Monday, June 23, 2008

Can Your Book Be a "Bestseller"?

"There is no threshold of a certain number of copies a book must sell to be a bestseller, there never has been and I doubt there ever will be."

And that quote belongs to Jerry Simmons of Need I say more? Well, yeah, otherwise this is going to be a very short posting, so here goes.

It's all about almighty SALES my friends. Lest we forget that publishing is a business that depends on plenty of sales in order to survive the slim profit margins they're able to allow themselves, especially these days. It's also about marketing, because when you label a book "Bestseller" or "National Bestseller", publishers are almost guaranteed a boost in sales. Why not? The word "Bestseller" in the minds of readers is like a stamp of approval, or a guarantee that they're not wasting their money or time on some worthless drivel that nobody wants to read.

But what allows publishers to determine and use the word Bestseller? Just about anything goes. A spike in sales of a particular title at the local bookstore. A top spot based on popularity in any newspaper's "Bestsellers List", and so on.

It's all about a "join the crowd" mentality and you can't go wrong. That "B" word assures readers that they're not taking a chance because if it is implied that masses of people like the book, then you will most likely enjoy it as well, and you'll buy it "on impulse", preferably. Tough luck if after you get the book you're not satisfied with the story or its outcome.

Although, most readers are smart enough to look beyond the cover of a book and "Search Inside" a book or read a synopsis, or reviews that further explains a book's premise. So, the chances of being disappointed after you buy a book is always debatable and subjective.

So, what does it take for your book, or novel to be labeled a "Bestseller"? Well, for one thing, those wonderful words you've labored over and flung between the covers, must be engaging and offer some kind of benefit to the reader. That way more and more people will talk about it and others will be inclined to buy it. Especially if it's non-fiction and your credentials are impeccable. But what kind of benefit can you offer readers if you've written a novel?

Well, I could leave you hanging right here and leave that for my next posting, but I think it's somewhat obvious. The benefit any reader looks for when reading a novel, or fiction in general is, an escape, of course. Readers want to be transported into other worlds. Not only the fictitious world surrounding your beloved characters, but the world, the voice, the point of view of its author in relation to the story.

I hate to break the news to some of you folks, but that's why publishers market and "brand" their authors. It's why the author's name is the first thing you see on the cover of most books. Readers buy because of the author's style, not just the story they have to tell. And that kind of "branding" takes years to build. Why do you think it's so difficult for new authors to break through? Nobody has ever heard of them. They have no clout and no proof they can "entertain" you. Readers are at "at risk" of wasting their valuable time and GAS money folks. (I know, that was a kill-joy, but funny. Deal with it.)

But those marketing tactics are not exclusive to books, as you already know. I f you're like me, you probably watch just about any movie Denzel Washington stars in, or Robert DeNiro. You know it has to be good if they're involved, because you enjoy their performances. BTW, Ralph Fiennes was, as they say in movie industry lingo, "a revelation" in RED DRAGON.

But back to the point. If you're a debut author of any kind, in any genre, whether fiction or non-fiction, and you want your book to be hailed as a Bestseller, then write a bestselling, quality, kind of book. (Easier said than done, but you can do it.) There are formulas to everything you know. But, and here's the most important thing:

You must be yourself. (With a little of "this and that" mixed in, according to Hollywood. They don't like to take too many chances, and neither do book publishers.)

Click on the Title-Hyperlink for more in-depth facts about "Bestsellers".

Next Post: Why Most Book Trailers Suck And How To Improve Yours

"Oh...Martha," Alberto said. "Is my beverage and bath ready dear? And please don't forget a fresh bar of my favorite soap on a rope. I'll be in need of it."

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