Love or hate Nicholas Sparks, nobody can deny he sells a lot of books, so let’s take a look at his three keys to creating a bestseller.
First, Sparks says you can get Oprah to recommend your book. Second, your book can garner widespread, lavish critical acclaim. Third, your book can sell through word of mouth. You can read more details from Sparks by clicking the link at the end of the previous paragraph.
Most of us don’t know Oprah and most of us aren’t in with the critics, so what is left? The only way the majority of aspiring authors can get read is through word of mouth. This leads to several interesting observations.
In order for word of mouth to spread, at least one non-family member has to read your book and like it well enough to tell someone else about it and sincerely recommend it. I say non-family member, because nobody is going to read your book based on your mother’s recommendation.
Of course, the next question is to ask yourself how many friends of yours have read books you recommended to them? In my case, the answer to that question is a very low number, like maybe zero. I read a handful of books per year and have read tons of books over my lifetime and I recommend them to people all the time. Sometimes months or even years pass and I check in to see if my friend read that book I recommended and they always say no.
While statistics show books are still selling and making millionaires out of authors, real life seems to indicate that nobody reads books at all. Their top excuse: “I don’t have time to read.”
Last summer, a friend of mine told me a long story that I’ll make shorter. Someone told him about a golf book that would change his golfing world for the better. Understand, this friend of mine lives for golf. What did he do? Instead of reading the book, he found an online video that summarized the book in about an hour. People will do anything to avoid reading a book, even when the book contains valuable information that pertains directly to their life.
This may sound like an argument for why all aspiring authors should give up, but it isn’t. It is an argument for why we all need to change the way we view authorship in the 21st century. Next time, I’ll write about what I learned from my days as a professional journalist and as a community blogger, specifically what it taught me about how much modern readers do love to read.