10 Crucial Steps Authors Must Take To Secure Their Spot As A Bestseller
"I want to make the charts."
"I'm trying to get to number one."
"Make me a bestseller!"
I hear it time and time again. It's refreshing to see so many authors setting goals to have their literary pieces liked and read by the masses. The feeling of driving your release home by landing a spot on the bestseller's chart is riveting, enchanting. I've succumbed to the divine feeling with each release that I have launched into the public with pretty amazing responses. For this small fact, I am hopeful for current and aspiring authors because I know that it can be done. You're not aimless.
However, the charts won't come to you. You have to express your interest by putting in the necessary labor to secure your spot on them. With so many talented OR heavily supported authors climbing in reviews and page reads, you have to get in where you fit in.
I'll give you a little word of encouragement... As horrible as it may sound, you don't have to write a book that is bestseller worthy to make the bestseller's list -nowadays. It's obscene, but true. Now is a better time than ever to grab your spot on the charts. Here's how you can secure yours...
Side note: These steps are in no particular order of importance.
Collect emails, daily. Create an email list.
VERY IMPORTANT. Keep track of your readers, and help them to do the same with you. Start an email list with MailChimp, ConstantContact, ConvertKit, and other email providers. Lists help you inform your readers of upcoming releases, discussions, and any other helpful information surrounding your upcoming/latest release. Links to your releases can be attached, helping them to obtain your books faster. With your readers being an email away, it's easier to spread news quicker, and more effectively.
Invest in your cover designs + graphics.
They say don't judge a book by it's cover, but let's face it... It happens.
You want to be sure that you're investing in graphics that represent you as a brand and your characters as well. Amazing graphics make people curious, or intrigued at the least. Either way, their interest is peaked, and this is what you want!
Don't be cheap. Invest in quality, not quantity. The entire package matters in the end, even when it seems as if it doesn't. You want to look the part when it's time to play the part. Steer clear of trashy, LOW QUALITY graphics that are not aligned with the goals that you're attempting to reach. I can't stress this enough. Luckily, I make my own graphics, other than my Urban Romance covers. Brittani Williams makes the complicated covers that I can't, while I create my Romance covers. Graphics, they're all done by me.
Many have the excuse of not having the funds to invest in high quality graphics, but excuses are assholes... Everyone has them. Babies don't come out of the p*ssy walking, but they learn, right? Exactly. If you can't afford expensive graphics, then I suggest you utilize the many FREE graphic design websites such as Canva and PicMonkey and learn to create your own.
Let's take Love Belvin for an example. Check out her social media, and the graphics that she invested in for The Wayward Love Series! She has the full package, no stone unturned.
Another example is Christina C Jones. She does not half step even a bit when it comes to graphics. She's perfection in the graphic department.
Connect with other writers. Support other writers.
Connections are the root to success. Don't debate me. Debate your mother. (just kidding... a little). Come out of your shell, and mingle with authors who have the same agenda as you. Connect with others that you can bring value to and vice versa. The saying that implies we're more forceful together than apart is correct in this case.
Share links, it only takes a second. Congratulate others on their accomplishments. Read other's work. Show genuine interest in your fellow authors. The support will be returned, and you'll be introduced to their reader base by default. This opens a chance for you to capture their audience and bring them along your team as well.
Have a decent website/home for your readers.
Give your readers a home. This is important because social media can be a bit confusing or frustrating when searching for information about you. Between shares, reposts, tags, uploads, and posts your important information about books as such as links, release dates, and so forth can be lost in the sauce. As for your website, if it's updated consistently, they will find all the things they need to know about what you're working on/have worked on in one place.
Also, having a website screams that you mean business. This is not a drill or a test. You're serious about your craft. If ever a big name comes searching for you, they shouldn't have to dig through your social media. A pretty nice website that they can discover the person behind the brand will be a more professional stance than nothing at all.
Offer snippets, sneak peeks, and teasers.
