In my search to find out what makes a bestselling an author and how to become one I’ve been reading articles, cruising Goodreads, liking Facebook fan pages and generally just being a writer stalker. And in my search I’ve learned a few things about successful authors. They all seem to have a few things in common.
1. They write great books. I’ve read 14 of Elizabeth Hoyt’s books before I had ever even thought about checking out her Facebook page. Why? The strength of her words not her presence in social media kept me coming back. My take away- always make sure the writing comes first. ALWAYS.
2. They tend to write in series, keeping characters connected even in a loose way seems to keep readers coming back. Jill Shalvis has her Lucky Harbor. Julia Quinn has her Bridgertons. Susan Mallery scores with Fool’s Gold. Robyn Carr has been sailing down Virgin River for as long as I remember. And then there are writers like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Mary Balogh that hardly have any books at all that aren’t connected in someway. I know this because I have read EVERYTHING they have in print.
3. They keep connected with their fans. Julia Quinn has over 78,000 fans on her Facebook page which she updates daily. That’s the most of any romance writer I could find. I love to follow Jill Shalvis and Kristan Higgins. Separately they both post charming updates about their families, their day to day lives, their lack of social graces. But they also interact with each other. Twitter chats and mans wars. Fans like to see their friendship. They seem like real people to us and I think that’s why people keep coming back to them.
4. They don’t spam. (They keep things interesting.) Out of all the bestselling authors I’ve studied I couldn’t find a single one with the BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK message. Facebook doesn’t sell books. Twitter doesn’t sell books. Building a relationship with your readers and fostering loyalty does.
5. They keep politics out of it. (Mostly) A few romance writers break these rules and some of them pay for it in readers. There is one writer whose politics I so greatly disagree with I stopped liking their fan page and now I think twice before I pick up one of her books. But most bestselling authors keep their politics to themselves. Think of your author life like a cocktail party. No talk of religion or politics. Are you a hard core conservative? Great! Keep it to yourself. A liberal? Fantastic! But nobody cares. Romance readers want one thing from their romance writers and that’s romance. So bring on the pictures of sexy men. Talk up a storm about the Bachelor. Post pics of that stupid grumpy cat, but keep your personal beliefs to yourself.
6. They know their market and they stick to it. Best selling author don’t write to trend. They write what they know best. 50 Shades was a hit but don’t plan on seeing Nora Roberts breaking out the kinky bondage stuff anytime soon.
7. They keep writing. They’ve got a book coming out every six- nine months for the most part. Whether it’s a novella or full length. They don’t let you forget about them.
So now it’s time I give myself a little check up. You can all do this too. Published or aspiring it’s important to see where you are.
Am I writing great books? Gee, I sure hope so. Series? Check. The girls of the Perfect Fit series are coming your way at the end of August. Keeping connected? I’m trying. And you can help me out by liking my Facebook page. It’s only got 45 very sad likes. http://www.facebook.com/sugarjamisonbooks I promise I’ll be engaging. Heck, I’ll even give stuff away from time to time.Spam? Nope. Not from me. Not ever. Politics? Just call me Switzerland. Know my market? Hmm… I think I do. Women who love sexy men and like to laugh. Writing? Always.Even when publication was a far off dream I kept writing.
So how did you do? Do you have the traits of a bestselling author?