Photo by Ariel Besagar, Unsplash.com
A lot of writers out there are wondering how to make it to the bestseller list. They think that writing an ambitious book will get them there. They are so wrong. Why? The answer is simple: if ambitious books were selling well enough to be called bestsellers, professors and doctoral degree graduates would have their work everywhere. While they usually sell 100-200 copies among their own students and put the rest in local libraries.
Do you know who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2017? Probably not. It was Kazuo Ishiguro. Is he on the New York Times 2017 bestseller list? No. What happened? He wrote a “bestwritten” and won a contest on quality of writing. His “bestwritten” wasn’t a “bestseller”, and so he didn’t win a contest on quantity of books sold.
If you, as an author, want to make a career with writing, you must understand the difference between “bestseller” and “bestwritten”.
Most writers want to write a “bestwritten”. They take years to complete a book. Once it’s done, they send it to the publishing companies and they are surprised they got no answers. They think that their books aren’t written well enough and they take rejection personally.
While a publisher thinks something completely different. This is what the publisher thinks:
“The book market is losing importance in favor of apps. Fewer and fewer people are buying books. The sales manager told me that we can’t invest money in new authors anymore. It’s not profitable and we can’t take the risk again as we are at a loss already. It’s better to translate and sell global bestsellers. Once we put the ‘bestseller’ stamp on the cover, potential readers will automatically gain trust towards the author and our publishing house, and buy the book.”
Obviously, no publisher will tell you this. They usually don’t reply, or reply that they are not interested. Authors despair. What is there to despair about? That your book didn’t fit an enterpreneur’s business plan for this or next year? Please. If they don’t want you, you will make money elsewhere. There is place for you and your book in this world. I promise.
If you want to succeed with your “bestwritten”, stop expecting yourself to hit the bestseller list. It’s like training for being a long distance runner and suddenly signing up for sprint competition. Rules and requirements are different. If you want to succeed with a bestwritten, you send your book to literary critics and then sign up for contests.
If you want to write a “bestseller”, research what sells and write it. If you don’t sell, how can you become a “bestseller”? It’s like you wanted to open the best pizzeria in the town without having sold a single slice of pizza. Not very realistic. Right? Right.
Make a choice and stick to it. There is no shame in being an unknown bestwritten just as there is no shame in writing specifically for the public.