10 Things That Make A Book Successful

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Your humble host

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:

  1. A professional looking cover that makes people want more information
  2. A blurb that makes SELLS people to click BUY (it’s worded that way on purpose)
  3. A grabber opening
  4. An engaging story with
  5. Interesting characters and
  6. 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.

  1. Figure out an identifiable demographic you can market to.
  2. Don’t try to sell to everyone
  3. 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.

  1. 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.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

31 thoughts on “10 Things That Make A Book Successful

    1. Wow, high praise in deed!

      Here’s the best part; just about every key item in this post has been discussed previously in the blog, so you can use the search function, look it up using a key word, and get whatever additional information you need!

  1. Obviously I still have a lot to learn, but getting there I think. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but no one said it was nigh on impossible!

    1. Definitely not impossible. If I can do it, you can, right? And while it seems like a lot before you do it, it gets easier each time. That’s where the whole persistence thing comes in. Don’t give up trying and never stop learning. Never stop learning what? Whatever is holding you back.

  2. I think I have attention deficit disorder, and can only handle a list with five points. Skimming aside.
    Wait. What were we talking about?

  3. Before I had the cover of my YA novel redone, I struggled to get a sale per week at $0.99. I bumped the price to $2.99 in the course of updating the cover (because I wasn’t selling any anyway) so I could do a countdown deal after the new cover was in place. That will happen later this month but the interesting thing is it’s sold a few on its own at $2.99 (with a minuscule amount of promo from me).

  4. I just came across this article from Suzanne Rogerson’s reblog. Very good advice. I have a friend who’s tried a LOT of marketing stuff in the past (unsuccessfully) and lost lots of money because of it. I’ll pass on this advice to him :). He’s a bit reluctant to market himself and his books though, preferring to just write and write the next one.

    1. I think we all prefer to just right. Unfortunately, that will just have us with lots of unsold books instead of just a few. But we would love to chat with him and find out what he’s been trying and see us as a team we can help!

      1. Thank you that’s very kind of you. I’ll pass that on to him. But he might take a couple of weeks or so to contact you, I think he’s nearing the end of his book, he did tell me that he wants to concentrate on that first. Will he be able to contact you then? And should he contact you via the form on your site?

  5. Reblogged this on TheKingsKidChronicles and commented:
    Yep. I think I need to do some up-dating on my novel that’s already out there, and I need to let the right audience know it’s there. Re-blogged from danalatorre.com. (Sounds like an Italian name. I grew up around Italians. Love the people and the food).

  6. All those things are important, but there’s also some mysterious, unknowable force that can make some books sell fifty times more than others. I think it’s cosmic rays.

  7. I’m so excited I found your blog from a reblog by Dan Massenzio. These are great tips and I look forward to reading more of your blog! I also reblogged this post.

  8. Thank you Dan for all the positive reinforcements that writers need to remind themselves. The most powerful one being….believe and your audience will believe too. Be passionate about what you write about. Create a buzz and the bees will follow. Have a wonderful writer day. Your smile sends positive vibes. You are an inspiration.

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