Saturday, 3 August 2013

Revealing the Big Secret...

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t hear about the “secret" of turning your e-book into a best seller. There are people selling success checklists, courses on blurb writing, secrets of cover design, magical power words, secret knowledge and more, all over the place.

It becomes attractive to think “my book is good enough to be a success IF ONLY I  could find that secret extra factor that will catapult it into the big time". It’s comforting to think that you’re almost there, just one step from success.

So, do you want to know that secret? You do? Well here goes...

The BIG SECRET is...there is NO SECRET!

Obviously there are things you can do to enhance your chances:

  1. Make sure your book is perfectly written, but if we’re brutally honest it’s not necessary. Polish isn’t going to be the difference between a best seller and a non-seller.
  2. Have the best, most eye-catching cover you can.
  3. Develop the best blurb you can.
  4. Network as much as you can. Get as many  followers as possible on Twitter, Google+, Facebook etc.
  5. Pay a fortune on advertising (not worth it unless you REALLY know what you’re doing).

But none of these things individually will make much difference at all, and even doing all of them probably won’t lead to significant sales.

Here are the things you can do to drastically improve your chances of success:

  1. Be very, very lucky.
  2. Become a major celebrity outside of the book world and use your fame to promote your writing.

Don’t forget:

Stop trying to learn the “big secret". Keep writing - the more you write the better you’ll get. Keep networking - you can’t have too many contacts. Keep learning - no-one is going to kill you because you know too much. Don’t miss an opportunity to spread the word about your books. You may be a writer, but you have to keep your sales hat ready at all times. Don’t get demoralised. If you don’t try, you can’t succeed.

Oh and while you’re reading this, buy my books. (See - sales hat!)


  1. First off, I SO agree with you about the tired use of "secret to success" formula - although I would say that achieving success (read making money) blogging would easily beat out eBook sales for the largest market. Re your points 1 - 3 yep, yep, yep. However I disagree with #4 - thousands of followers won't do you a bit of good if they aren't interested in what you have to say. One of the biggest mistakes authors make is using the shotgun approach to marketing rather than focusing on a target audience. As far as luck - funny thing is the better prepared we are, the luckier we get. Definitely do NOT agree with the need to become a celebrity. There are actually writers who most of us have never heard of making a fine living publishing eBooks - that's because they learned the only strategy that truly counts is to focus on building a list of devoted fans to trust them, buy everything they write and keep their marketing engine going 24/7.

    1. You make some great points, Marquita.

  2. Nice post, Paul. Today as always a writer should be a good salesman as well.