It may be awhile before the big bestseller lists pay attention to self-published books, but it’s likely to happen as the industry continues to evolve.
At the moment, many entrepreneurs who are writing or want to write a book want to have that book published with a traditional publisher. Sometimes they already have contracts and look to us at Beneath the Cover and Promote a Book for marketing skills. Sometimes they need help with writing and organizing it. In any event, the majority feel that being published by a traditional publisher gives them a quality imprimatur.
That used to be the case. Today, however, more and more smarter self-published authors hire good editors to guide them through outlining and writing, and then hire good designers to package their book and good marketers to make sure the book sells.
Still, the self-published author, no matter how well his or her book sells, is unlikely to appear on bestseller lists. For many, this is a nonissue, as long as their books sell and they make a living at it, which is increasingly the case for writers in genre fiction. Many self-published authors don’t bother with ISBN codes â€“ 13-digit codes that are issued to help identify sales (and to help catalogue) a book.
Most bestseller lists rely on ISBN codes to compile their lists (among other indicators, some of them quite arcane). So downloads of e-book sales without ISBN codes are not counted by them. A self-published author can move hundreds of thousands of copies of an e-book (and make hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process) but not be counted by the New York Times or Wall Street Journal or USA Today.
For some authors, being classified a bestseller isn’t a big deal, as long as they can make a good living. For entrepreneurs, however, it would be wise to get an ISBN issued to your title.
Because you’re putting a book together to help build your business, and having a bestseller gives you that imprimatur you might look for in being published by a traditional publisher. It’s a mark of your expertise that you’re a bestselling author in your subject. So, if you’re considering self-publishing â€“ and today, it’s a viable option â€“ make sure that your book has everything related to it to ensure that it be counted for bestseller lists.
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