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All Things Writing & Publishing > Can every book be a well seller?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments We discuss here a lot marketing and promotion and other intricacies of writing and publishing biz, but we tend to overlook that marketing won't help something non-marketable. Lit agents, in my opinion, look mostly at marketability these days and some have a sense for books that would sell in the niches they know. Not sure indies have that sense too, especially regarding their own books.
I pretty much agree that every book has people that would like it. The question is how many. I'm not surprised to see something that I thought was sub-standard or silly getting high ratings and selling well and the opposite examples too.
However the more niche/less mainstream the book the harder to find the audience that would be interested in reading it and enjoying it.
For some books, if there were a possibility to screen all the readers and match for it, let's say 50K sounds a lot but to find them in hundreds millions of readers is virtually impossible. To sell well the book needs to have a potential to be liked by many mils of people, in my opinion.
Just to demonstrate how drastically the readers' potential diminishes: it seems that 3/4 of the books are read by women, so if you have a primarily men's book, you've already lost a big chunk of the market, furthermore - if you have profanity - you lose another half of the remaining, no "happy end" - another per cent drops and so on... How many will remain after you slice all 'no-s'?
So we say 'good' or 'bad' book is subjective, but marketable or not - it's another story.
Most indies don't have someone who'd say, like a football coach to a crying kid: "listen boy - you've no future as a footballer, go to college" and many, believing in the stuff they've written, try to push any way possible. Local successes may happen, but in the long run - a lot of wasted efforts and sometimes - money.
I know, I know, my post lacks excitement, but I'm sure there are more optimitic folks that would easily counter the above assumptions -:)
What do you think? Does every book have a well-selling potential? How to know?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I wonder sometimes about books that fit within a narrow niche. I actually think it is much easier for authors like that to identify their markets. For example, if your book is about a librarian who shelves books during the day and fights crime at night it might be easier to find readers than it would be if your book was just about a spy. If you wrote a cookbook for vegans who are also expecting moms then you know exactly where to target. I think the broader categories, however, get visibility with hard work and a lot of luck.


message 3: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2151 comments Sounds like you have a cozy mystery there. :D


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments J.J. wrote: "Sounds like you have a cozy mystery there. :D"

Yes, lol. People love CM. a well written one can be successful because people grow close to the characters.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments J.J. wrote: "Sounds like you have a cozy mystery there. :D"

A mystery - yes! Not always cozy though -:)


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Nik wrote: "What do you think? Does every book have a well-selling potential? How to know? "

Absolutely. This is the great advantage of the Internet - if you know how to market. Finding 50,000 people that would like to read your novel through-out the world is not tough. The question becomes can you deliver the product. Not everyone speaks English, so are you ready to have your book translated in multiple foreign languages to chase them. That's expensive. Translating the novel into 10 languages in very expensive. Translating your website into 10 languages in also very expensive. Translating your audio book into 10 languages is even more expensive.

This is where traditional publishers really have an advantage.

But if you want to have a best selling book worldwide, you have to think like a traditional publisher.

Selling to only the English speaking market limits your sales. Think globally and not just the English speaking globe.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9737 comments From experience, the problem with writing niche books is how to get the target readers to know about it? This is particularly difficult if the target market is not the sort who flood the social media.

I think it comes back to why you re writing. If it is to make huge amounts of money, I am afraid you have to do the sort of things that were done by those who succeeded. Tom Clancy got nowhere until the Reagans publicly liked one of his books. How do you manage that? Yes, it has to be good enough that it will be liked, BUT the next step is by far the more difficult, or more dependent on outright luck.


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Michael wrote: "This is where traditional publishers really have an advantage...."

I hear now the trads go big on branded authors and proven sales record only, with less known and debut - they are much more reserved, allocating some launching budget and promo effort (which some of them really know how to do) and seeing whether a book gains traction.....
If a book passed through a sifting of lit agents and publishers, one would expect only bestsellers in the bookstores, but even there most titles struggle to sell, it seems...

Ian wrote: "Tom Clancy got nowhere until the Reagans publicly liked one of his books. ..."

