Seven Tips for Producing and Promoting a Best-Seller

Radical changes are sweeping the publishing industry that bring huge advantages to writers. But authors still must turn out an excellent product -- and promote it vigorously.

Here are seven things to remember when promoting your book:

(1) Books don't sell themselves, as most writers sooner or later figure out, often too late.

(2) You need an excellent product aimed at a (preferably narrow and identifiable) target audience that is already predisposed to want to read what you're writing. They just have to hear about it. Chess books to chess players. Civil War books to Civil War buffs, and so on.

(3) You have to find media, forums or other places where the target audience congregates and plant yourself in front of them. Consider talks to specialized groups, articles in specialized magazines or newsletters or blogs, forum postings, as well as radio and TV interviews, particularly on special-theme shows.

(4) The most expensive and best marketing campaign in the world will not move a badly conceived or poorly done book.

(5) If you have a non-fiction book, take your specialized subject and be sure to give that topic a new twist, so there is (temporarily) no real competition in the marketplace, even though your overall genre is filled with titles.

(6) The traditional publishing model is rapidly disintegrating. Massive book returns from the stores, once the plague of writers and publishers, is disappearing along with the old system. In Amazon's Kindle e-book program, there are virtually no returns. Also on the way out is the secondary market undercutting, often fatally, your print sales. With e-books locked to individual Kindles, there is no pass-along readership. Books don't end up in the used markets that then piggyback on your publicity and promotion efforts and reduce your sales. Lastly, e-publishing writers now have a way around the traditional gatekeepers at the editorial houses. No longer does an editorial bottleneck stand between writers and their audiences. It's a Brave New World, infinitely friendlier to the long suffering and struggling author.

(7) In-depth research is critical, whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction. I recall one best-selling author in the 1970s who spent three years on each novel. One year for research. One for plotting. One for writing. Before the writing starts, organize your material in file folders, with a folder for each section of an individual chapter. In short, good research not only leads to better books but to much better interviews promoting those books. And, therefore, more sales. What's more, research is a great tonic for writer's block: What you're going to say is already there in your notes.

John Ronner -- Articles on writing and publishing, stemming from John's quarter century of experience as a self-published and commercially published author. John Ronner published his first magazine article at age 15 and has 140,000-plus books in print in three languages. John's latest book, The Angel Library, is available from for download to Kindle e-readers and combines three of his best-selling books in a searchable, digital format.

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