Contrary to popular belief, the NY Times Bestseller list isn't out of reach for any aspiring author - even a first-time author. It may seem like a compariable achievement to lottery-winning odds but in fact, there are 5 critical factors to consider when writing your book. Any author and any book can make it there, but the secret lies in your level of relevancy to bring you above and beyond the masses.
Any author aspires to reach the heights of the bestseller list. That’s a no-brainer. However, it seems only a select few ever truly end up standing out amongst the crowd.
Whether you’re a published author already (and wanting to pump up the spotlight on your work) or considering delving into the world of authorship, these 5 essential elements are a MUST DO if you want to reach bestseller status.
As a multi-published author, syndicated columnist, and recently, owner of my own publishing house, I’ve learned many tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your book in front of the right people, places, and things.
1. Nix the Idea of Self-Publishing.
While it was a temporarily popular thing for authors to do, especially at the height of the Kindle buzz, self-publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Self-published books are near impossible to get picked up by traditional bookstores and booksellers, both online and offline. As well, media outlets will also shun the self-published author. No matter how far the self-publishing industry has come, there is still the die-hard mindset that an author resorts to self-publishing only if they aren’t “good enough” to secure a traditional publisher.
There’s still something to be said for the credibility factor that comes along with being picked up and published by a traditional publishing house.
For one, it proves your book is worthy enough to garner the interest of the publisher, thus, in the eyes of the public (your potential readers), it’s got a stronger level of certainty about it than a self-published book ever could.
That’s not to say it’s right to believe this, but alas, it’s still the general consensus, at least for now. Don’t be discouraged when seeking out traditional publishing houses. There are always publishers who will accept your manuscript without an agent and it’s certainly not as hopeless as most authors assume.
2. What’s Hot and What’s Not?
It’s absolutely imperative to keep abreast of the current trends in what’s hot in genre trends – not just in books but film, TV or any form of media or knowledge-based distribution avenues.
Recently, there has been a radical shift in the genre and delivery style demand due, primarily to the drastic movement in demographical dominance. The once held belief that the Baby Boomer generation would be an overburden to the social systems, reaching retirement age at roughly the same time, leaving the smaller group of Millennials to support a top-heavy system.
Thankfully, this hasn’t come to fruition but instead, we see a huge trend in entrepreneurialism in not just the Millennial demographic, but shockingly, the Baby Boomers as well. Many aren’t retiring, as once anticipated, but instead seeking out a brand-new career avenue (predominantly entrepreneurial in nature).
This intriguing phenomenon has created a massive shift in the way media and information, in general, is relayed. In film, TV, and books, by far, the demand has shifted toward a genre that hasn’t been tapped really, until now. Self-help fiction or “fiction with takeaways” such as memoirs and in general, anything resembling the ancient art of storytelling. Metaphors, symbolism, innuendos, and the mythical storyline has risen to top demand in the dominant demographical markets.
Long gone are the self-help gurus (Where is Oprah? Has anyone seen her lately?) of the day as they’re quickly being replaced by storytelling.
If you’re considering writing a bestseller, it’s almost fail-proof to go in this genre direction. That said, fiction is a whole different ballgame in terms of writing skill. You’ll need to brush up on or learn for the first time, proper fiction-writing skills.
3. Can You Handle the Truth?
There’s one other fascinating common thread amongst the Boomers and Millennials who lead the marketplace demand, currently. It’s the demand for truth, practical spirituality, get to the point, no sugar-coating.
Both groups, for different reasons, have a strong need for truth, cut to the chase information. It’s chaotic at best in the world today. Therefore, we don’t have time for the traditional step-by-step self-help methods. What will fix their problems right now? Give it to them straight and blunt, but under the guise of fiction.
4. Practicality Reigns Supreme.
Societal beliefs have already wrongly assumed the Millennials are “lazy” or lacking “drive and/or determination.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, this group knows early on what their calling is all about (unlike previous generations who had to wait half their lives). This creates a lack of urgency or “dire” fear-based motivation (ticking clock). Millennials are willing to wait for a deal (money isn’t as important to them as society believes). Many will hang onto their cell phones longer, knowing a better model will come along shortly, if the present hot commodity is a flop. They’re practical. Shocking but true.
Baby Boomers are certainly practical as they grew up in the midst of the recovery from war and the need to save and conserve. Having both dominant demographics on the same page with the practical aspect drives a “back-to-basics” mode of thinking and living.
5. So Much to Do and So Little Time.
This doesn’t just apply to the younger Millennials, it’s also a factor for the next phase of the Boomer generation. They’re finally on a path toward their true path and purpose. They don’t have time to mess around (age is in the back of their minds).
Both groups are high on the desire for the “down and dirty.” Long gone are the days of the gurus and their beautiful, inspirational talks. To these two demographics, leading the pack, it’s a waste of precious time. They want you to cut to the chase, give it to them in a quick, concise, and clear format.
Both are driven by an urge to accomplish their missions. They don’t have time to beat around the bush. They’re ready for the facts to be laid out so they can quickly move on to collect the next breadcrumb on their journey.
Bottom line with this one? Capture their attention through fictional storytelling (that they can recognize a piece of themselves in) and make the woven in message loud, clear and concise. They don’t have time to waste watching a movie or reading a book that doesn’t have something valuable to retain from it that will assist them on their path. If it doesn’t offer this, it’s not even on their radar.
I have compiled below a list of books which I have loved and have been impacted positively by. They have shaped the way I live my life and conduct my daily affairs with integrity and soul.
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