Outsell James Patterson

5 ways to achieve sustained success

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series How to Win at Authoring

Hello again.

Look how far we’ve come in the last nine months. We could have made and birthed a baby but what we have achieved is much more impressive.

We’ve created fiction that, while rubbish, hits all the right buttons with audiences. We’ve learned how to get the correct response from our beta readers and how to acquire an agent with little to no prison time.

Book in hand, we’ve learned how to launch online with few lies and minimal changes to who we are as people. We’ve determined how to nail our book launch, and now, there’s only one more lesson to go.

I know, I know, I’m tearing up too.

Now for the final lesson, and it’s an important one. The lesson that will let you go forward and build a career as one of them author types.

Congratulations. Let’s get into it with five approaches to sustaining success as a full-time author

1.The Twitter approach

Some people will aim for respect or critical success when releasing their book, but these people are mugs.

Who wants to sell 100 well-received books when you could sell a million poorly received ones? People are going to ask how many copies you’ve sold, and you’re going to come up smelling of roses.

Question is, how do you bulk shift books of low quality?

You take the Twitter approach.

As you know, the best and fastest way to achieve success on Twitter is by following every person in the entire world. A good proportion of them will follow you back and, very quickly, you can have hundreds of thousands of followers.

Even better, they’ll be unengaged followers, so you won’t have to deal with them.

When it comes to selling books, you can take a similar approach. Except even better, because people can’t tell what you’ve done to get the sales – all you have to do is replace the follows you make with money spent on advertising and the follows you receive with book sales.

So, here’s how it works. You lower your book to the price of £0.99 – as low as it will go. Then you use Facebook ads to put it in front of people.

Be warned, the likelihood is you will need to spend upwards of ten pounds per sale, and you will only be making a few pence a purchase, so don’t expect to make money doing this.

But you want to be a success, not rich, right?

Say it costs you ten pounds per sale. To impress people you’ll want to be shifting about a thousand books a day, so you will need a budget of ten thousand pounds a day or over 3.5 million pounds a year.

This is a lot of dough, but you’ll be selling so many books you’ll be a best seller all over the place. You’ll be famous. You’ll be a success.

Where are you going to find that kind of cash?

I don’t know. Gee, I already came up with the strategy, now you want me to supply the cash and all? Want me to tie your shoes and all?

Some people!

2.5The Clever Pen Name Approach

Okay, here’s how it goes.

Pick a hugely successful book by a popular author — for example, The Shining by Stephen King.

Quickly knock out and release a book called The Shining and release it. Don’t worry about quality – not important.

Release the book you want to release under a pen name that is remarkably similar to the author you have chosen in this case that would be Steven King or Stephen Kin.

Release your book with copy on the front that reads: From the author of The Shining. Steven King.

Repeat with every book you release, changing authors periodically.

Because the easiest way to guarantee a bestseller is to be someone who is already a best seller.

3.The die approach

Easiest way to reach number one in the music, book, or DVD chart?


It’s that easy. Worked for Whitney Huston, worked for Michael Jackson, worked for Enid Blyton, and it can work for you.

Already I can hear you whining. That was different, you moan. Whitney, Michael and Enid were already famous. Top of their game. That’s why they saw such a massive uptick in sales after their death.

You’re so negative. Probably already considering ending it all with that attitude. I only used those names because I knew you’d know them.

Now you’ll want to know a lesser known name who made it work, but I can’t give you that, can I? They’re lesser known.

Oh and what about the fact you’ll have to die so won’t be around to enjoy your success…

Look, I’ve had just about enough of your moaning. Stop picking holes in my strategies. Let’s move on to the next one.

4.The J.K. Rowling Approach

Ask anyone how many books J.K. Rowling has sold and they sell anything from between eight billion and 430 squillion (not a number).

This is a myth.

In actual fact, J.K. Rowling has sold little over 300 books, half of them to family and Daniel Radcliffe.

So where does she make her money?

Why is she seen as a success?

Easy. Associated media.

Try this on for size – ten films (including the Fantastic Beasts ones) at the time of writing, a theme park, a walking tour around the sets, seven audio books, a stage play and more merchandise than you can shake a wand at.

It’s this that has earned her billions of pounds — this that has made her a success.

The question is, how did she arrange all of this if she’d only sold a handful of books?

Easy. She made sure the books had plenty of potential for offshoots like that. Wizards castles look great on tours. Magic works well in cinema. And writing all the characters with Stephen Fry’s voice was a masterstroke when it came tot he audiobooks.

Having said all that, it now occurs to me that we’ve already written and released the novel, so probably too late to write it to order in this way.

Next time though…

5.The being a good author with a solid marketing plan and bags of dedication over a sustained period approach

Honestly, let’s not even discuss this option. It just isn’t worth it.

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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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