NY Times Bestseller!!! – AND – USA Today Bestseller!!! Woo hoo!!!

This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!
This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!

I’ve seen quite a few authors make the New York Times bestseller list and/or the USA Today bestseller list so I wanted to know what all was involved in doing such a thing. Lots, of course. Lots of sales, lots of promotions.

Lots of everything.

But one author did it by putting together her stories with other authors in in anthology.

Ooh, that’s interesting…

Now, it’s not like they broadcasted the information that subsequently got them the title of USA Today Bestselling Author. I had to friend one of the authors on Facebook under a fake name (I pretended to be a mid-twenties female fan on FB) so she’d have a conversation with me – and eventually, after a few weeks, in bits and pieces, she gave up the goods.

Hello!
Hello!

And what she said opened my eyes.

(Yours, too. Right now you’re thinking: Dan’s a sneaky fucker.)

Yep.

When it comes to promotions, pull out all the stops. If somebody won’t tell Dan the author/blogger, let them tell somebody they think is a fan. (And I was a fan. Right after I friended her for being a USA Today bestselling author. I just used a fake personality. Is that wrong? It’s like being an undercover cop.)

What did I learn?

It's nice to have friends.
It’s nice to have friends.

In the USA Today bestselling author’s case, what happened was she contributed a story to an anthology along with 8 or 9 other authors, and they all promoted the book.

It did well and made the USA Today bestseller list! USA Today uses e-Books; at that time the NY Times didn’t (it still may not, I don’t know.)

Think about it. WHY DID THAT WORK?

 

9 authors promoting the book

9 authors tweeting about the book

9 authors running ads

9 authors utilizing their different ad resources

9 authors blogging

…and pimping…

…and pushing…

Solo marketing efforts when not guided by skilled smart people.
Solo marketing efforts when not guided by skilled smart people.

That’s GOTTA be better than you going it alone, right?

What did the anthologies have in common? The book had a theme. They all, more or less, were based around that theme. And by more or less, I mean less. It was a loose interpretation of anthology, but whatever. The goal was to bind together and make a splash with quality stories.

And they did.

They made a splash.

They wrote QUALITY stories.

It was a legit endeavor. They worked together and got themselves onto the USA Today bestseller list – meaning each of the authors involved gets to claim the title of USA Today Bestselling author. Like a Olympics gold medal winner, you don’t have to win it again each year to still be called an Olympic gold medal winner. Once is enough, you get the title for life.

Think about the power of that on all your marketing efforts going forward

They all get to claim it, because who can say which story is the one that did it? They all did.

So…

 

Hmmm...
Hmmm…

I wonder if WE could do that?

I wonder if we have enough clout here for each of us to contribute a short story that goes into an anthology that we all subsequently promote and have it make it to the New York Times bestseller list or the USA Today bestseller list?

Let’s say we did, and it worked. How much better does it make your pitch when you go to meet an agent/publisher/publicist/etc., to say you are a USA Today bestselling author?

Sounds nice, eh?

That goes on every book cover from then on

That goes in every bio from then on

That goes in every interview you do from then on.

You get the idea.

Me! Me! Me!
Me! Me! Me!

Just by show of hands, if you’re interested in trying something like this, comment below or send me a message. If you have my email, use it; if not, try the Contact Me button and let’s see what kind of group we can assemble. There’s a lot of talent that reads this blog there’s certainly a lot of smart people here. I think it really might be doable.

And that’s a phrase you’d get to use on every story you put forth from then on. Plus, I believe if you can do it once, you can do it again – but by doing it once you’ve leverage your ability do it again!

Maybe this goes somewhere, maybe it goes nowhere. One anthology I saw was a sample from each of their books, taking segments that could be stand-alones. That might just piss people off, though… Maybe an anthology of short stories we write just for this book, with a legit common theme designed to appeal to a large genre’s audience, is better.

What do YOU think?

Would we be better doing it as a bunch of short stories, with a theme? Probably. But I’m open. Give me your thoughts. Let’s see what we come up with! (If it’s a bad idea, ask yourself why you read the post. Maybe the title? Those publications are powerful, eye catching things!)

.

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

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Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE

92 thoughts on “NY Times Bestseller!!! – AND – USA Today Bestseller!!! Woo hoo!!!

    • You’re already on my bad side, after that amazing chapter of yours I read yesterday. Totally jealous.

      This is what this site has always needed. Willing co-conspirators. And you’re right, we help each other edit and improve.

      As for the theme, I’m open. Do we go with the most popular, largest genres? Or something else? What genres/themes have the biggest audience that we’d all want to write in? (For example, if it’s porn, I’m out. But that fake FB person might be in.)