Yep, heard that one. Miraculous, isn't it? Wonder whether I should send a copy to Hillary and Donald now -:)


message 9: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments I thought Tom Clancy got in trouble for knowing too much or divulging too much in the books or something like that lol


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Yeah, the trouble is called - bestseller -:)


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Nik wrote: " I hear now the trads go big on branded authors and proven sales record only

They do. That wasnt my point. My point was that you can find a market for your book, even if its niche, by putting it out and marketing it in numerous languages. Which requires money, that indies dont usually have.

Im debating translating my book into Italian since 25% of my web traffic coming from Italy. If I took the time and spent the money to translate my website into French, Spanish and Italian and then market it in those languages I know I would pick up additional sales. The question is how many... not if.


message 12: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Allowing for a quarter of traffic, in your case translating into Italian makes a lot of sense, while other languages are a little less obvious.


message 13: by E.M. (last edited Oct 05, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

E.M. Thomas | 86 comments Unless I missed it (and I'm on very little sleep, so I certainly may have), I don't know that we ever defined what a well-seller is. If the question is, can any book be number 1 on an Amazon list, and all other things about the book being equal (i.e. well-edited, written, etc.), I'd say the answer is yes. That is largely influenced by Amazon's algorithms.

If the question is, can every book sell 50,000 copies, then I half-agree with Michael - with enough money, time, and effort, it can be achieved. However, I think the better question is can every book make you 50,000 sold books worth of profit. To that, I say no.


message 14: by M.L. (new)

M.L. The advice that comes by is if you don't think you can you're probably right.
That said, there is the bottom line. I don't know how often that is taken into consideration. But, if you sell a zillion books and it costs 2 zillion to do it, is that a well seller? Yes, but it is not a well earner. :-)


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Even some NYT Best Sellers bought their way to the top.

Buying your way to a best seller isnt hard. Profitability is.


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Does every book have a wellseller potential? What do you think?


message 17: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments Michael wrote: "Even some NYT Best Sellers bought their way to the top.

Buying your way to a best seller isnt hard. Profitability is."


You don't even have to do that. Most of the indie authors that pronounce "Best Seller" did it this way (sourced from the site of an author I was editing books here on GR for earlier today):
"I made the USA Today bestsellers list at #138 with a group of InkHeart Authors in a boxed set called LOVE EVER AFTER! My first cowboy romance entitled Longing For Langston was one of the books included in that boxed set, and I've since written two more books in that series."

That box set cost $0.99 (the lowest you can price on Amazon) and contained 11 books from 11 authors, which is the kind of bargain many people will click on just on the chance they like one or two of the included books. So it sold enough to get to #138, and every single one of them is now a "USA Today Best Selling Author" in every book description they post.


message 18: by Alex (last edited Oct 30, 2017 08:58PM) (new)

Alex (asato) This post and your 3 other ones of a similar nature are spam. As I'm sure you're aware, it is against the Goodreads ToS to post spam. Spam interferes with the goals of Goodreads.


message 19: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Lundgren | 16 comments Actually, I didn't think it was spam. This is a service that I think is valuable for writers and seemed to fit the topic, but if links of that nature are considered spam, I'll be sure to not post any thoughts of this nature and avoid links. I read the rules for the group, and I had understood that links were acceptable? But perhaps I was wrong.


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Can every book become a wellseller?


message 21: by Anne (new)

Anne Attias (anneattias) | 50 comments How do people achieve high volume sales and get known mainstream? Are there tricks of the trade or social media platforms to target? My readers enjoy my books so far but I don't know how to reach more. Any advice welcome. Seasons greetings


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13758 comments Maybe that's the way to sell books: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo... :)


message 23: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments Nice to see you again, Alex!


message 24: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 2845 comments The short answer is yes. The longer and more accurate answer is maybe. There are certainly best sellers that are written to be best sellers or the writer is so well known, them publishing a book makes it one. But there are also those books that catch fire for various reasons and this I think is where the rub is. I think word of mouth is still very relevant and once in a while a book comes along and catches the public attention. This can certainly happen within narrower areas, not so much a best seller, but well known within the community it was aimed.


message 25: by Bhtnews (new)

Bhtnews | 1 comments Hi, I think there are various reasons to increase the sales on social media by using simple social tools which may also help to boost sales, it is because it's an era of social media, everyone in the world using one of the social platforms like, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, etc.


message 26: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Graham (andrewjamesgraham) | 11 comments I think any book could be the author just has to find the right readers.


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