Every author wants to be successful with their book. But getting there doesn’t always feel easy.
But, here’s the thing.
When you learn that there are five simple things you can do to radically increase your chances of success, you will find it easier to focus and achieve your goals and dreams.
Below, I reveal five secrets of successful authors so you can publish with far greater success.
1. They publish into an active and clearly defined niche
I recently met someone at a networking event who had published several books. He was bemoaning his lack of sales. I asked him what genre he wrote in (he wrote fiction). He said his novels were romantic sci-fi punk space fantasies. Even though fiction isn’t my area of expertise, I instantly knew that his lack of a clearly defined genre was his first problem (his second what he didn’t want to have anything to do with marketing of any description!).
Meh! What can you do?
Here is author success secret number one: publish into a clearly defined niche or genre, preferably an active and busy one. Successful authors know how to publish into the heart of a busy, active and clearly defined niche or genre. They know that by doing this that they have a ready-made market for their books, which makes selling them far easier. It also makes it easier for them to meet the needs of their readers and create a following for themeselves as authors.
Many business owners I work with often push against this simple truth. As innovators, pattern disrupters and agents of change, conforming in this way brings out all their rebellious feelings.
As I discovered when I commissioned books, if there’s no niche, it often means there’s no demand. And if there’s no demand, there’s no business or sales. I tried to buck this trend and I watched others do it too. Result? Failure. It makes sense… After all, you wouldn’t set your stall up in the middle of nowhere when everyone else is in town doing business in the market square, would you? So, don’t publish into a non-existent niche.
2. They understand what their readers want
There is a fine line between knowing your market but delivering the same-old, same-old to it and using your market knowledge to meet an unspoken but deeply-felt need. The truth is that sometimes readers don’t know what they want until they see it. It is the books that give readers what they didn’t know they wanted that surprise and delight an audience and become unexpected bestsellers.
Because pitching for this kind of success is risky. That’s why you need to understand your readership and either decide to give them what they want (or at least what they say they want) or challenge them with something new. Either way, it’s a risk but it can be a calculated one if you know your market.
So here is author success secret number two: know your market. There are lots of ways to find out what your readers want and the easiest way to do this is to see what else they are reading right now. Just look up books on Amazon that are similar to the one you want to write and see what titles come up on the first page of the search results. Look closely at the top 3-5 titles and read the sales blurb and reviews. Look inside the books and assess the writing style, contents, cover and sales material.
- Try a few different search terms, obvious ones and less obvious ones.
- Which titles jump out?
- Which covers catch your eye?
- What other books does Amazon suggests you might like to look at?
- What do the sales stats tell you (the # numbers – the lower the better)?
- What about readers comments and rating? First of all, are there any? What are people saying?
- What happens when you put your best search terms into Google. What do you see (look beyond the paid ads)?
Once you have done this and honed your book concept, get some feedback from your readers via social media, networking events, online research and surveys…
As you build a picture of your ideal reader you will begin to get to know their problems and questions, and provide solutions for them. This will make your writing more personal and far more engaging, all of which means you will sell more books. Success! 🙂
3. They understand their own interests and talents
Successful authors know what they are interested in and what they are good at writing about. They can look at the niche, the readers and their own areas of interest and create a book that satisfies all three. Successful authors establish themselves in a niche and write book that they have the knowledge, experience, and interest to write well. They experiment with writing styles, ideas and topics but eventually they come to understand what works for them and their readers.
Author success secret number three is: understand your own interests and talents. Because while you need to meet the needs of your readers and your market, if you want to be a successful author, you need to think about yourself, too. You need to be engaged by the subject you are writing about so your readers will perceive your excitement and passion and become as engaged by it as you.
If you only focus on what your readers and market want, you’ll run the risk of being bored and, even worse, being boring. You’ll also put yourself in massive danger of either never finishing your book or not marketing or selling it once it’s done.
Honour your passion. Be business-like, organised and meticulous in your planning and approach to writing your book but don’t drown out your excitement. Take your excitement and look at how you can present it so you get more exposure and more readers. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
4. They invest in writing great books
Part of what makes a great book is a well-written book produced by a great publishing team. It doesn’t really matter whether you write your book quickly or slowly, or whether it takes you a weekend, a month or a year. What matters is that you commit to creating a high-quality product. If you don’t enjoy writing or don’t have time to craft a book, there are plenty of ways to get your words on the page and plenty of talented people who can hone it to be the book you want it to be.
Author success secret number three is: invest in your book. That investment comes in the form of time, energy, attention, intention and yes, money!
The point here is that you need to commit to doing what it takes: hiring the right people, taking the time to get your message and ideas worked out and working long hours as and when required (and publishing often does require this). If your intentions are positive, your commitment level is high and your attitude is good, your book will be great.
5. They take time to market themselves and their books
In other words, don’t be like the author I met at the networking event!
This is probably the part of publishing that most often gets ignored by authors and left to the last minute.
But actually marketing is as important as writing.
It’s something you need to start doing from the moment you have a firm concept, a title and a publication date. This way, you can attract many opportunities to your business and much more interest in your book – long before it is published.
- Create a landing page for your book on your website.
- Create a Facebook Page for your book.
- Offer a free incentive to get your visitors to join your book’s mailing list.
- Engage them with great content via email and other media.
- Remind them when it’s time to buy! (i.e. when you publish!)
- Offer high-value ‘extras’ to get them to buy when you launch (it’ll help you to become a bestseller!).
Pre-launch marketing will also help you make valuable connections with others, attract more clients (so you can raise your fees), grow your mailing list, get invitations to speak and guest blog… and much, much more. So get out there as soon as you can.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until your book is ready to be published before you start to think about marketing. Noooo!
Start as soon as you can.
By doing this, you can create a ready market for your book so you can become an instant success in your niche when you publish and so generate even more success for your book. It might also help you to make money before you publish. That’s a win-win.
So…author success secret number five is: be prepared to market yourself and your book. It is the secret that many authors know but few act on.
And if you don’t like marketing and selling find a way to make it fun or easy for yourself. What do you like to do? What’s easy for you?
- Blog and use Missinglettr.com to promote your book for you (it’s soooo easy!).
- Make YouTube videos and transcribe the content into blogs.
- Start a podcast.
- Get on Facebook and make some Live videos.
- Network like crazy in LinkedIn (and write posts there, too).
- Get out of the house and network in person.
- Whatever you do…. give great value, don’t just promote!
Whatever the roadblocks to your success, work on removing them so you can do the work you need to do and get the results you want to get. After all…
“The only barrier to your success is your inability to overcome your fears and doubts.”
Get good at getting past the roadblocks.
Already an author?
If you already have a book that is published and you want to sell more copies, simply focus on building your connections within your target audience on a consistent basis and you will start to get results.
Be strategic, be business-like. Create a page for your book on your website. Offer a free incentive to get people to sign up to a list where you promote your book. Make it easy for them to share your book with their people.
It’s never too late to launch your book and make it work for your business.
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