So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 1
Goals. We all have them. We all set them. But how many of us achieve them? Sometimes it's hard to wrap our minds around the big goals: I want to make a lot of money! or I want to go on a dream vacation to Europe! or I want to lose 50 lbs! or I want to sell thousands of books! Every author wants to be a best seller. But how do you make that happen? How do you go from from zero to best seller? Over the next few months, I'm going to be writing about goals and tackling them. I'll be interviewing best selling authors, literary agents, top editors and marketing gurus to get their insights on how authors can achieve their goals. I'll be sharing their advice in my weekly blog posts right here! I will also continue to blog about other fun stuff. But this will be my ongoing project for this blog. Note: I will "tag" these particular posts as "how to be a best-selling author" and "how to be a bestseller" along with other tags. But if you want to do a search for articles here - relating to this subject matter - type in "selling books" in the search area on the web site.
SELL! SELL! SELL!
Let's start by breaking things down. You want to sell a lot of books. But what does "a lot" mean? Well, if in your career you've only sold 500 books in total then "a lot" could mean 5,000 books in one year? So let's set that as a goal. "I want to sell 5,000 books in one year". That still seems like a big number. How do you get 5,000 people to buy your book? Let's break it down even more. 5,000 divided by 365 days is 13.6986301. Let's round that up to 14. Now, we're talking! 14 books a day. Okay, that sounds doable. So now you can visualize that. 14 books a day. That means getting 14 people to buy your book. Suddenly it doesn't seem like such a daunting task does it? Let's figure out how many books that would be per month? 14 times 30 days is 420 books. Exciting! Imagine selling 420 books a month for just one title! Okay, let's go back to 14 books a day. How do you get 14 people to buy your title? Ah, now the real work begins . . .
Let's begin today with the concept of "branding".
The American Marketing Association defines "branding" as the following:
A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.
It goes on to add the structural elements of a brand:
Brand contents, i.e. the persuasive and promotional message that consists of an idea, a message and the contents the brand conveys.
Publishers sell books. Authors sell themselves. Get used to it. You have something unique to offer - who you are is different than anyone else. And what you present to the world is going to reflect your uniqueness. (More on that in future posts). Publishers have a company "brand". They have a lot of different books to sell. You only have your books to sell. So your task is much easier than our task! :)
So how do you "brand" yourself? Again let's set up some goals. If you have the money to hire a marketing expert - that's great. But if you're like rest of us - you'll have to learn this on your own. There are a lot of books out there about branding and marketing. Why not start there? But let's do some research and create a simple check list. Google some top author names and see what makes up their presence online. Most likely you will find that most successful authors have the following: web site, blog, facebook page, twitter and then additional social networking sites. That's just for starters. (More on that in future posts). So, to start off, make a to-do list and set yourself up with all of these elements. Now, you have a list of smaller goals to get you to your bigger goal of "selling 14 books a day".
But what does that mean in terms of Jane Doe, author?
What it means is getting your potential audience to see you as the author who can give them what they want to read.
How do you do that? This is something I'm going to explore throughout this series. How do you get people to buy your books?
But for today, let's start with a few simple ideas:
Think about what you like to read. Mysteries? Romance? Horror? Anything with medieval Scottish Highlander warriors who are 6'5" with big muscles? (ahem).
Think about how you go about finding the books that you like to read. Do you like to go to a book store and hang out for a few hours perusing the shelves? Do you visit your local library and do the same thing? Do you ask librarians for their recommendations? Do you go onto book review sites such as Dear Author, Smart Bitches or RT Book Reviews? Do you pay attention to books by other authors that your favourite authors mention or write about on facebook, or twitter, or on their own blogs? Do you listen to suggestions by friends and family? Do you read book reviews in your local paper? Do you watch book trailers? Do you google "horror book authors" and then visit their sites? Do you "like" the facebook pages of the authors you enjoy? Do you subscribe to newsletters of authors you like? Do you visit blogs that feature Q and As with authors? Do you go on amazon and read the amazon reviews? Do you do searches on amazon for books in subject matters you like to read? Do you go to conferences or writing festivals or book signings and discover new authors that way?
Get it? Think about how you find those great books or discover authors you like and then figure out how to do what they did when they got you to buy their book! (See all of the above).
Start the process by breaking things down. That is your first goal. Otherwise you will feel overwhelmed and you won't be able to grasp the idea of becoming a best-selling author, let alone actually doing it. Break it down (to use a hip-hop term), so you can build yourself up and make your dreams a reality.
To be continued . . . (see what I did here - I'm getting you to come back to read my next post. heh heh).
See you next week!
In the mean time check out some of our books right here at Lachesis Publishing.
Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, blogging and giving out free advice.