Marketing your book for the bestseller list used to be all about advertising. If your publisher could spend enough money to make people pay attention, demand sufficient shelf space in the bookstore, get you on some big-time media shows, and then spam the audience with messages until they bought the book. You made it on the bestsellers list.
Those days are gone. The amount of noise, information, channels, books and places for our attention to go cancels out buying attention. The internet which has unlimited shelf space cancels out the scarce shelf space in a bookstore. YouTube and other video sites cancels out only going on big-time media shows and obviously with the invention of the spam box people are no longer force to see your message.
This is all great news, though, because marketing today is the product and with the advent of social media, more than ever, your customers are your sales force. Word-of-mouth is the economy we now live in. A great example of this would be Apple who spends less on marketing as a percentage-of-revenue than any other consumer electronics company. They don’t have to spend more, because the remarkable products they produce are the marketing. People are willing to spend hours in line on launch day just to get their hands on them. Their customers are their sales force.
So what can you do as an author to have a shot at the bestsellers list? I suggest three powerful things that give your book a shot:
- Start with a remarkable topic or story. This highlights one major issue I see in some groups, seminars, individuals etc. that they
promote working on the craft of writing rather than on the value of the content. Remember it’s called the bestsellers list not the best writers list.
Being a great “writer” in
terms of grammar and technique is wonderful but not likely to put you on this list.
Popular authors like Zig Ziglar, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Bob Burg are not known for
their mastery of the English language but for the remarkable topic or story they present.
- Write the best book you can. And the best book you can starts with writing the first draft from your heart and the second draft from your head. Don’t try to write as a logical or head process. Just write from your heart. Let your writing flow out of something that you are passionate about.
- Build your marketing platform now. I have seen some authors try to do this when the book launches. Remember marketing has changed! Forget it. You build a loyal audience (your true fans) over time: one post, one tweet, one pin, one recording, one status update at a time. You have to build it by being generous.
Question: What are some of the bestseller books you have read this past year? How did you tell others about them?