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you 😊 That last chapter is going to be even better after I tackle some of the revisions you suggested!
        I wonder if there’s a theme that would allow your contributers to write to their respective fan bases. But then, you have such a diverse group of author friends. What if the link was that each story started with the same sentence? I suppose you would need something stronger to hold an anthology together. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Jenny, I think the authors who decide to join the anthology will each have certain strengths in their writing and their marketing, audiences, etc., which will probably drive the theme. Like, if ten murder mystery writers want to do it, we probably don’t make the theme romance.

    Once we know who’s interested, we’ll have a big discussion on something like a special private Facebook group at a certain time to discuss how to move forward, so everyone’s up to speed.

    And most writers have always wanted to try their hand at a certain aspect of writing, so this opens the door to that, too. If somebody wanted to do a murder mystery, doing it with input from 9 murder mystery writers wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m both intrigued and interested. My wife’s dentist has just won a magazine first chapter competition where Jojo Moyes gave a first paragraph and you had to complete in up to 1000 words, she has gota hell of a lot of publicity out of this

    Liked by 3 people

      • Hi Dan,

        I’m about to put a link up on Twitter (see @edcwriting) as I’m back incognito so to speak) for the two runner up ‘first chapter’ entries which appeared in Grazia magazine back in June, not seen the winner’s entry online, but as I mentioned, Claire, the winner is my wife’s dentist and she has an appointment next week so will ask her for a copy just for me, a budding writer! Otherwise try searching Grazia UK … you may do better than me finding it)

        I’ve not read all the comments here as yet as just dived in to give you this info … but I’m a bit twitchy about 30k words stories as a possible contribution, that’s a whole book to me! Seriously though I was thinking more like 10 to 15k words … Dare I say I’d hate to be reading one a get a bit bogged down and then say sod it can’t be bothered with the rest … just saying … less is more … sometimes.

        As for themes, well, for me there needs to be one, but not too prescriptive, emotions like love, hate, sadness etc are a bit too vague I believe, but how about ‘conscience’ … I think we all probably deal with that at some point in everything we write, its the essence of the contemporary relationship/romance I’m working on.

        Anyway enough, I supposed to be cooking my wife’s tea .. she working and I’m writing … apparently not quite the same thing … until it brings some money in! Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Going to have to disagree with you on this, boundaries work, a degree of uniformity works, deadlines work, isn’t this to be something seen as an entity, made up of equal but unique parts, each with its own style and substance, yet any one not outweighing another. We are all disciplined, we can all write, we can all collaborate, and give and take, a little, and maybe more. It’s the challenge, the pulling together, the experience, the excitement which gives this concept its buzz, not just being who we already are under the same cover, or have I missed something and got this all wrong?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, it will be one of those things, and while we’re figuring it all out, I want to hear lots of ideas.

          It’s likely one large group consensus will quickly evolve, but that doesn’t mean that a second group couldn’t be formed. For example, I wrote a sci fi thriller. It has romance aspects to it, but people looking for a traditional romance story wouldn’t think they got their money’s worth if they read it. On the other hand, I wrote a romance that’s really funny and could be a comedy OR a romance story. So Let’s say one group decided to focus on Romance, I’d have a story for that, but I could easily see a second sci fi group for my other story. Let’s face it, doing 3 blogs sounds immensely time consuming, but posting once every three months does not, so putting up content for two blogs that post every three months, or posting once every 6 weeks for each blog, shouldn’t be a problem for most authors. And that’s before we get to guest bloggers coming in, etc. I see the first group evolving and spin-off groups forming as we figure out what works best.

          Like

    • I’m open. I suppose I should look at a few of those bestselling anthologies and see how many pages they were, or how many authors, in case there’s some really smart formula there.

      My initial thought is, more stories is a better value for a potential reader. I think a lot of these anthologies are priced at a special promotional price (but that’s just a guess). My second thought is, a LOT of authors is better, so we have a lot of people all rowing in the same direction.

      Maybe if people have some good anthologies they’ve liked or just seen, they can recommend some. No point in reinventing the wheel!

      Liked by 1 person

    • LC, I want to consider everybody. It’ll probably take more than ten people and a fair number of interested authors won’t be able to make it happen (prior commitments, existing deadlines, etc) so I’ll be starting a list. Then we’ll move the conversation over to email or a private Facebook group or something and hash out the details. The most important thing is good writing. Now, who decides that, I don’t know. But I’d like to think all the contributors would read each other and offer helpful suggestions.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’ll be interesting to see how it all takes shape and, depending on the theme, timing, or other confines of the anthology, I may throw my hat in the ring for consideration. Please put me on your list of potentially interested writers. Thanks!

