Marketing is Key to success!
The key to writing a best selling novel is to targeting a consumer segment that can be easily exploited. It is also important to align your writing tendencies with this target audience. Observing popular trends and cultural swells and then acting upon them is an important skill that should be developed and honed by a novelist. Best sellers are books that can garner attention while maintaining it as well, which is probably the harder piece of the puzzle. When deciding what kind of novel to write, a best selling author typically thinks about post publication strategies to not only extend the life of their intellectual property but to also capitalize through investments. Turning books into movies and merchandise are lucrative opportunities that only the best selling novels enjoy.
Marketing a novel is difficult to do because most of the value is perceived once it is read. The only other way to promote your book is through testimony, since you can’t physically demonstrate its value. Early buyers are the ones responsible for customer-to-customer marketing, and hooking on to a lot of them in the beginning of the novel’s life cycle is vital. Once a targeted consumer segment is effectively expoited, the novel’s path to the top of the best-selling list is history. Consumers within that segment will expose the material to other segments, effectively spreading the novel’s value like wildfire. This is the wondrous advantage of consumer-to-consumer marketing, and it comes at minimal cost to the author and the publisher. Of course, it is difficult to market a literary work to most segments, due to timing and the nature of the product.
Reviews from respected critics can bolster the perceived value of a novel and can be the difference between a selling a thousand copies or ten thousand copies. Humans are pack animals that enjoy recreation – these two qualities translate into a “monkey see, monkey do” behavior. A positive reaction to your book by a professional will ensure that a lot of people buy it, mainly due to status. Once more and more people start buying the novel, they will start to actually read it and gain value. Their enjoyment can then be spread to others who will do the same, promoting your novel to new heights.
A common strategy to add value to a novel after it has been spread to a large amount of targeted segments is to license its names and ideas to other companies for a royalty price or percentage of product sales using that license. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a great example of this strategy done right. Movies, clothing, toys, book spin offs, and even theme parks have been made using the Harry Potter name. It has gone as far to create a profitable culture amongst people of all demographics. The power may be in the story, but the longevity and profitability in a novel is how well its publication strategy is executed. There is more to a best-seller than just the rising action and the plot twists.