How to Create a GREAT Book that is WORTH being a Bestseller

Everyone wants to write a bestselling book

No one wants to write a book that is worth being a bestseller

In this post we will cover how you can create a book that is

  1. Written for the RIGHT MARKET i.e. a market full of eager readers waiting for a great book to read
  2. The Right Product for this Right Market i.e. exactly what readers want to read
  3. Written very, very well
  4. Polished and perfected
  5. Packaged very well
  6. Marketed Very Well

This is the Hard Way to get a Bestseller

Of course, it comes with the added benefits that

  1. It will be something you can be proud of
  2. Your readers will actually benefit from it
  3. It won’t just drop out of the charts and stop selling after your marketing push is finished

If you are willing to put in the work to create a masterpiece, then read on

Written for The Right Market

By far the most important aspect is to Write for the Right Market. The Right Market has some specific qualities

  1. [Ideally] A Market full of readers eagerly waiting for your book
    1. There must be a lot of readers
    2. They must buy books
    3. They must be willing and able to buy your books
  2. A Market where you have a reasonable chance of becoming a bestseller
    1. Always go for a market where you have at least a medium chance of becoming a bestseller
    2. Ideally go for a market where you have a high chance of becoming a bestseller
  3. A Market where you actually get tangible benefits from becoming a bestseller
    1. There should be solid follow on benefits of becoming a bestseller
    2. This can be books related i.e. more book sales
    3. This can be career related i.e. establish yourself as an authority, grow your business, get consulting work, etc
  4. A Market you are uniquely suited to write in
    1. If possible, pick a market which you are uniquely suited for and very few other people can create what you create
  5. A Market for which you can write world class books
    1. Always pick a market where your product (the books you write) will be THE BEST
  6. A Market where you have some competitive advantages
    1. It may be that you have rich experience in the market
    2. You might have some special quality or skill or experience which makes you suited to doing well in this market
  7. [Ideally] A Market that has lots of readers and lots of book sales
    1. While not absolutely necessary, this is a good quality for a market to have
  8. [Ideally] A Market you are happy to be writing for
    1. Competition in Books is brutal
    2. If you are happy writing for a market, you will write more books, and you will write better books
    3. This will greatly increase your chances of success
    4. After success, this will increase how much money you make
  9. [Ideally] A Market that gives you very strong credibility
    1. Always go for a market where becoming a bestseller means something
    2. Where it adds something to your career and your brand
  10. A Market where successful authors continue to be successful
    1. If the top authors change every 2 or 3 years, then it is not a good market
    2. If, on the other hand, the top authors are successful for decades, it is a great market
  11. A Market where the top authors get TV Deals and Movie Deals
    1. If there are no authors getting TV and Movie Deals, be a bit wary
      1. It might mean there is very little commercial potential
    2. Most good book markets have numerous authors getting TV and Movie Deals
  12. A Market where successful self published authors get Book Deals
    1. If Large Publishers are signing up the successful authors to Book Deals, that is a very good thing

Hopefully, you get what we are trying to convey

You should focus on a Market that will confer a lot of benefits on you if you become successful

Success should mean you get a lot of good things, and keep getting them

The Right Market – Additional Criteria if you want to Make a Living as an Author

If you are looking to make a career as a writer, and becoming a bestseller is one part of the puzzle, then please make sure that

  1. The Market actually exists
    1. There are readers in the market
    2. They buy books
  2. The Market is large enough to sustain a career for you
    1. There should be thousands to tens of thousands of authors making a living writing for that market
    2. Do not go into a market where only a few dozen authors are able to make a living
  3. The market is not too competitive
    1. There should not be 100 authors fighting for each well earning spot in the market
    2. There should ideally be zero to 3 authors fighting for each well earning spot in the market
  4. The market is not temporary
    1. It should be a market that has been around for decades and will stay for decades
  5. You can establish a brand
    1. You should be able to establish a brand and build a loyal reader base
  6. You can consistently supply books to the market
    1. You should be able to supply good quality books every 3 to 12 months
    2. Someone else should not dictate whether or not you can reach your readers
  7. The market cannot be flooded
    1. It should not be possible for someone to come in and produce 50 books a year and drown out everyone else
  8. The market cannot be eliminated or controlled
    1. If someone can eliminate the market then it is not a good market
    2. If someone can control the market and turn it from ‘the best wins’ to ‘whoever pays the most toll’ wins, then it is not a good market

