How to Write a Best Seller: Practical Advice

Oddly, this says nothing about the quality of the writing or much about the genre.



The Spanish edition of The Istanbul Puzzle

Writing a bestseller – with sales of over 100,000 – is both an art and a craft. The skills of a writer and the techniques of marketing need to be applied. Here are some of the the things I learned on a fourteen year journey to seeing The Istanbul Puzzle not only published, but also translated into 10 languages with sales of over 100,000, including ebooks, at my last royalty statement.

1. Write a series. Readers like to have more than one book to read if they like the main character. They should like the characters to. And price the first one real cheap, once you have another one out, to get people reading with a low entry cost.

2. Write about popular themes. Love, adventure, crime are all popular. Reveal something too. Your voice will come through in the things you reveal.

3. Write shorter. 50-70k words is okay these days. If you have written a 150k blockbuster break it in two.

4. Get a great cover. Look at the top 100 books on Amazon. That’s what you are aiming for, not amateur night. Self published books with poor covers will sell close to zero. If you haven’t got the ability to pick a great cover, most readers will assume your writing is amateur too.

5. Pay for a good edit. Yes, you may be able to pick out the spelling errors, but a good editor will tell you the things you can’t see about your own work.

6. Create a blog well in advance of your launch. Write posts that are related to your book’s themes, settings and characters. Make the posts short – 300 words or so – have a picture or two with each and make it look well.

7. Use a diary (update – a calendar to tell you where to post each day)  and post links to your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Goodreads. If you don’t have much time just update Twitter and Facebook constantly, and use to do this in seconds.

Before my first novel sold to Harper Collins I paid twice to have it edited. I am now writing shorter, which was the only one of the above I initially fell down on.

I can’t say this is a formula that is guaranteed to work, but you will improve your chances if you do all the above.

And if you want help reaching readers once your book is out have a look at our low-cost high-value book marketing services here. Some of our authors are doing very well.


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