Increase the Chances of Your Book Becoming a Breakout Hit


Last week, I did an interview with IndieBookSpot that covers a wide range of territory, including platform building, marketing and promotion, and social media. One of the questions asks, “How can an author increase the chance that their book will be a breakout hit?” I offer five points; here are the first three:

  1. Have an excellent relationship with your publisher, assuming you have one (including your editor, marketing team, and publicist). Make sure to the best of your ability you have their full support and that you’re giving them everything they need.
  2. Set aside a budget for marketing and promotion. Even a few hundred dollars is helpful, e.g., for review copies and promotional items.
  3. Hire a publicist for about 3-6 months to assist you in areas where your publisher will fail to do so, and to help you get media mentions.
  • Imagine you’ve just been put in charge of one of the big publishers, and you have to come up with a new digital strategy. Day one: what do you do first?
  • Most authors now have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but do you think Pinterest is going to be a useful marketing tool for authors? What about Tumblr? And how do you draw together all these disparate platforms to create a cohesive online identity?
  • What’s the difference between being ‘engaged’ with an audience and being pushy? It seems there’s a fine line sometimes, and it’s so easy to misinterpret tone and intent online.
  • What is an author platform? How can someone build their platform from scratch?
  • When it comes to marketing, many people want a checklist of things to do. But beyond the basics, doesn’t it have to be a more organic process, and perhaps one that develops over time as an author learns his or her strengths and weaknesses?

 Click here to read the full interview.

  • ThomasDerry

    Thank you for this article. A lot of good, insightful information— especially about how to avoid being pushy (Leo here).

  • Dane Zeller

    And, oh yes, write a breakout hit.

    Just subscribed to “Jane Friedman Daily.” Good stuff.

  • Jane Friedman

    :) Indeed, the writing comes first. Thanks for checking out the Daily!

  • Brad

    Excellent advice, Jane, thank you for posting.

  • Sharon Vander Meer

    You  know I’m going to steal these questions for our interview on July 10. Hope that’s okay.

  • Roberta Lerman

    Terrfic article, both insightful and helpful.  Deciding how and when to use all the social media outlets can be overwhelming. 

  • Graham Storrs

    Hire a publicist? Really? I’ve heard so many stories about publicists being a complete waste of time I’d be very nervous of wasting my money. Do you elaborate on this somewhere? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Jane Friedman

    You can read a little elaboration here:

    It’s true: There are a lot of bad publicists who you can waste your money on. You don’t want a publicist who can reach “thousands.” You want a publicist with a core list of media contacts who will actually return your calls. Their website should tell who their past/current clients are and what media attention they’ve garnered for those clients. If their website doesn’t list this information, don’t hire them.

    Aside from helping you get media attention, publicists are also helpful for very new authors who don’t understand the basics of marketing and promotion. 

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