How to Become a Bestselling Author

How to Become a Bestselling Author

There is a lot of hype in the book industry when it comes to having a bestselling book. Owning the tag of a ‘best-selling author’ is prestigious and honorable. It does great wonders for your career by increasing the number of book sales you get and builds your personal brand, even more so if you are a self-published author.

But as the book publishing industry has evolved over time and integrated majorly with the digital world, the mechanics of what gives an author the bestseller status has become quite dynamic and different. This has made many people question the legitimacy of the ‘best-selling claims.’ 

Continue reading as we debunk how a writer becomes a best-selling author. Is there even any absolute truth behind bestsellers lists, the advantages of being on the best-sellers list, and the steps you can take to get a best-seller ranking?

What is a Best-seller List?

A best-seller list is a list of books that are noted for their well-performing selling status. This includes books by authors through traditional publishing as well as self-publishing.

It is not just one list that is considered worldwide, but many different best-seller lists that exist. 

Is there Truth Behind Bestseller Lists?

Various publications and platforms have their method of gauging and ranking books. A legitimate publisher tabulates book sales through a proper system. While the major metric used to evaluate a best-selling book is the number of book sales, no fixed numbers or metrics guarantee best-seller status for a book.

What makes a best-seller subjective is its genre, the platform it is being published on, and its available region. 

For example, let’s take the case of two books, namely Book 1 and Book 2. Book 1 is a book in the fiction genre, whereas Book 2 is in the self-help genre. Book 1 has sold over one million books, while Book 2 has sold 50,000 copies. Although book 2 has had very few sales compared to book 1, they have hit bestseller status. 

It is possible due to many different reasons, as mentioned earlier, such as the region they are sold in, the platform they are sold through, and the genre they belong in. 

Due to this very flexible nature of a best-selling book, you might witness a ton of books claiming to have the ‘bestseller’ tag. Plus, there’s not just one list for the entire world. A Best-sellers list is often published by leading newspapers or a major publishing house. The Wall Street Journal list, the New York Times bestseller list, National best-seller lists, Amazon’s ebook sales, and many other lists created by major publishing houses give room for a slew of different writers to claim the title of a best-selling author. This makes it confusing and sometimes makes people question whether such claims are even accurate. 

Many believe that authors pay publications and platforms to showcase their books in the bestsellers so that more people buy them. While we have no proof to confirm or deny this, it isn’t astonishing that there might be a slight amount of corruption in this world. Only an industry person from within could ensure or deny these allegations.

But to be fair, we believe that most best-selling authors are not people who publish titles directly and pay their way to the top. We say this because countless authors have indeed written excellent books that have spread organically over time, reaching millions, and it shows in their social presence and how famous they’ve become for their work

Advantages of Being on a Bestseller List

1. You’ll be able to sell more books –

No surprises here, right? If you receive a ton of book sales and get the best-seller tag, it’ll only help you further sell more books. It provides you credibility that makes people trust that your work will be worth their time and money. 

It is especially true for digital platforms like Amazon. When you publish your book on Amazon Kindle, the more book sales you get, the more their platform’s algorithm will push it to more readers who might buy your book. Amazon is the leading book and ebook seller on the internet with more than 80% market share. 

On digital platforms like Amazon, best-selling authors get increased visibility as it even helps the platforms earn through your sales and become an Amazon best-seller. The more visibility and sales you get, the more chances you get to be covered in the media and be featured on other platforms as a best-seller as well. 

Being on the Amazon best-seller list for self-published authors is an outstanding achievement as the competition is quite strict with millions of other books on the platform. 

2. Charge more for speaking, coaching, or consulting –

A significant part of being in the book business is the ability to transform your knowledge into transferable skills through public speaking, coaching, mentoring, selling courses, consulting, and so on.

Doing this as a bestselling author adds credibility to your personal brand and allows you to charge more for your expertise.

3. Receive more book deals –

When you reach a best-seller status on Amazon or other platforms, you get exposure to publishing houses from different countries. Seeing how successful your book is, they will start offering deals to pay you royalties if you give them permission to print your book in their regional language and sell it in their country.

This way, your book’s success is pretty much marketing itself for future growth. And guess what, you can do this even if you’re a self-publishing author. 

4. Attract new opportunities –

Getting a best-seller status can open up a host of new opportunities for you. Readers who are a part of a vast company may start contacting you asking for your services as a speaker, a blogger or podcaster might reach out to you asking for an interview with them, and even the possibility of hosting a TED talk might arise; you never know!

