Writer’s Corner: What Makes a Book a Great Sale?

Writer’s Corner: What Makes a Book a Great Sale?

Nothing is more important to a literary agent’s audience—publishers, writers, and readers—than a great read. But today, an enjoyable read is not enough to grab a publisher’s attention and eventually make it onto the bestseller’s list.

So, what is?

In one word, sales. Publishers know the importance of forecasting a book’s future sales in offering an author a contract. It’s business plain and simple. And the publishing business is a combination of sales, life cycle, and the book, and author’s, popularity.

To help you craft a more compelling pitch, consider these important questions:

  1. What distinguishes your book from all the others in your genre? Books in the same genre have a lot in common, but each story is distinctive. This distinction includes the interesting elements in your book that make it stand out from the rest. Be sure to delineate these in your query or pitch.
  2. What makes you the best author of this story? Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, explain why you’re the one that should tell this story. There is a reason you were moved to create this piece and that is exactly what will lead readers to you and make them lifelong fans.
  3. What about your book gives it longevity? This may include your plans for follow up such as a series, accompanying short videos, workbooks, and activities to keep readers engaged and build a lifelong pipeline of readers and sales.
  4. What will you do to drive sales? Writing a great book isn’t enough. You’ll have to do some heavy lifting to help publishers drive sales. This includes book talks, conferences, and if applicable, school and library visits. You also know the importance of social media, so share in your pitch your successful history in selling your works and how you plan to promote it moving forward. Keep in mind, this may include hiring a freelance publicist so that you can focus on your craft.
  5. What’s your star quality? So, you’re not a celebrity. Still, there’s something uniquely special about you and that “je ne sais quoi” should be relayed in your brand. Don’t be afraid to shine a light on yourself and let publishers see your potential. If you’re stumped, ask friends, fans, and followers for ideas, and build on those. Everyone is a star. Now it’s your time to shine.


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