Be very careful

It is one thing to become a bestseller and get some benefits

It is a completely different thing to make a living from a market

The Right Product for The Right Market

After doing all the hard work of Finding the Right Product, you have to do the extremely difficult work of Identifying the Right Product

It’s extremely difficult because

  1. We all have preconceived notions of what works and what doesn’t
    1. The market decides what works, not your beliefs
  2. We all want to make money ‘doing what we love’, whereas sometimes you make money by ‘doing what your customers love’
    1. The market decides what you make money on
  3. People attribute success to the wrong things
    1. You see a successful product and you assume it is successful due to ‘the things that you value’

In reality, you have to find The Right Product. The qualities that this product has include

  1. The Right Product is what customers in The Right Market will pay good money for
    1. It only matters if they pay money for it
  2. The Right Product is something that customers will keep paying money for
    1. Don’t invest your life unless it it something that will be a permanent market
    2. At the minimum, a market that exists for decades
  3. [Ideally] The Right Product is something that cannot be produced by someone else for cheap or free
    1. Perhaps due to the quality of your product
    2. Perhaps due to the amount of resources and talent required
    3. It must be something that cannot be mass produced cheaply by somebody else
  4. The Right Product must meet customers needs and wants
    1. If it meets what customers NEED, then you are set
    2. If you cannot do that, or in addition to needs, it must meet customer Wants
  5. The Right Product must be something you can produce better than anyone else
    1. Your Product must be higher quality and/or cheaper than anything anyone else can produce
  6. The Right Product must ideally be something that cannot be cloned or copied
    1. There must be something about it, whether it is your brand or the quality level or some other unique characteristic, which sets it apart
    2. Which prevents it from being copied
    3. Which means some person on the other side of the planet cannot clone it in a sweatshop for 10 cents an hour
  7. The Right Product must be sellable to a large portion of the market
    1. If you have a great product, and only world champion sprinters can use it, your addressable market is tiny
    2. On the other hand, a great product that can be used by everyone who exercises, has a massive market

After finding The Right Market, you have to find The Right Product

The good news is that you have infinite tries to create and sell The Right Product

The toughest part is finding The Right Market. After that you know that sooner or later you will create something that MEETS Customer Needs & Wants and makes them happy

Written Very, Very Well

OK, this is the step that trips up a lot of authors

You have people saying things like –

  1. It is ‘best seller’, not best written. Writing quality doesn’t matter
  2. Look at these 3 authors out of 1,000 bestselling authors. Their writing is not very good and yet these 3 become bestsellers. That means you don’t have to write well to become a bestseller
  3. The right market is all that matters
  4. Lots of marketing is all that matters
  5. Money is all that matters
  6. Luck is all that matters

Those are just mis-truths. They are powerful because it is what we want to hear. We all want an easy path to success. It does not exist

The truth is that

  1. Most bestselling books are very well written
  2. Most authors who consistently write bestselling books are very good writers
  3. Most book genres are very competitive, and to do well you have to have a very well written book
  4. Authors who discover completely new markets, and get by without gorgeously written books, come along once a decade
  5. It is incredibly difficult to find a market that is either undiscovered, or has very low competition
    1. In all other markets, you must have a very well written book to become a bestseller
    2. In fact, without a very well written book you have close to zero chance of becoming a bestseller

Here are some of the reasons you must have a very, very well written book if you want to become a Bestseller

