this?
The first thought that comes to mind when you are considering writing a book is, will the book please the reader or the critic? It really isn’t easy to second guess what people will like. So what you need to do is think about what you would like to read. Try this little exercise. Go to your local bookstore. Browse through their collection and try to figure out which book you would like to reach out for. This means that the book will affect other people in much the same way. So, when you start, think about what will make you happy.
3) Here are things that you could ask yourself
• Is my topic going to find popularity? What about other books on the same topic? Are they flying off the shelves?
• Do I tell people what they need or do I give them what they want?
• Have I been able to identify my audience? Can I reach them?
• Will my audience be interested in my topic?
• Am I using a language that my readers will relate to?
Let’s face it. For your readers to appreciate your work, they must be able to connect with you through your writing.
Whether you have already written your book or you are in the process of writing, you need to tell people about your book and your writing. Obviously, you can’t stop random people on the road and inform them about your book. However, what you can do is reach out to them through your blogs, podcasts, emails, YouTube, Facebook and Linkedin.
4) Here’s how you go about it
A week before the book hits the market, build a buzz by using Facebook, emails, blogs or podcasts. This will ensure people will check out your website when you make it to the list.
Just before the launch, make use of your repurposed writing to generate excitement. Make sure to tell them to tell all their friends. Connect with them again and again.
5) Chalk out a plan that is realistic
You have written your book. Is hoping or wishing for sales really enough? No, not really. You need to have a realistic plan in place aiming at 10k pre-orders. Without these pre-orders, I’m afraid, the chances of you making it to the list of best sellers in The New York Times is a pipe dream. Here, it is important to note that The New York Times has a certain number of valid sales channels only.
This in effect means that the book you have written must be bought or ordered only from places that get back to the publication with a report of their sales. If you think you can get away with ordering 10k copies directly from your publisher, you are wrong. Bulk sales too are not counted. The books have to be purchased individually.
You may try your best to crack the code of writing a bestseller. But you must remember that making it to the bestseller list is often surprising, not only to the publisher but to the writer as well. That said, successful books do share certain traits. Zero in on these and you will have your answer.