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.

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Posted in Marketing & Promotion, Social Media.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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10 Comments on "Increase the Chances of Your Book Becoming a Breakout Hit"

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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.


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.

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[…] Jane Friedman: 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 […]

Tidbits from the Internet | Spun Stories, home of Cynthia Sally Haggard, historical novelist

[…] For those of you who don’t know, Jane Friedman is an expert in the area of digital publishing and marketing. Her advice is always sound, and worth thinking about even if you don’t agree with her. I thought you would enjoy reading her interview on increasing the chances of your book becoming a breakout hit. […]