Give your readers something to look forward to. Let them know what they're in store for. Drive their anticipation levels up the wall! Give them just enough to peak their interest, and then leave them hanging. Sorry. That's just the way it works. When choosing sneak peeks, think of the movie trailers, and how they play with our emotions.
On your amazing website, tap off a spot for your readers to grab a glass of wine and indulge in snippets of your upcoming releases. I used to send sneak peeks through emails, and discovered that it wasn't anything to hold on to. That's when I had just started up until I realized I needed something more solid... tangible... something readers could return to or new readers could always find.
EX. If I send out a sneak peek through email in May for my upcoming release, and then get at least 200 new subscribers and readers within a few months... The new 200 will not have access to the sneak peek I sent out months prior. Gosh darn. being that they are new, they probably haven't read my past releases. Now, I don't really have the chance to entice them with sneak peeks, because they're already sent out.
If I only post sneak peeks on my website, at any given time readers can view them. New readers can sift through my collection of sneak peeks and discover new stories that they never knew existed. They'll be just as interested as when I first posted it for readers that I had already acquired at the time it was released.
Lastly, the readers have a chance to leave responses, likes and comments. By others seeing these responses, you have a more heightened level of interest. They want to know what the raving is about.
Create a release campaign/promotional + marketing schedule.
I lend 30 days to each of my books. Within the 30 days, I create a calendar that keeps me up to speed on my releases, and what I have planned for them. Your release campaign is just that... A campaign for your book. Find qualities about your release that will resonate with the audience, and use them to sway them.
Release campaigns consists of teasers, sneak peeks, emails, cover releases, release day announcements, social media posting, and countdowns.
Within release campaigns, I schedule a date for each of my products, mockups, graphics, mentions, sneak peeks, teasers, and so forth to be released to the public. I stretch the campaign to reflect the amount of days I'll need to publicize my release before the actual day comes. I also leave some material for posting after it's released.
Automate informative posts with important release information.
If you're anything like me, then you are forgetful. The solution to this problem is fairly easy. Use automated systems to schedule your posts. This way, no matter where you are or what you're doing. your post will be made. Be sure that posts you're creating are reflective of your release, keeping your readers in the know.
You have options as far as platforms go...
Buffer. Hootsuite. Later. + More.
Start a reading group.
Pretty much self-explanatory. Start a reading group so that you can communicate with your readers in one place. Assign group admins if you can't personally be there to interact with them everyday. You want to make sure that your admins have access to you when the groups members don't, because they can relay important information from you or two you.
Another reason that a group is amazing is because there are a plethora of people genuinely interested in you that are confined to one space. They will make conversation amongst each other and potentially delegate the task of acquiring new readers amongst one another. If your group is a lovely escape, they'll invite friends, and they'll read your books -becoming enthralled just as their buddy is.
Reading groups are also important for discussions about books and a way to introduce new material.
Reach out and talk to your readers OFTEN.
Don't treat your reader like a 'FAN' so to say if you are able to reach out to them then do so. Do not disconnect yourself from their world. Tap into who they are, and become interested in them as people. Celebrate them often! Find your way into their inboxes. Ask them about their day, their likes, their dislikes, their everyday life.
In return, you can write more relatable books that hits home, and they'll be ready to tell them world about it. As well, they feel as if they matter -and they do! It's a give and take situation. You shouldn't just take their coins without showing them some sort of gratitude.
The more you focus on your flock (directly or indirectly), the bigger it becomes.
Create a space for your BETA readers.
Create a space for your betas. These are the people who test your stories, storylines, help you research, give you insight, and are completely honest with you. This is your team... Communicate with them often, and be very open about your projects. Here is where you can finally converse and let out all of those thoughts that you've been having about upcoming releases and get genuine feedback.
This has to be the longest blog post that I've ever written. It's probably riddled with mistakes, and at this point proof reading it is not an option. Sue me.
Yet, I hope that you find it in your heart (after I've killed me f*cking fingers) to like, comment, and share this post on social media platforms.
My wish is that every deserving author sees the charts one day. The work isn't easy, but it's worth it.