|The first and last time I'll ever be shelved alongside John Green|
To publish a successful book, be sure you've got the following:
1. word of mouth (the everyday reader kind)
2. publisher support (this might come from a stellar marketing plan or in-house enthusiasm)
3. mysterious things out of everyone's control that are often unnameable and unknown (these also can "doom" a book, like having a release in the midst of a blizzard/flood/hurricane)
5. great trade reviews -- I'm not convinced everyday readers even know these exist, but librarians and booksellers certainly do (and often base their purchases on them)
6. a great cover
7. a lot of reviews by "regular" people at Goodreads, Amazon, on blogs, and the like (this connects back to #1, but is less organic, more strategic, and less powerful, I think)
8. ...and to give your book a second wind, make sure it's nominated for awards
486. author efforts
How much of a book's success is in the author's hands? Is it even possible to measure an author's promotional reach? The first question is easy: only the author's efforts are in her control. But do writers really live this way? The second question is the more challenging one. I know of no hard and fast evidence that shows how an author's promotional work affects overall sales, but I have to believe my one small voice doesn't have the power to influence as many people as the other things on this list.
So where does that leave me?
Strangely comforted, believe it or not. I can't make anything I write a hit. No one honestly knows how to make this happen, though we keep trying (and for those of us in publishing, it's part of our job to do so). What I can do, though, is focus on promotion that excites me and drop the need to try everything.
How much of a book's success do you think comes from an author's efforts? Anything you'd add to my list?