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Getting your book on the bestseller lists

Updated on February 27, 2010

Publicity Sells Books

How often have you encountered people who have “just finished writing a book”? In fact, wherever you go, you will find budding writers with the hope and aspiration that their book will make it on the list of international bestsellers. But, the chance of recognition is very slim. What’s the reason? Figures released by R. R. Bowker, the company that compiles the Books in Print database and assigns ISBN's (International Standard Book Numbers) show that a new book of fiction is published in the United States every 30 minutes. Even if you don't count the titles published through print-on-demand and other fee-charging, vanity-press-type outfits, the total still comes to 10,000 books a year -- or one book published every hour or so. Moreover, that's just the fiction.

With the sheer volume of books being published, marketing becomes crucial to an author’s success. It’s not enough to craft the perfect tome. You have to get in the spotlight. So what is the secret of best-selling authors?

Publicity. They aren’t just in the news. They are the news.

Getting in front of the Media

Virtually every month, piles of press kits, book excerpts, and pitches inundate media producers, waiting their turn in a mountain of paper on the producers’ desk. Not only do they have to read these press kits, and pitches, but also they have to produce the show or publication itself - their patience is tested to the limit.

So how did they get the media’s attention?

If you want to publicize your book and get it on the list of best sellers, you have to meet the media face to face. There are several options. You can attend events at a press club. There are several on the local and national level. The National Press Club site lists many that you can join as an associate member.

If your book focuses on a non-fiction topic that relates to an industry, you can seek out the press at related conventions and trade shows. Search the internet for trade shows or conventions related to your topic. Contact the event organizers and find out where the press office is. Find out which media are attending. Connect with them as they sign in at the office. Pitch reporters as they walk the show.

The bottom line is if you want publicity, you have to put yourself in a position to get famous.

Other Publicity Tips

Besides meeting the media, you can also do a couple of other things to publicize your books.

  • Use a publicist to sell your books
  • Get your book endorsed by celebrities
  • Release your book on a relevant day
  • Embark on an e-marketing campaign
  • Speak at businesses, colleges, universities and other organizations on the topic of your book

The important thing is to cultivate and maintain relationships with the media. Publicity sells books. The more potential customers you can reach, the better you chance of success gaining a coveted spot on those best seller lists.


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