  1. The quality of your writing will be reflected in the reviews
    1. Without good reviews your book will sink
  2. The quality of your writing will determine whether readers tell other readers about your book
    1. The biggest determinant of book sales are worth of mouth recommendations
    2. Another top determinant of book sales are book gifts. People only gift books that they feel very strongly about
  3. All your marketing will be 2 to 10 times more effective, if you write a very good book
  4. While it is true that a few books become bestsellers despite being poorly written, they are a very small percentage
    1. If 3 out of every 100 bestselling books are poorly written, that still means 97% of bestselling books are well written ones
    2. Does 3 out of 100 look like good odds to you?
  5.  You might never get a second chance
    1. If you are putting a big marketing push behind your book
    2. If this is the book launch and the only time the book will be ‘new and fresh to the market’
    3. Then you might never again get a chance to line things up

There are also numerous other benefits of writing a very, very good book

  1. You will be much happier if you put in the effort and write a great book
    1. It will be something you can be proud of
  2. Becoming a bestseller with a low quality book is very unsatisfying
    1. It is a hollow victory
  3. Your Readers will be delighted and become your customers for like
    1. They will buy every book you write
  4. A very well written book will have a long sales tail
    1. It will keep making you money (whether small or significant) for a long time
  5. Readers who are happy with your book will always find a way to give value back
    1. This can often be in unexpected ways

Think about any product you buy or use. What percentage of the time are you choosing a poorly produced product?

Think about all the recommendations you get from friends and family. How often are they recommending something that they did not love?

Everything becomes easier if you create a very, very good product. Make sure you write a very, very good book. It is one of the few things you have complete control over

Polished and Perfected

If you thought all you had to do was write a great book, you are out of luck. After writing a great book, you have to polish and perfect it. This includes

  1. Rewriting it until it flows very, very well
    1. This usually takes 2 to 5 rewrites
    2. If you think your first draft is good enough, or that the first rewrite is good enough, then you are almost certainly wrong
  2. Getting a Professional Editor
    1. Developmental Editing
    2. Line Editing
    3. Then you implement all the suggestions and that is your final rewrite of the book
  3. Getting a professional proof editor
    1. Making sure all the mistakes are identified
    2. Correcting them all
  4. [Optional, and Recommended] Getting a professional typesetter and book formatter
    1. Makes sure the book looks good
  5. [Option, recommended if you can afford it] Getting a professional Book Designer
    1. A Book Designer is someone who designs your entire book
    2. Not to be confused with a book cover designer who only designs the outside book cover

At this point your very well written book, should be polished and perfected and be ready for packaging

Packaged Very Well

You have The Right Product for The Right Market

You have created a High Quality Product (a very well written book)

You have Polished and Perfected It (editing, proofreading, rewriting, book formatting, book design)

Now it is time to do excellent packaging

  1. You must get the best book cover designer you can afford
    1. You must let them create an excellent quality cover for your book
  2. You must choose a title and tagline very carefully
    1. The title must be a good fit for your book category
    2. It is not necessary for it to be super good or super brandable
      1. However, it must not be a sales killer
    3. Avoid controversy
  3. You must write a good book description
    1. The first paragraph must clearly indicate what the book category is, and who the book is written for
    2. Do not give away the story in the book description
    3. Do have a few hooks i.e. things that make readers curious
  4. You must have an excellent author profile
    1. A proper photograph
    2. Something about yourself
    3. Don’t be too friendly. Don’t be too aloof
    4. Gimmicky things don’t work
    5. Humor only works if you are writing in the humor genre or you are a stand up comedian
  5. Be 100% honest about what the book is, and what the book isn’t
    1. Please don’t promise more than the book delivers
  6. You must make sure your book page at the book stores is perfect
    1. Look at every element that is under your control (book cover, book title, book description, categories, keywords, author profile) and make sure all of them are polished
    2. Make sure they make sense together, and do not contradict each other
  7. You must have the right keywords
    1. Make sure you have the right keywords
  8. You must pick the right categories
    1. Make sure your book is showing up in the right categories
    2. Putting a book in the wrong category is akin to putting a book in the wrong section of the book store
      1. No one interested in the book will EVER see it
      2. That is how important picking the right categories is
    3. Please don’t try to ‘trick’ or ‘outsmart’ the reader and the book store by choosing wrong categories. It almost always backfires

