May I ask you a personal question…
Do you ever feel jealous of bestselling authors?
For instance, if you write fiction, do you envy the runaway success of J.K. Rowling, Daniel Silva, Debbie Macomber, or Stephen King?
If you write nonfiction, do you resent seeing Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Robbins, or Brene Brown repeatedly appear on the bestseller lists?
If you write religious books, do you covet the massive sales of Max Lucado, Lysa TerKeurst, or Joel Osteen?
Don’t feel bad. It’s normal for every author to wrestle with a little jealousy. When other writers in your genre are outselling your book, it’s natural to wish you could attain their success.
In fact, I suggest that you embrace your jealousy and use it as a productive way to increase your own book sales. Here’s what I mean.
Bestselling authors have actually done you a favor. They’ve already attracted thousands of people who like to buy a particular type of book. In essence, they’ve done the heavy lifting required to find and motivate large groups of readers to purchase.
But, rather than sit on the sidelines and be jealous, use their success to your advantage. Promote your book to their audience that already exists. If your book is well-written and positioned as a complimentary option, you can persuade some of the readers from a bestselling author’s audience to also buy your book.
For example, let’s say you write science fiction novels. Identify the bestselling authors in your particular genre. Top names in that arena might include Andy Weir, Hugh Howey, and Margaret Atwood. If your book is similar to novels by these authors, then a smart marketing strategy is to advertise your book to their fans.
You could purchase online ads using Facebook, Amazon, or BookBub that specifically target fans of Andy Weir, Hugh Howey, and Margaret Atwood. Common sense says that readers who like their books might like your book if they understand the similarities.
Here’s another way to benefit from a bestseller’s success. Top authors are usually able to land lots of guest appearances on radio, TV, podcasts, and blogs. But, rather than whine about the attention they get, realize that their media efforts save you a ton of time.
When bestselling authors appear in the media, they are blazing a trail for similar authors to follow in their footsteps. Play “follow the leader” in your genre by identifying where those authors get media exposure. Then, pursue those same opportunities for yourself.
For instance, let’s say you write nonfiction books and want more media coverage. Identify the top-selling authors in your specific genre. Examples might include Jordan Peterson, Michael Lewis, or Doris Kearns Goodwin. Conduct a Google or iTunes search using those author names and add the word “interview.”
The search results will tell you not only where those authors appeared in the media. More importantly, the results tell you what specific media programs like to interview authors who write your type of book. That information is marketing gold, because it helps you narrow down where to focus your efforts to get author interviews for yourself.
Sure, some of the media programs may only interview bestselling authors. But, many programs, especially podcasts and blogs, interview authors at all levels.
As an imperfect human being, you will always struggle with bouts of jealousy. However, the next time you feel jealous of bestselling authors, don’t let their success eat you up inside with envy. Use their success to your advantage. Follow the trail they blazed ahead of you to find new readers and convert more sales for your book.
P.S. – If the idea of piggy-backing upon the success of bestselling authors is a new concept to you, then I encourage you to join my new online course, Sell Books on a Shoestring Budget. The instruction explains step-by-step how to secure media interviews for free and use affordable advertising to target readers of successful authors in your genre. Plus, a whole lot more!