Being a writer in today’s digital age means there are more routes to publishing than ever before. No longer do you need a publishing deal or connections with printers and distributors: you can do it all yourself.
But can a DIY-approach to publishing result in that revered bestseller status that is the shining light atop the pinnacle of success for so many authors?
Let’s find out.
Is self-publishing worth all the effort?
Within the publishing industry, it’s generally agreed that the odds of an author getting their work published are between one and two per cent. Thankfully, when it comes to publishing business books, the odds are slightly higher than this.
In 2021, over 80 million business books were sold. That makes it the second largest adult non-fiction subject ever.
Your expertise has an audience. The hurdle to overcome is getting it out to them.
In case you missed it, here’s the rundown:
- You have full creative control including content, design, formatting.
- You control what objectives you’re working towards, whereas traditional publishers might have different objectives such as sales.
- You can cater to a niche market, whereas traditional publishers might be wary about targeting such a specific audience.
- It lays the groundwork for future relationships with traditional publishers by evidencing your quality of work.
- You keep full control over your rights.
The next question, then, is how can we make your self-published book a bestseller?
Put simply, it boils down to three things:
- The size of your audience
- The number of copies you sell
- How many good reviews you receive.
The final question is how do we achieve great results in these three areas?
Most people probably don’t need an introduction to Amazon, it being the largest online retailer in the world. But as a self-published author, you may need a reintroduction.
Using Amazon to self-publish your business book isn’t as daunting as it sounds, and it’s by far the easiest place for self-published authors to achieve bestseller status. In fact, since January 2022, 100 per cent of the self-published authors who worked with Write Business Results on their launch campaign have achieved bestseller status in at least one category (and usually many more!).
The process of uploading your book is relatively easy, but in order to leverage the full power of Amazon’s algorithm, we first have to understand it.
The Amazon Best Sellers list updates hourly, and the number of books needed to be sold varies according to the category (i.e., business, entrepreneurship, finance etc). Some categories may require as many as 3,000 copies to be sold in one day in order to appear in the top five, whilst others may be influenced by much fewer sales.
The Amazon algorithm uses lots of data to recommend relevant products to customers. It follows, then, that the more data you’re able to input about your book, the higher it will rank in the algorithm. Data relating to your book includes: keywords, genres, reviews, sales, downloads, and browse category (which categories most align with the content of your book).
It’s important to think carefully about your metadata. This is everything that makes your book the final product, for example: the title, the price, the description, and your author bio.
Rushing through these “final touches” might be tempting when you’ve invested so much time and energy into your book, but this data is what makes your book discoverable, and provides Amazon, Google and potential readers with a deeper understanding of what your book is about.
Four steps to bestseller status
There are several things we need to consider in order for your self-published book to be a bestseller:
1. The intention
The first step in achieving your goals is to set out exactly what they are. What do you want your bestselling book to do for you?
It could be to:
- Build a loyal and engaged audience
- Establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry
- Generate more leads, using the book as an ongoing marketing tool to be repurposed into blogs, podcast episodes, or lead magnets
- Open up collaborations and relationships with other experts
- Attract ideal clients.
These aims should underpin every piece of content in and around your book. There should be a consistent and easy-to-understand theme that tells readers and potential readers exactly what to expect from your book – and then delivers.
This will be the basis upon which you build your marketing campaign. How will a bestseller status help you to achieve your goals? It is from this perspective that the most effective and rewarding results will be generated.
2. The book itself
For a book to be a bestseller, the content needs to be well-edited. Whilst you’re the expert in your industry, proofreaders and editors can lend their expertise to ensure your knowledge is delivered at the most professional standard.
Consider these questions:
- Is your expertise delivered in a clear, concise, and actionable way?
- Do you have relevant examples and case studies you can draw on to evidence the real-world impact of your knowledge?
- Is your book actually helpful? Consider the most commonly asked questions you receive – these are great starter ideas for chapters.
- Is the writing educational, inspirational, and entertaining?
- Is your book easy to read? Your book should have a clear and logical structure, without extra fluff confusing your message. If your readers find it hard going, they’ll give up.
- Is it polished and error-free (or as close as you can get it)? You don’t want readers to get distracted from your message by typos.
- Does your book’s description highlight what’s in it for the reader, giving them a compelling reason to buy your book?
It’s not just the inside that matters, either – despite what we’ve been told, people do judge a book by its cover! In fact, the cover design of your book is one of the most important marketing assets: it’s the first impression you’ll make on a potential reader.
3. The audience
Unsurprisingly, a bestselling book needs to have a big audience. This should not be confused with a broad audience – in fact, the two are very different. Your knowledge will be most useful and impactful for the people it is aimed at, and in some cases that might be a relatively niche group.
However, there could be a lot of them! Thankfully, business books – unlike books about the migratory patterns of the Norfolk Bluethroats, for example – tend to have big audiences. There are lots of people out there who will benefit from your unique knowledge.
Before you even begin writing your book, and at all stages throughout the promotional marketing, you should be considering who your audience is and how best to engage them.
Luckily, as an entrepreneurial author, you have a superpower that most authors don’t have: you already know your audience inside out. You’ve worked with them for years, you’ve built your business on a deep understanding of their needs and concerns, and you know how best to communicate with them. These are all valuable tools you can use in your book and the content surrounding it to achieve that bestseller status.
4. The marketing
Effective book marketing is built on a clearly thought-out strategy, which includes high-quality valuable content, and evidences why your book is the solution to your audience’s needs.
It should span three stages:
- Publication day
For more information on how to execute an excellent book launch campaign, check out our recent blog exploring each stage in more detail.
Reviews are a great way to boost the discoverability of your book. The more positive reviews your book has, the higher it will rank in Amazon searches. Gathering reviews can be a difficult task – people are generally more likely to review something they don’t enjoy!
This is a great time to lean on your network: don’t overlook the people around you. As a business professional, you’ve likely spent many years networking and building great relationships with people in and around your industry. Now is the time to draw on these relationships. You can send out advanced reader copies, collaborate with other professionals, and ask for reviews within your promotional content.
If you’d benefit from expert guidance on your quest to bestseller status, get in touch with Write Business Results today. We offer free Clarity Calls where we can explore how our unique Bestselling Book Launch marketing campaign can be best leveraged to help you achieve your author goals.