Becoming a Bestseller

As a writer, I vaguely dread the duties that go hand in hand with publication. Authors aren't always good at reading in public or making conversation with strangers, much less selling themselves. It's quite an adjustment for many of us to see our creations not just as works of art but also as products to sell.

As an editor, however, I've seen exactly how author participation in marketing and publicity can affect the exposure, reviews, and sales of a book. A couple of years ago, I edited a brilliant book I thought would have wide appeal. When I urged the author to hire a publicist with a proven track record, she seemed lukewarm about the idea, and to date, the book has gotten little exposure and sold very few copies. I think that's tragic. Another writer I've worked with has approached marketing and publicity in every creative way she can think of, resulting in books that are not only critically acclaimed but that sell well.

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, has posted a great entry on his blog, Intentional Leadership, that contains clear, practical tips for any book author, whether you've already published a book or are planning to. Hyatt writes, "The issue is not whether the bestseller lists are accurate (they aren’t) or whether they are fair (they’re not). The question is whether or not the additional visibility creates sufficient value for the author." 

Whether or not you ever make a bestseller list, these tips will help you control what you can control about the publishing process, an invaluable skill for writers to develop.