These are all opportunities that come your way when you have put in the hard work and efforts over the years to create a fantastic book that is helping you reap the benefits now. As a rule of thumb, always make sure that your Amazon author profile has links to your social media and email id so that people can reach out to you.

Steps to Become a Best-selling Author

As a self-publishing author, it might seem quite daunting to compete against famous authors who have been doing very well for decades. But what you must remember is that although you are competing with great authors for the top spot, you are first and foremost trying to write a good book. 

That is the basis for slowly making your way to the top. There is no shortcut. And although there is no shortcut to guarantee bestseller status, we do have some simple steps that’ll act as the north star for you to become a bestselling self-publishing author.

1. Select the bestseller list you need to be on –

For a digital platform like Amazon, this would mean understanding and selecting the correct genre under which your book fits. Amazon’s extraordinary catalog is filled with numerous genres, so you’ll have no problem finding the specific category your book should be in. Choosing this category is really important as it helps you get in front of your target readers who are most likely to consume, enjoy, and recommend your book to other people.

Considering Amazon is one of the biggest marketplaces for books, other media houses and publications will notice this if your book gets listed as a bestseller on it. It will surely lead you to be featured on many other bestseller lists.

2. Analyzing the competition –

The central part of analyzing your competition involves understanding the story of your book and seeing how it is different from what already exists. 

When it comes to genres like fiction, it is pretty uncommon to have too alike stories. While there may be similar elements, most fiction stories have their unique traits, characters, and other aspects that distinguish them.

But when it comes to genres like self-help, cookbooks, etc., you might find that the book you wish to write might already exist, or very similar versions indeed do. In this case, you need to analyze your competition and see what you bring to the different table? How do your writing skills and storytelling stand out? 

The answer to this usually lies in incorporating your perspective and life experience into the book to make it original and not just another option that provides the same story or information. 

An easy way to find out whether your book ideas already exist is to search on the internet. A quick google search returns all the relevant books and topics that people might have already published. Before you start writing your book, it would be wise to go through them and plan out how your book can be made different so that your story illustrates something new to offer the world. 

3. Writing a book that sells –

Any book that sells has three core aspects:

  • A Great Book Idea –

What is a ‘good’ book idea? Good is so subjective, right? So how do we gauge what is good and bad? 

You can do this by conducting small market research that involves friends, family, coworkers, colleagues, etc. All you have to do is create a book description of your book ideas and ask people how likely they are to read such a book if it existed. 

Based on the feedback, you’ll get a good idea of whether your book is worth writing or whether you need to tweak some things. 

  • The Creation of the Book –

While 90% of the success of your book lies in how well it is written, people won’t pick up and read your book if it is not packaged well.

The same way you prepare yourself for a date or an interview, there are certain presentable aspects of your book that will help it get noticed more:   

  • The book title 
  • The cover 
  • The formatting 
  • The quality of the book 
  • Stellar book descriptions

4. A good marketing plan –

We cannot stress enough how important it has become to create a good marketing tactic with a book launch event. (We’ll touch on this soon in the points below)

  • Building an author platform –

It ties in with creating a marketing plan for your book. The better you represent yourself on your Amazon profile, social media handles, and website, the more chances you get to sell your book.

  • Marketing your book –

A marketing company makes use of the best marketing tactics; inbound and outbound activities like paid social media ads, being a guest on famous podcasts, sending out free copies to relevant bloggers are all necessary to get the word out about your book’s launch.

  • Creating a solid book launch plan –

Get a community of people involved to launch your book. Create teasers, trailers, host interviews, be a guest, and be interviewed. Create as much hype around your book as possible; that is the best marketing tactic you have in hand. 

All the points you read above are part of the bestseller campaign blueprint. Follow them, and you’ll indeed witness success. Your book launch should include exclusive offers as the first few hours to the first week are essential to get a bestseller rating. 

How much do bestselling authors make?

According to an article by Byliner, a bestselling author can make at least $160,000 a year. But it all highly depends on the number of sales you make and the royalty percentage you receive. 

In the book world, millions of authors write books and publish them. It is a rare scenario where a book becomes a one-hit-wonder in the first week itself. At the same time, it is not impossible to publish books and make them the next bestseller. A great book and a solid plan can make it possible.

We hope you’ve gained quite a bit of clarity regarding how to become a bestselling author. Read more if you’d like to know how you can self-publish a book.

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