How to Sell More Books

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Alex Cooper

Guest Writer @ GoneWithTheWord 

Every day hundreds of books are published in each genre. There are lots of options to help your book stand out from the crowded bookshelves and online categories. You can pay for advertising, do endless book blog tours and try to befriend every reader you come across. 

At the end of the day though, these things will help a bit, but there is only one strategy that is guaranteed to catch the right target audience’s attention—and money: Your Brand.

Too often authors think that branding themselves isn’t necessary, or that their brand is simply the genre—or subgenre—in which they write. Not so.

Your brand is what makes you unique. What makes you different than all those other people who are writing the same type genre, sub-genre, theme, plot, etc.

Let’s look at two of today’s most successful authors and see what makes them unique.

J.K. Rowling writes children’s books. So do thousands of other authors. She writes fantasy books. So do the others. She writes about a boy coming of age and overcoming his demons, both literally and metaphorically. Yup, so do others.

So what makes her stand out? Her unflinching ability to tell the truth, even to kids. She faces the themes of death and loss and abandonment. Harry’s parents are dead. He watches his friend Cedric die. A bunch of other beloved people in his life die. And J.K. Rowling doesn’t bring them back. She flat out refused to let magic wave its wand and make it all okay again. Because that’s not real life. The combination of this bravery in her writing and her own dedication to her characters and story make her one of the most successful writers of all time.

J.R. Ward is an international bestseller. She writes paranormal romance. So do a whole slew of other writers. Even some of her most dedicated of fans will say that she isn’t the most accomplished storyteller. The stories follow much the same plot pattern and the characters follow much the same mold. So what makes her so fantastic? In today’s world where people often feel so afraid of what lies beyond their front door (economics, job security, violence, terrorism, etc.), J.R. Ward’s almost gang-like heroes with their bulky muscles and ability for violence when needed—these vampire men represent safety. They can protect those they love without flinching. And they’re sensual, sexual men who just need the right woman…

J.K. Rowling’s brand is about authenticity and bravery.

J.R. Ward’s brand is sexy and about safety.

What’s yours about? What makes your books different than all the others? What makes your character, plot, theme or writing style unique? As an editor, I can hear pitches about stories that sound fantastic, but many of them sound like things already on the market. What will catch my attention is a character or plot or idea that is unique.

That’s your brand. That’s where your success will start. 

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