7 Rocks to Being an Author of a Bestseller
What I reveal in this blog post on being an author of a bestseller is worth thousands of dollars. Granted, there are parts of this post that require more in-depth study, like how to find the right title for your book, but for the most part, these concepts are straight forward. If you were to complete just one of these seven ideas, you’d be way ahead in the game of successfully being an author of a bestseller.
In the image, you have a jar full of rocks, pebbles, and sand. Each rock, pebble, and grain of sand represents a step you can take to being a bestselling author, a full jar. Some steps take more time than others, some cost more money to do, but time and money are not a reflection of the size of the stones. Instead, the size refers to how effective each step is in reaching your goal.
It’s true that if you only put the rocks in the jar, the jar would not be completely full. There are still lots of spaces you could fill with the pebbles and the sand. But if you only have the time and money to put in 7 things, doesn’t it make sense that you should focus on the ones that are large rocks instead of the tiny pebbles? Seven pebbles won’t do much to fill that jar. (I realize the picture shows 5 rocks instead of 7, but pretend there are 7.)
The 7 Rocks
1. Make sure your book is great – Many authors think that making a great book takes time and experience. The truth is, writing a great book takes a village. As long as you have your book edited – for content, line edits, etc. – your book is bound to be great. I recommend joining a critique group. Having a group of experienced writers is an incredible, affordable, resource for making sure your book becomes great.
2. Set in place a system of accountability – If you’re anything like me, the best way to make sure you get your writing done and create realistic deadlines is to have someone or some people checking in on you. The best solution for this? Join a critique group! Yes! By finding a couple of friends of a feather to critique your work and make sure you’re focused on your writing, you can hit two stones with one bird!
3. Have connections– In the business world this is often referred to as O.P.L. or Other People’s Lists. The idea is that once you have the book available to be purchased, it’s good to be connected to people who have huge “lists” or huge communities of friends. Last year, I had the experience of having to announce my new business of helping authors. My wife and book coach Beth Barany was my connected resource. She sent out the word to everyone who received her newsletters. That was over 1,000 people! I got some great results from that. So having connections to people who will tell all their friends about your new book is very valuable.The best way to get connections? Join a critique group! If anyone has an interest in seeing you succeed, it’s them! They spent a lot of time helping you refine your writing, so I imagine they’d be happy to send a Facebook announcement to their friends about your book.Wow! You can reach three rocks towards your goal of filling the jar by simply joining a critique group! Isn’t that awesome?
4. Spread news of your book via word of mouth– I make most of my sales by people I never met telling their friends how great The Torah Codes is. If these are people I’ve never met, that begs the question “How do I make sure my readers spread the word?” It’s not enough to have a great book. The book needs to be more than a great read.
Think of it this way. If readers take a break from their work at the business lounge’s watering hole, the only news they’d share are probably the top three things on their mind. “Johnny got an A on his physics test, we bought a new car yesterday, and my brother got promoted to be the president of his company.”Is there any room to talk about a fun read? What’s she going to say? “I finished a book last night. It was fun.”So how can you get on their list of three most important things to talk about? Make sure your book evokes a powerful emotional response. It can be painful tears, it can be immense laughter, it can be severe anger, but whatever the emotion is, it needs to be strong.
I don’t consider myself great at evoking beautiful tear-jerking moments, so in The Torah Codes I included controversy. Apparently, someone who read my book kept saying, “No way! No way! NO WAY!” Now, many people who read my book are not interested in sharing the story so much as they are interested in sharing the experience with their friends. By evoking a powerful emotional response, readers will want to share the experience and you’ll get a much greater chance of people talking about your book.
5. Make your book easy to discover – To make sure people stumble upon my book, I take great care in coming up with a title. I use a whole search engine optimization technique to find the best titles for my books and my clients’ books. In general, I find words that thousands of people often search for in Google and Amazon, and I make sure those words aren’t already overused in other book titles. That way, when those thousands of people search the words on Amazon, there are only a few books with the same title so my books or my clients’ books reach near the top of the search results.
6. Demonstrate credibility– Without credibility, you might be just another self-published author and no one would think twice. I catch people’s attention by saying, “The Torah Codes is doing really well. It won an award at the Hollywood Book Festival, it’s been an Amazon bestseller since December, and it’s been getting 4 and 5-star reviews.” It’s amazing how fast the faces of the people I talk to change when they hear me say that. Frequently they make a note of my book in their iPhone or on a piece of paper.
I also demonstrate that credibility in the written description of my book on Amazon. Instead of giving just the storyline in the description, I start with its award-winning and bestselling status and mention a few top reviews. I end the description with the actual storyline.How do you create credibility? Before you publish, have people review your book. If they’re only giving you 2 and 3-star reviews, go back to the critique group and rework your book. If you’re getting 4 and 5-star reviews, you’re in good shape.
Next put your book in contests. The smaller the contest, the higher the chances are of getting first place. Even if you just get honorable mention (as mine was), your book will officially be an award-winning book.
Another aspect of credibility is presentation. If your book cover doesn’t look professional and if your website or Amazon sales page doesn’t look professional, people will be reluctant to buy your book. How many books have you bought from Amazon that didn’t have the cover image on the sales page visible, and all you saw instead was the standard “No image available” sign?
Side note: When you publish your book, make sure you list it in obscure categories. The more obscure the category, the fewer books you have to compete with to get higher rankings on Amazon. In the UK, I sold two books in one day and my book became #6 in the Torah category. The US was more challenging. I sell about 25 books regularly every day to get in the top ten of the Jewish fiction category.
7. Have your book sales be financially sustainable– This is not a requirement to becoming a bestselling author, but if you want to have a career as an author, it’s important that your finances are covered by your book sales. The best way to do this is to have a series of books. That way, when people read your first book in the series, they’ll want to buy all your other books. By simply having two books out that are in a series, you’ll double your book sales income.My friend Bella Andre is doing quite well. She made over a million dollars last year from her book sales. This is her set up: She has about 15 ebooks out at $4.99 each (that’s about $3.50 profit). She also has her best book available for free on Amazon. People discover her free book and, if they read it, they buy her fifteen other books. That’s $52.50 from each reader. I currently make under $3 from each reader. Do you get it? More books, more money.
But wait! There’s more! Not only do you double the sales with two books instead of one, but you double the visibility, as well. You might have twice as many people discovering your books because there are two books to find. So if twice as many people discover your books, you have double the readership at double the sales per reader. That’s four times as much profit as you get with one book!
Write well, write often, and publish often.
If you follow these steps, these rocks, you’ll be so far ahead of most writers, it’s ridiculous.
Book marketing mentor, Ezra Barany is the author of the award-winning bestseller, The Torah Codes. Contact Ezra now to begin the conversation on how he can help you. You can connect with Ezra via Facebook, Twitter, contact him through this blog, or by email: EZRA at THETORAHCODES dot COM.