Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marketing a bestseller, can it be done?

What is it that makes a book a bestseller? What makes it fly off the shelves like a seagull in flight?

Is it the title? The author's ability to make a character jump off the page? A tightly-woven plot to end all plots?

Or is it a bit more insidious- like the author/author's marketing makes them and the book appear everywhere you find your eyes looking?

Perhaps it is both, and it does take all these efforts and more, I admit. But to me, the marketing aspect is the most vital for obtaining a bestseller status. How the heck are readers to find the book or the author if there is no good marketing going on?

And I am not talking about just the NYT bestseller list authors either.

I believe that authors (*all and every) who go out of their way to get that book into hands of readers, and open their mouths and TALK about their books have a far better chance of success. Not so for authors who get a few copies, pass them out to their friends and family, and sit back to wait for the sales to come rolling in.

That old dog won't hunt, as my Pop used to say.

Today's reader wants to be able to know everything about the author, and about the making of the book. Clue them in about that short story tie-in you have coming out! Tell them what made you do it (has anyone ever had CHOCOLATE lead them to write a book?) And for goodness sakes, plan a book tour! Online book tours are all the rage. What excellent exposure!

They want to be able to find you EVERYWHERE. On Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Goodreads, Amazon, writer's forums, and every place in between. Not to mention IN PERSON!

But that all takes time away from my writing, some will cry.

The way I see it is, if you don't properly market that first book, the consecutive ones may suffer. Readers usually don't forget authors who turn out good books and keep them up-to-date about where to find it and themselves.

So, if you are just now embarking on the journey to published success, be sure to take out some time to talk to other authors about what they are doing in the marketing realm that is working for them. You will be glad you did!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

An author who submitted to one of my small publishers wrote that he wasn't going to do any promotion because that was the publisher's job. Guess what? His manuscript was rejected. And his chances of getting it published are truly slim.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Right on, Kim. Exposure, in all arenas, is what it takes!

Marilynn Byerly said...

No amount of promotion works if there isn't decent distribution.

If the reader can't pick it up at the bookstore or find it at a major online site for paper and digital books, the author might as well not waste her time and find a better publisher next time.

If the publisher has only printed a certain number of books, it's surprisingly difficult, sometimes, to get a reprint.

Painful realities to remember and to research before you start pumping your time and money into creating a bestseller.

Kim Smith said...

Yes, Marilynn, sadly that is true. The hope is that the writer will have that. And then go out and tell the world. Or at least as much of it as they can :)

Marta Stephens said...

Writing, promotions, sales. Such a delicate balance. Doable, but delicate.

Marilynn, totally agree with your comment about distribution and the availability of the book!

Ron Adams said...

As a former PublishAmerica author, I can agree that the publisher does play a big role. However, as long as there are those of us not picked up by the "big houses", there is no substitute for being visible, which takes a good amount of effort. I have been very fortunate to associte with people who know far more than I and have learned a lot about promoting through social media, networking, obtaining reputable reviews, and now need to get the hang of blogging and website development/maintenance...while coninuing the adventures of Joe Banks and friends. Excellent posts, all.