        Liked by 2 people

    • For the theme, you could consider using an idiom, such as:

      “Under Lock and Key”
      “Devil’s Advocate”
      “In the Heat of the Moment”
      “Once in a Blue Moon”

      You get the idea…leaving the theme purposely vague by using an idiom creates a space for many different types of stories and genres.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I may be interested. One type of anthology I have seen was a prequel, or vignette, or short story between novels of a series. But you could also do a theme of “The Summer I Spent in France” or something similar. Then everyone could showcase their skills and genre of choice. A romance could blossom. Someone could be murdered. Someone could get pulled into a vortex and transported to 1734 Europe. Aliens could attack Paris. etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. There was me thinking you were squeaky clean! Bad boy!

    It sounds like an awesome challenge, and I’d jump up and down and beg to be in, but I’ve only managed to publish two books so far, so probably not as experienced as you want. If on the other hand you’re desperate for my witt and charm, I could probably force myself to say yes… if Brits are even allowed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • What did I say that wasn’t squeaky clean? I’m a good boy… eventually.

      Yes, we love our cousins across the pond, so of course you’re invited. Everyone is!

      How much somebody has published isn’t as important as what they bring to the table for the project. A writer who does a halfway job and has 20,000 followers but doesn’t promote the book probably isn’t as beneficial as a writer with no following at all, because the second writer will bring a lot of enthusiasm. That’s why I want all interested parties.

      We have a lot of talent here and working together we might be able to make something special happen.

      I have zero issue including a few friends who haven’t published before but whose writing I’ve enjoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great, then I would love to express an interest in signing up. Enthusiastically, obviously!

        Without giving away too much, you know that ‘great idea’ in my interview? Would something like that work, but on a larger scale?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a Brit too, and haven’t published anything, well not fiction, so I’m on the page of submitting a chapter and seeing if I cut it, by what whatever criteria deemed appropriate by the majority. My Achilles heel … I won’t go anywhere near Facebook … ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha, how funny! I’m actually finishing off a story for an anthology right now. If you need a writer, I’d be in for yours too. You always leave me such nice comments.

    A note on theme–I think it would very much depend on what sort of writers you wind up working with. It might be fun to do a same starting line, or three objects that have to appear in the story, etc–something that wouldn’t necessarily be genre dependent. Might be a harder sell that way, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And we’d be lucky to have you!

      In the few anthologies I looked at that were successful, they had a theme (for lack of better phrasing) that was, as you suggest, more easily marketed. So if a reader likes sci fi, then he/she is possibly more open to a sci fi anthology with a bunch of authors they don’t know. “I like sci fi, here’s a collection of sci fi stories, one by an author I know, a bunch by people I don’t, but I like sci fi so I should be okay.”

      Then they read the blurb and they see, “Oh, THAT story looks interesting and THIS one looks like a good one and THAT one looks decent… okay!” Click. BUY.

      Then some word of mouth…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, yeah. I know. It’s pretty tough to sell a multi-genre anthology…folks tend to be in the mood for one thing at a time. But I dream of an anthology like that, someday. It is, like most of my dreams, horribly unsellable. 😛

    It might be fun to do an urban fantasy anthology. That’s selling pretty well, right now, and a lot of writers do the fantasy thing…myself included. Or, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while–a fantasy anthology that focuses on common people (no lords and ladies as main characters). Mythical creatures? Just tossing stuff out there. Tossy toss toss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like maybe create one fantasy, or and urban fantasy world, and then make one event happen, each person writes a story from a different character’s perspective. Modern New York urban fantasy when a bright blue flash occurs. Each author creates their own rules for the fantastic stuff and the cause of the blue light. That would be fun!

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      • Wikipedia says:
        Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum, opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods, and the settings may include fictional elements. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

        Is that about right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you mean me! My name’s Emily, Dan. 😛

        I’ll be honest, I don’t write too much Urban Fantasy–but it’s basically modern-day fantasy that takes place in cities. A lot of it I’ve seen is YA and somewhat paranormal in nature, but it doesn’t have to be.

