Publishing a bestselling book certainly seems like a great accomplishment earned by a high-quality book, but appearances can be deceiving. Exactly how the bestseller lists are determined are closely held trade secrets by those who create them. We only know for sure that they’re based on sales during a specific period—a week or even a day depending on the list creator—and do not reflect long-term sales.
That piece of knowledge has allowed publishers and authors to game the system by arranging for mass quantities of their books to be purchased on specific days. In one extreme case reported in WORLD Magazine and picked up by the Los Angeles Times, an author’s church paid $210,000 to a marketing company that then purchased 11,000 copies of his book in a week to ensure the book made it on the Wall Street Journal and New York Times lists. Kind of ruins the credibility of the bestseller label, huh? The really sad part is how many consumers then bought a book they thought was worth reading because they saw it on one of those lists.
A slightly less extreme way to game the system is to blast everyone in your database and your social media channels to get them all to buy the book on Amazon on the same day. Then blast them repeatedly leading up to the day in question to remind them and build excitement. Somewhere between 1,500 and 5,000 of them will need to follow through on your promotions and buy the book. The exact number is a mystery known only to Amazon. The category in which the book listed is also important. If it’s an obscure category without a lot of competition, then becoming a bestseller for the day or hour is much easier.
With that in mind, should publishing a bestseller be your goal? Are you ready to spend that kind of time and money to get on a list?
Fuel for Your Marketing Program
A more realistic goal is using your book to fuel your purpose, attract your audience, and bring added value to your personal or business mission. That means taking time to make sure your book is written for and marketed to a core audience that represents your ideal client. It means examining your broader goals and making your book an integral part of your plan to achieve them.
The result is a highly customized product that engages your audience and leaves them wanting more of what you have to offer. If that sounds good to you, then you’ve found the right custom-publishing and supported self-publishing firm. SPARK Publications focuses on telling stories to support key outcomes. You don’t just want to publish a book, do you? What happens next? Where do you want your book to take you?
One Step on the Journey
If all you really want is to publish a book, see it on a bestseller list, and rest on your laurels, SPARK Publications is mostly likely not a fit for you. We do, however, wish you great success in your endeavors.
To those who seek to publish a book as the beginning of something greater—as part of a grander platform or as one step on an exciting journey—contact us.