No matter how good your book, it means nothing if your packaging is wrong

90% of self published authors kill their chances of success by ‘saving money’ on the book cover, or by messing up their book page

Be in the 10% who get their packaging right

Marketed Very Well

After everything else is in place, you have to make sure your marketing is very strong, and very well set up

  1. Above all else, target The Right Readers
    1. You’ve put in all this effort to find The Right Market
    2. You’ve put in even more effort to find The Right Product
    3. You’ve put in blood and sweat and tears to create a high quality product
    4. Make sure you market it to the right readers
    5. The readers for whom this ‘The Right Product’ is, indeed, the right product
  2. All your marketing should focus around reaching and marketing and selling to these ‘Right Readers’
    1. Use marketing channels that focus on these ‘right readers’
    2. Even out of these marketing channels, find and focus on the ones that generates sales from these ‘right readers’
  3. Have a very precise idea of the number of sales required to reach the various Bestseller Lists
    1. To reach the Top 100 Paid Books in the Kindle Store you will need between 1,000 and 3,000 book sales in one day
    2. To reach the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists you will need between 5,000 and 10,000 book sales in one week
      1. For smaller genres you will need 3,000 to 6,000 book sales
    3. To reach the Top 100 Paid Books List in your Book Category, you will need between 100 to 1,000 sales in one day
    4. To reach the Top 100 Paid Books Lists in a smaller category, you will need between 30 to 300 sales in one day
    5. You must know
      1. Which Bestseller List is a realistic target
      2. Which Bestseller List you are going for
      3. Exactly how many sales you need
  4. Target for 2 to 3 times the number of sales that are required
    1. Often things go awry
    2. Do not plan for perfection
    3. Plan for things going wrong
    4. Set a target of 2 to 3 times the number of sales that you need to become a bestseller
    5. When things go wrong, as they will, you still will have a good chance of becoming a bestseller
  5. Have everything set up well in advance
    1. Lots of marketing venues sell out weeks in advance
    2. Some marketing venues require time to understand how to use them well
    3. Almost no marketing venues take last minute requests
  6. Focus on getting reviews in as early as possible
    1. The earlier you get your reviews, the more you will sell
    2. Fake reviews will kill sales. No reviews is better than fake reviews
  7. Focus on getting sales in as soon after launch as possible
    1. The first week is the absolute best time to set up your marketing push for
    2. The first two weeks after launch are the golden period, when store algorithms will boost your book if it starts seeing good sales from your marketing efforts
  8. Make sure you target all your efforts on reaching Bestseller Status
    1. 500 sales spread out over two months will do almost nothing
    2. 100 sales focused on 1 or 2 days will get you Bestseller status in most of the smaller categories
    3. You cannot hit two birds with one stone
      1. If you focus too much on ‘sustainable sales’ at the beginning, you will almost always miss out on Bestseller Status
      2. If you focus on ‘making back everything I spend’ there is a real risk you will miss out on Bestseller Status
  9. Make sure you market the book ethically
    1. Obvious illegal tactics like buying books yourself is not OK
    2. Even borderline tactics like asking friends and family to buy during your push are not OK
    3. Paradoxically, the less you try to ‘cheat the system’ the higher the chance you will actually become a bestseller
      1. Please remember that since Jan 2008 to now (Mar 2020), authors have tried every possible illegal tactic to game the ebook stores
      2. Whatever illegal methods you use, will usually not work, or worse, they will get your legitimate marketing removed
      3. If you want to become a bestseller, you have to be 100% honest in your marketing methods

Marketing is a part of the Product – whether you accept it or not

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