        The reason that occurred to me was because it’s genre-specific while still remaining nice and vague. There’s the possibility for some dystopian action in there, fantasy, paranormal, etc. Your sci-fi and horror folks might be a little more comfortable there than they’d be in, say, epic fantasy or historical. You could broaden it up even more by just making it contemporary fantasy and taking the urban element out. I like the idea someone mentioned above of connecting all the stories with one element, like a single blue flash–would be a way of tying things together while still giving people plenty to work with. Also, it goes back to my dream of three things. So, you know. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

        • Got it, EF – I mean Emily. (I tend to use people’s blog handles here JUST in case they want a degree of separation. I called somebody by their real name once, like JoAnne and her handle was WildStyle and she went bananas DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I’VE BEEN BUILDING THAT BRAND!! So I play it safe in case somebody’s a freaking nut job. And sometimes I forget and don’t remember who’s touchy about that stuff. Many of my female author friends go by initials so they aren’t screened out by male readers, and I try to be sensitive to that.)

          Anyway…

          brilliant suggestion. It’d be like our own NaNoWriMo thing, you have 30 days to write 3,000 – 10,000 words in a, Urban Fantasy setting and must include a blue flash. Go!

          That could have some promise.

          Like

          • I liked the blue flash thing. Thought it was a cool way to connect the stories. How’re we all going to talk about this? Last anthology I did used a Goodreads group, but if someone has a better idea I’m totally down, not being a big Goodreads person.

            You can totally call me Emily. My feminine allure TOTES helps me sell stuff.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, having done it before, your status just went up a notch. Maybe you should tell me how that worked and what was good and bad about it. I’d set up a Goodreads group or Facebook group just so we aren’t airing laundry here, which a lot of people won’t want to see.

              Would you like to think about how it worked last time and send me an email? Then we’ll chat from there. Use the Contact Me button if we haven’t already exchanged emails.

              One or two other people here have also worked on an anthology so maybe between us all we can make a good methodology.

              Like

  7. Hi Dan, this sounds like a great idea. I’m certainly interested in seeing if I’ a good fit with the other authors who are interested. I write novels, but I’ve generated a number of short stories of varying lengths so if I wear my ‘I can do this’ hat, I’d like to try out an anthology for size.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Karen!

      You were recommended by somebody I hold in very high regard so you are most welcome. I’m like you, I have written a few novellas, and they’re fun, and I’ve written mostly longer stuff. My average is over 100k so my Critique Partners are like, oh, a 30,000 word novella from Dan is a Facebook post…

      We’re happy to have you!

      Like

  8. LC, am I naive in saying get the author group together and see what genre more or less fits over them? Like I wrote a romantic comedy but it dealt with sex and infidelity, death, travel… so it could have gone under a loose anthology about travel because travel was a big part of it. I wrote a sci fi thriller but it had a romantic understory. Like that.

    Like

    • Welcome aboard, CJ! I’m so glad you like this idea.

      Probably we should pick a genre or theme and THEN see who wants to contribute a story, but right now I’d prefer to see who’s interested and let them help select the theme.

      I’m like you, I think I could go for anything, but I have never really tried to do horror…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, I’m not quite up for “anything”…
    I’d definitely opt out on horror… & fantasy or sci-fi. They’re just not for me, plus they’re too far from where I plan to write. Beyond that, I’m pretty open.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well Dan, I see from so much fabulous feedback, there should be no shortage of writers for this endeavor. Now that I’m working on my platform and catching up with blog interviews and putting my next book aside for a few months of breathing room, this little venture sounds appetizing. I have a few author friends who were involved in anthologies, and I’ve always thought it was an interesting concept to gain exposure for all involved. I’m very interested, but depending on the genre I can’t say a concrete yes. I’m just not a sci-fi writer. I also haven’t done much fiction writing, but as a nonfiction/memoir writer, I can say that there is a lot of truth in fiction. Hmm, food for thought. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debby, since some of your friends have done this, maybe you can pick their brains about some of the things to do or not do to make it work best. (In hindsight, NEVER… it might be good to know that stuff.)

      And of course we’d love to have you involved.

      My thinking of getting the authors together and seeing what they have in the works, then casting an umbrella over it and saying that’s the genre – seems backwards, but I figured other authors had lots of stories and half stories in the pipeline they could use.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sneaky. Even over here in Blighty we like a bit of the old underhand activity.
    Not sure how much I could contribute and although I do have a body of work, it is mostly novel and screenplay size.
    However, tell the old Brit what you need him to do and he will do it or be damned!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am sure this collaboration will be successful due to the reasons you mentioned. You have great connections and hope to hear of another successful writing endeavor, Dan! Anothologies with a theme involved may be interesting. Good luck and have a great, productive rest of the week!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When I read the more recent post listing all interested parties in Super Blogging and NYTBS anthology, I just had to come read this post. Finally found time. I’d love to throw my name in the mix. I’ll try to keep up on the info if it’s not too late! 🙂

    Like

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