- By Dee Power
- Published 04/16/2009
If you’re thinking about how to get a book published you may have visions of it becoming a national bestseller as well. There are probably a hundred books on “How Your Book Can Shoot to the Top of the New York Times Bestseller List.” The premise is that with enough hard work, time and resources, and of course using the marketing techniques outlined in the book, any title can become a bestseller. Well, the truth is you can’t. Most of the seats around that table are already taken. Let’s look at a Bestseller Nonfiction list for a month. There are 15 places on the list, over one month there are 60 positions available. So it seems. Here’s the real deal, over that time only 24 different books appeared on the list. And just ten books occupied 46 percent of the available positions. And 11 books took up nearly 70 percent of the positions. We’ve all seen the banner headline in bookstores “17 Weeks on the Bestseller List!!!” To the author trying to get on the list, the other fellow’s 17-week streak of success just means 17 fewer spaces available for his or her perhaps equally terrific book.
A big success in hardcover books now means millions of copies, rather astounding when a lot of authors are incredibly happy when th
eir book’s sales top 20,000. Does being on the bestseller list cause a book’s sales to increase in the future? Absolutely, if it’s the author’s first time on the list. Alan Sorensen, a business professor at Stanford, looked at hardcover fiction sales for 2001 and 2002 in his study, Bestseller Lists and Product Variety: The Case of Book Sales. He found that an appearance on the New York Times bestseller list did indeed increase a book’s first year sales, as much as a 57%, while previously bestselling authors got a much lesser bump in sales. Five corporations currently dominate the bestsellers lists. They are Random House Inc., Penguin USA, Simon & Schuster, Time Warner, and HarperCollins in that order. It is estimated that these five companies accounted for over 70 percent of the hardcover bestselling titles. Paperback bestsellers emerged from these same five houses in roughly the same proportion. Another factor to consider is that the title has to sell through a bookstore, online bookseller, and selected distributors. How fast the copies sell affects whether the title makes the bestseller list. A title that sells 100,000 copies in a week could make the bestseller list while one that sells 500,000 over a year’s time may not.
How to get a book published is taking the first step to becoming a bestselling author.
Get your free report The Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing: Whom Can a New Author Trust at How to get a book published Dee Power is the author of several nonfiction books including The Making of a Bestseller, the novel, Over Time, and several screenplays. Find out more about her at http://www.brianhillanddeepower.com
by Dee Power