How to market a bestseller in five easy steps … sort of

It’s always a puzzle how some writers hit the big time, and others struggle to be noticed.  That’s about to change for you, my literary friend, with these five easy tips for how to market your way to the best-seller list!

Step 1. Who are you? A best-selling writer needs a strong identify. Adopt a pen name so that you will share shelf space in book stores and libraries with best-selling authors. Then, when readers have run through all the Stephen King, they can run right into the books by … James Kingston! It helps to be writing in the same genre, so if you pen adventure stories consider writing under the name Robert Custer—you’ll be right next to the Clive Cussler!

Step 2. Whoever first said that you can’t judge a book by its cover was completely right … and so completely wrong. A cover says a lot about the content of one’s book and can send subliminal messages to readers. If you have any say in the matter, be sure to go with a bold color—red is best if you’ve written a thriller. Why? Walk through the shelves of your bookstore or library and notice the colors of books by Daniel Silva, Tom Clancy, and other “name brands.” Red gets read.

Step 3. Make sure your main character is a vampire … or a werewolf … or a mermaid. One would think this trend had run its course, but readers never seem to tire of blood-sucking vamps or various mythical creatures. Can’t seem to successfully pitch that bake shop mystery that features recipes for blueberry muffins? Time to “raise the stakes” and re-write it as a bake shop vampire mystery with recipes for red velvet cake. Look out, Charlaine Harris! Another recent variation is to write books about trolls and faeries, and while it’s true that some people do choose to read about trolls and faeries, just as some people choose to drive a Prius, give us a good-ol’ bloodsucker any day instead.

Step 4. The title can also make a big difference. Again, the motto here should be “don’t mess with success.” My recommendation is to go with a title that contains the word “daughter” or “wife.” If you check the best-seller list, you can see that other authors have had a great deal of success with titles such as “Ahab’s Wife,” “The Beekeeper’s Daughter,” “American Wife,” and so on. There’s room for more! This is a crowded field, but there is always a way to be creative. “The Wal-Mart Greeter’s Wife” or “The Stamp Collector’s Daughter” aren’t taken yet, for example, and you may have them for free. BONUS: Give your book a title along the lines of “The Cheesemaker’s Wife’s Daughter” for added sales. With luck, your wife’s daughter’s step-sister’s aunt’s best friend may just give it a good review on amazon.com!

Step 5. Finally, this last bit of advice overlaps somewhat with tip number five, but let’s just make it very clear that you can’t go wrong to title your book “Fifty Shades of (fill in the blank here)” or similar variations. Throw in a few lurid sex scenes  and you’ve nailed it, so to speak. (Just make sure your mom doesn’t get her hands on a copy.)

There you go, valuable free advice on writing a bestseller. Take it for what what it’s worth, which isn’t much! And make this the summer the best-seller list happens for you!

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