Writing a book is a dream that many nurture. With the emergence of e-books, and their increasing popularity, we are now many steps closer to becoming published authors. Still, even though anyone can write a book on anything and self-publish it nowadays, of what use is a book that does not get read? And obviously, not every book receives the same amount of praise from readers. Some books make it to the bestsellers list while many languish in the unknown and hidden databases of online portals and eventually fade into oblivion. So what is it that makes an e-book a bestseller? After considerable research and thought, here are a few pearls of wisdom that I have gleaned; if you are one among the many trying to break that ice ceiling and take your book into the exclusive bestsellers club, you could benefit by going through some of the points that I have outlined here.
Clear the Fuzz First
Before you even start tinkering with the idea of an e-book, you need to put enough thought to what is it that you really want to achieve. Ask yourself why you are writing this e-book. Is it to tell something compelling to the world? Is it to make money or to receive publicity? Clarity on what you want to achieve out of your endeavor will help you focus better on what you want to write and how you want to write it. It will also give you a finite and tangible goal to work towards and keep at bay those self-doubts that pounce upon those who write unplanned.
Get Your Subject Right
Obviously, a book becomes a bestseller when people like it. Writing on a topic that makes a casual reader sit up and take notice ensures that the e-book attains maximum reach. To help you zero in on your topic, your best bet is the social media. Blog asking leading questions, run polls on Facebook or Twitter, send out emails to the people you know, or just get out there and talk to people. Whatever you do, gauge what people feel the most about and what they want to know about. All successful e-book writers vouch for this piece of advice – Ask not what you want to write, but what the readers want to read if you want your book to be a bestseller.
Draw the Traffic
Continuing with the previous tip, the importance of researching and choosing a great topic just cannot be undermined. One way the worldwide web makes this easier for us writers is with the help of Google the Omniscient. Use the Google keywords planner to find out what topics are garnering the maximum searches. Topics like ‘autism’ or ‘credit score’ fetch nearly 20,000,000 and 60,000,000 search results respectively. Meaning, there is quite a huge audience for books written on these topics. So, if you write an e-book on topics such as these, chances are that you will draw big traffic to your book, and will be able to convert a considerable number of it into successful buy-ins.
So you’ve chosen a topic that has great traffic potential and you have researched all that you can about that topic. What do you do next? Do you pour all that you’ve learned into the pages of your e-book? If you do not want to end up with an e-book that reminds you of the kitchen sink, you better sort out the info that goes into your book and the info that does not. A fact that might seem amazing to you might carry no meaning for the reader. Determine the primary focus area of your book and stick to it, resisting the temptation of putting it all out there for the world to see. Focus and simplicity are two very important words to keep in mind when writing that book of yours.
Title is Your Key
The title and the book cover are the first things a potential buyer notices about your book. Having a title that confuses the reader or offers no clue as to what the buyer can expect inside the pages can cause the reader to drift away. Your title must assure your readers that you have something important to say to them and that they stand to benefit by listening to you. E-bestselling author Neolani Rodriguez claims that if you have a hot title, you are already half the way to getting a reader buy your book.
Be Loyal to Quality
Whether you publish on your own or through a publishing house, the quality of your work is something you can never compromise on. The traditional publishing process involves a set of editors, attached with the publishing houses, who turn your manuscript upside down and ensure that the quality of what gets published is at par with the best. They wash, rinse and scrub writings with such brutal sincerity that it sometimes makes the author cringe; but it also ensures that the final golden copy that comes out is the best. In digital publishing too, if you publish through an established publishing house that brings in its own editorial experience, you don’t have much to worry. But if you are self-publishing, then you need to make sure your book is well edited. The readers who go all the way to make the payment and buy your book deserve to be treated to some quality writing, not poorly strung sentences and glaring grammatical goop thrown at them. A good quality book will ensure success, not just for the present book but also for subsequent books that you write.
Promote, Connect and Network
The other day, on a public forum, someone commented, “Writing is just 5% of the job, promoting is the rest.” While I do not completely agree with that, I do know that promoting your book, connecting with your audience and developing a great network with writers and readers alike goes a long way in getting the word out about your book. That doesn’t mean that you go hawking your book every day and in every conceivable platform. It means establishing a relationship with your audience, talking to it at various levels, and generating interest in what you have to offer in a subtle way as opposed to direct and explicit peddling.
Self-published e-books are increasingly becoming very successful (and earning huge amount of dough for their authors). Even established authors are now self-publishing. So if you have a good idea and title, the ability to write simply and engagingly, and the will to put in hard work to promote your e-book, dive right in.