Writers: ideas for creating top-selling nonfiction books

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I think of top-selling two ways. The most obvious is to sell more copies of your book than any other book like it in the market. If you sell 10,000 copies of the book, you outsold a person who sold 5,000. Duh.

The less obvious way is to measure the effectiveness of your book’s sale. If the purpose of your book is to create a core for an empire, starting with the book and spreading into other information dissemination means, a book that sells 150 copies but generates 50 $1,500 speeches, spinoff books, keynotes, and lots of crelated consulting, and so on, is a huge deal too. (But “huger” if you sold those 10,000 copies here!)

The latter is much more safely done by writing books in niche areas where you zero in on key problem-solvers or frustration-reducers, the kind that every practioner in the niche will bottom-line benefit from by reading your words, process, or direction. Once they see that your words come from tested expertise that should work well for them too, they will also be asking you to speak to their niche gatherings, write for their newsletter, and most of the rest.

The way to reduce the risk and assure that a high percentage of the nichefolk will buy your book (at your price) is to pre-test the book to a small selection of them with a note, a flyer, and a return yes-no test postcard. If you need an 8% positive response to earn $50,000 (pick a starting target), then if that or more say yes on your quick two-question return postcard, you know they want your book–or at least they want to read more about your title, they like the format (paper or ebook, or both), your premise and promises, they want to see what you (or the the author) has to say, and they will buy it from you by direct mail or through regular marketing venues to the niche.

The other way is to write a dynamite book to general markets where the title alone gets them so say (better, shout to the heavens) that they’d be a blubbering bobo not to buy your book the moment it is out.

I’m talking about books for adults. I’m not sure if kids clamor much for nonfiction books now, though I do see top fiction sellers for them. But since I don’t know what I’d say to them that even I would want to read, I leave that field to others.

Look for books here for how-to details about niche pre-testing and publishing. There are many other good books that will tell you how to publish and sell to the general market.

The very first step for both, though, is to find a title that provokes a lusty “wow!” The rest is writing the same “wow!” book and making its existence well known to those who need and want its message.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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