The Number One Spot

There is quite a huge difference between being just an author and being a bestselling author. Every author craves a Steven Spielberg film deal, an Oprah Winfrey endorsement and a New York Times Bestseller List debut. There are quite a number of bestseller lists, but the New York Times Bestseller List comes across as the most important. People view it as somewhat incorruptible and that gives it the number one spot.


The New York Times Bestseller List has a different metric system. Nobody knows exactly how it is compiled, since they’ve never disclosed the details, but it’s known among major publishers that the folks who compile this list get their data directly from bookstores, as well as from Nielson BookScan. BookScan is a compiled statistical survey, just like the TV ratings from Neilson and they claim to cover about 75% of all outlets. It depends decidedly on the type of book and at times the numbers can be way off.

The Domino Effect

Being on the New York Times Bestseller List gives you a sense of credibility that will stick with you forever. It’s comparable, for authors, to winning an Oscar. Just like George Clooney jokes about being named People Magazine’s sexiest man and winning an Oscar and how these titles will follow him to his grave and be included in his obituary. As a New York Times bestseller, whenever somebody formally introduces you, they will always start with that prestigious title. If you hit the New York Times Bestseller List, it will create a domino effect in your life – book sales, requests from foreign publishers, speaking gigs, and a bigger endorsement for your next book will follow each other in quick succession.

Writing an amazing book is just a very small part of achieving the title of New York Times bestseller. Here are some of the things that are obligatory before you can even think about joining this prestigious group.

The Compelling Book

You should at least believe you have written a masterpiece before thinking the New York Times Bestseller List is the place for you. Compelling writing is the hallmark of the majority of the bestsellers in the world. They may not be great works of art but there has to be something about them that grabs the public’s imagination.

Try Large Publishers

Large publishers have the eye for a book that has the je ne sais quoi factor. That’s why most of the books on the New York Times Bestseller List have already been taken up by a large publishing company. It is a cruel business, with catch 22s at every turn. You can’t get published unless you’re already published or you know the right people or are just incredibly fortunate that your work taps into the zeitgeist at exactly the right moment. Feel confident that a large, well-known publishing company may publish your book.

Taking Time into Account is Important

More often than not, the time between the submission of the manuscript and the actual publication of the book takes longer than expected. You have to be ready to go through this process. Even before the submission of the manuscript, unless you are very fortunate, you will have to send the synopsis of your book to prospective publishers. This is a rather painful activity after you’ve just spent a year or more writing your book. You just feel like scrawling on a page in big letters, maybe even in your own blood, ‘Just read the bleeping book.’ For many aspiring writers, the quality of their synopsis is just as important as the quality of their book.

An Outstanding Book Marketing Strategy

Unless you are riding on fame like Bill Clinton or you are a proven bestselling author like Tim Ferris, then you will have to do your own marketing. The publisher will not do much of the marketing since most of the books sell less than 500 copies. Even large publishing companies won’t devote much time and money promoting your book or even giving it significant shelf space, unless you did well during the pre-order period.

Marketing and Promotion Can be Achieved in the Following Ways:

– Conduct a robust pre-order campaign. As an author you can use social media like Facebook and Twitter to encourage potential readers to order the book. You can also arrange for speeches or media appearances so that you market your book. So many good books disappear without a trace because the masses don’t know about them. Encourage potential readers to buy the book ahead of the on-sale-date and they will be counted among the first week of sales.

– Remember that sales are tracked on a weekly basis and with a new week comes a new race to win. If you desire to get on the New York Times Bestseller List, it’s much better to sell, for instance, 1000 copies in one week than selling 1500 over a month.

– Send your book to as many editors of newspapers and magazines as you can, using official paper that has the logo of the publishing company on it. Hopefully, they will review it.

– Be careful not to launch your book in the same week as bigwigs in the same category, since it might affect your standing in subsequent weeks. Try to get a release date where your competition will be at its lowest.

– You can get companies or organizations to buy your book in bulk and give it out to attendees at a workshop or a speech.

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