There is no magic spell. There is no secret knowledge. There is no special marketing strategy.
I can't tell you how to become a bestselling author because NO ONE KNOWS HOW. Just think about it. If there were some magic formula, everyone would be doing it. OR whoever had the formula would be hoarding it in a secret underground location.
But that formula doesn't exist.
I hate math. I really do. I don't keep track of my sales numbers. I couldn't tell you how many books I sold on x day during x time. Sometimes I think that I should keep track of these things, but there are web sites for that (booktrackr). In general, I avoid math as much as I can. But then I see these authors making marketing and selling books into some complicated mathy thing that makes me want to run and hide under a rock.
Some people thrive on the numbers. It makes them feel secure. That's fine. Rock on, numbers people. And then there are those of us who get totally overwhelmed and want to give up before even starting.
Well. I'm here to tell you that writing isn't complicated. Becoming a bestselling author isn't as complicated as people seem to want to make it.
When I sat down to write My Favorite Mistake, I wasn't thinking about whether or not I should invest in a BookBub ad, or when the best hour to tweet a teaser graphic was to get the most views, or what I should price the book at.
I was thinking about the story. Nothing else. I was too consumed by the story to think about anything else. I did nothing but write for weeks. I drank a lot of Monster and didn't get much sleep and didn't see my friends. I didn't think about marketing. Not even after I'd finished the book and had it edited. I had no plan. I didn't make teaser graphics. I didn't solicit blurbs from other authors. I didn't even have a professional cover. I made one myself. I formatted the book myself. I put it up on Amazon and figured whatever would happen, would happen.
I'd tried marketing strategies before with my other books. I'd done ARCs paid advertisements and tweets and all sorts of things. None of them worked. But then, out of the blue, the book started to sell and people started messaging me about how much they loved it. I was shocked. How could this book sell with no marketing plan? I'd done the opposite for this release than I had for any of my previous releases.
And then the book REALLY started to sell. And my mind was officially boggled.
I'd done nothing special to sell this book. For all intents and purposes, it shouldn't have sold as well as it did.
But then I did and I realized that the main reason for a book becoming a bestseller has absolutely nothing to do with me. Call it luck, call it timing, call it lightning striking. Whatever it is, I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER IT. The only thing I CAN control is the quality of the book. Write the best story I can. Write something that burns in my heart and my head and that makes me feel like I'm falling in love for the first time. And I can control the editing and the cover and formatting and price. But that's it. The rest? Not up to me.
Sure, I wrote a romance (which is always popular) in an emerging category (new adult). But there were a lot of other people doing the same thing at the same time. If I released the same book now, would it have done the same? No, I don't think so. That's not to say anything disparaging about my book, but, as I said, a LOT comes down to timing. When a certain genre or category is "hot." Usually, by the time something becomes popular, it's almost too late. This is NOT to say that you should write to a trend. If you're trying to force yourself to write something that's not true to who you are just to try and become a bestseller, then you're going to have a rude awakening.
I HAPPEN to like writing books that HAPPEN to be popular. I'm lucky. See that word again? LUCK.
I didn't choose to write romance. It chose me. I truly believe that I don't choose the stories I write. They choose me.
Once again, I'm very LUCKY.
Bottom line: I wasn't trying to write a bestseller. I was writing the story I couldn't get out of my head. The rest was luck, timing and a lot of stuff you can't quantify. So don't set out to write a bestseller. Set out to write the best book YOU can. The rest? Not up to you. So let it go. *insert Frozen singing here*
And here's a gif of a hot guy in glasses. For Reasons: