Why are some books successful when others aren’t? Lots of reasons. A new release carries a lot of excitement by all parties because it’s NEW. Your excitement as an author spills over everywhere. Each little step your baby takes, you are gushing with pride. A three year old book with few reviews is harder to get a fire going under.
But in all cases there are some key elements, some do’s and don’t’s, that will make your book much more likely to succeed.
Your EXCITEMENT plays a major role. People want to be a part of it, want to help, want to see what the fuss is all about. And people can sniff it out when it’s faked.
Damn. People are smart.
But by far the biggest things that make a book successful are and will probably always be a professional cover that makes people want more information, a blurb that SELLS people on the story inside so they click BUY, a grabber opening, an engaging story with interesting characters and a good pace. A unique voice is also part of it, but it must be an interesting unique voice.
As hard as all that is, that’s the easy part.
Let’s go over that again, in a numbered list for people who want to skim, like I always do with posts that are lists. I do. I skim to the list to see if the author knows what the hell they’re talking about and if there’s any new info. If there is, I may – may – read the article. If there’s not, I jump ship and forget the author of the post. As I mentioned, honesty needs to be there and when it’s faked, people see it. (And I’m intentionally leaving the “voice” comment off the numbered list to burn the skimmers. That’s your reward for reading the whole post. Shh, don’t tell.) Okay, post skimmers, here’s your numbered list.
By far the biggest things that make a book successful are:
- A professional looking cover that makes people want more information
- A blurb that makes SELLS people to click BUY (it’s worded that way on purpose)
- A grabber opening
- An engaging story with
- Interesting characters and
- A good pace.
That’s a lot of stuff!
THEN you have to make sure everybody in the right market knows your book is out there. Finding that right market is where a lot of people screw up. They want to try to sell to as many readers as they can when they ought to sell to people who’d want to read that book. “But I think my book appeals to everyone.” Yep. That means it doesn’t really appeal to an identifiable demographic you can market to, so your job is much harder. I should probably list those out, too.
- Figure out an identifiable demographic you can market to.
- Don’t try to sell to everyone
- Make sure everybody in the right market knows your book is out there.
It’s a lot of work, it’s a constant job, and it’s easy to mess up. It may require skills you don’t have (and can’t afford to pay somebody to do). Sigh. Okay, let’s add that to the list, too. Then we have an even ten.
- Constantly market to that target audience
It’s hard work, but it’s all learnable, and if you are persistent, it WILL work. That’s number eleven, persistence or tenacity. Actually that’s twelve because voice. But people get lazy and ten is about all they can handle in a list, so those two are extra – for you, you nonskimming reader you.
(How do you learn to do all those things? I’ve shown you most of them in posts and in my marketing books, but we’ll get to the harder-to-quantify ones, too.)
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.