There are days when it seems like every book is a best seller and every author is a “best-selling” author. Then you read an article like, “Authors Buy Their Way Onto Best-Seller Lists” and you know one reason why it looks that way. But, if you’re an author you need to figure out whether becoming a bestselling author is the most important goal for you.
There are almost as many best-seller lists as there are books. And to qualify for best seller status you only need to be on one of them for an instant. That’s hardly a substantive credential and it’s why many readers don’t pay any attention to best seller accolades except as a starting point to check out a book. If you’re an author, here’s what you should be thinking about.
Having a best seller is a still a good credential. It will get people to look at your book and at you. But it’s only the beginning.
The sales that make you a best seller may not be the sales that make you money. If you’re like most of my clients, you’ll be interested in bulk sales, which aren’t counted in the best seller programs.
“Best selling” may not be your most powerful credential. One of my books never achieved best seller status, but Inc magazine called it “a book every CEO should own.” We sold lots of copies in bulk to companies and trade associations and used the book as leverage to raise consulting and speaking fees.
Quality is the best credential. Advertising legend David Ogilvy used to say that great advertising can sell anything once. That’s still true. Word of mouth is powerful. People will talk up a good book and talk down a bad one.
Promotion matters, too. Quality is important, but it’s not enough for your book to be a success. Your launch and promotion efforts should be as good as your book.
Be clear about your objectives. Then write a great book and promote it well.