How to Write a Bestseller



James Altucher is many things. If you classified him as an entrepreneur or a programmer, you’d be right. But he’s also a bestselling author. His latest book Choose Yourself sold over 44,000 copies within the first month of its release. It reached #1 on Amazon’s nonfiction book list and notably marked the Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list. The best part? He self published it. You might think that his success came from knowing the right people or because some of his previous work was traditionally published. But according to James, that wasn’t the case. In an article published by TechCrunch, James Altucher outlines how writers can get their book to the top of the charts by self publishing the “professional” way. Below are some of the highlights, but please feel free to read his entire article by clicking here.

Get Social & Build an Audience

Most people believe that traditional publishers can guarantee their authors a window front spot in retail stores. According to James, that’s simply not true. Publishers have to pay for these types of placements, and it’s done infrequently. Instead of hoping to build fans, create your own audience by getting on social networking channels and reach out to potential readers.

Don’t Cut Corners: Proper Editing Is a Must

If you think editing your own work is sufficient, you’re wrong. Anyone who’s anyone will tell you that proper proofreading comes from a second set of eyes. And if you’re smart, the second set of eyes belong to someone who knows a thing or two about spelling, syntax, grammar and, well… writing. When talking about his experience with his editor, James says: “Nils [editor] and I went back and forth on more than 15 different rewrites for my book. The difference between the original version and the final version is like the difference between chicken sh*t and chicken salad.” James also admits that his previously published work through traditional publishers, were not high quality. When he opted to self publish Choose Yourself, he researched editing firms and hand selected his editor. This is one of the benefits of self publishing – you can do whatever you want!

Selecting the Right Title

We’ve talked about choosing a great title in our Publishing Tips & Tricks series and how important it is to pick a unique, straightforward title for your book. James took it a step further: “I picked 10 titles that I liked, combined them with the cover and created Facebook ads that I sent out to all my friends and friends of friends in the U.S. Then I sat back and watched the click-throughs. After a few days and thousands of click-throughs I had my title.” Very smart!

We understand that everyone has different goals. But if you’ve ever longed to see your book on a bestsellers list, New York Times, Wall Street Journal or wherever, then you should heed the advice from someone who’s been there and done it. James Altucher and his thoughts on 3.0 publishing are beneficial for the independent author seeking success:

“If your goal is to put out the best possible product, maximize the money you make, and get the most readers, then follow the next steps, what I call “Publishing 3.0.”

1.0 was publishing with a traditional publisher.

2.0 was when the stigma of self-publishing went away and an entire new artistic outlet was open to millions of people (15 million books published last year versus 300,000 10 years ago). It’s cheap, quick, and easy to get your book published.

3.0 is starting right now — where you can self-publish better, more successfully, better edited, better designed, better marketed, and make more money than if you go any other route. The reason this is possible only now is because for the first time, the best editors, designers, marketers are no longer working at the big publishing houses. Instead, they are striking out on their own and independently charging for their services. The demand is there. This route is more expensive than “publishing 2.0″ but is much more lucrative.”

And there you have it!

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