Bestseller Status is Not About Book Sales

why become a bestselling authorLately, I’ve been writing a lot about how to write bestsellers and how to create a career as a bestselling author. I don’t want you to think, however, that becoming a bestselling author is all about money. Of course, for publishers (even indie publishers), success is equivalent to sales, which means money. But not every author defines success in this manner, and there are other important reasons to strive for bestseller status.

For your book to become a bestseller it must sell a lot of copies. In fact, it must outsell the other titles in its category. Sometimes that equates to a handsome check; sometimes it does not. A category could have low book sales in general. That means you don’t have to sell many copies to get on the Amazon Top 100 list, and bestseller status won’t bring in huge sums of money. If your book is low-priced, it can be a bestseller and not pay your bills. The majority of bestselling authors don’t make a living off book sales.

And some authors are not in it for the money.

When Sales (Money) Isn’t Important

I can think of four reasons to craft bestselling books and to develop a career as a bestselling author that don’t involve earning a huge income from royalties. (That doesn’t mean sales don’t matter.) Here they are:

  • You want to get read. You want to share your message or story. Fame and fortune don’t factor into your decision to become an author, even though these are nice results. You’re primary goal involves reaching as many readers as possibly, so you can share your words. More simply put, you want your work widely read. This achievement requires selling many books because sales equate to readers.
  • You want to impact your readers in a positive or meaningful manner. Similar to the first reason, this one goes beyond the desire to be read. You want to write a book because you feel compelled to do so. Something inside pushes you to become an author. You sense that becoming an “Author of Change” is your purpose. You want to start a movement or create change on some level—personal, organizational, societal, or global. To accomplish this, you know your book needs to reach as many readers as possible. That means it must sell an above-average number of copies.
  • You want to build a new business or boost an existing business. As the adage goes, a book is the best business card you can hand out. Becoming an author gives you authority, credibility and influence. Your book provides a platform from which to showcase your knowledge, experience and expertise. You want to use it as the crux of you speaking, coaching, teaching, or online marketing business—or any other type of business! Your book becomes a customers or client magnet. For it to attract a lot of potential business, you have to reach a lot of potential readers—and sell a lot of copies.
  • You want to continue to write books. A bestseller can be your ticket to a traditional book deal. If you are traditionally published, a successful book—one with above average sales—can land you a second or third book contract. Also, your status as a bestselling author can attract more readers to your new books (no matter how you publish them). A self-published author with a successful book might attract a traditional publisher as well. In general, a career as a bestselling author helps you and your forthcoming books succeed.

If you want to become a bestselling author, answer this simply question: Why? It’s important to define success for yourself and by your own standards and values.

I’m sure you can think of additional reasons that don’t focus on money to pursue bestseller status for your books, and I’d love to hear them. Please leave me a comment below with your additions to my list.

Six_Months_to_Your_Bestselling_Author_Career_3 copyLearn how to create a career as a successful writer or author. Register for my Create Your Bestselling Author Career premier coaching program. Only 15 spots available. You’ll learn how to craft a bestselling book idea, how to write a bestseller, how to promote a book, and how to build a business around your book. Discover proven strategies for creating a career as a bestselling author when you click here to watch my four-part video series.

© Arkadi Bojaršinov |

Who Said Becoming a Bestselling Author Was Easy?

Decide successful authorship is easy

No matter where I teach or speak, writers meet me with the same complaints. Aspiring authors say the necessary tasks required to achieve their goals—and dreams—of becoming successful, bestselling, published authors feel too difficult, occupy too much time, focus on business more than craft, and, worst of all, put their writing on hold. I understand […]

Continue reading...

3 Ways to Overcome the Most Common Obstacle to Success

rid yourself of limiting beliefs to achieve your dreams of becocming an author

Some writers have visions of grandeur and wholeheartedly believe they can achieve the big dreams and goals they have for themselves and their careers. More commonly, writers—like a lot of other people—doubt their ability to achieve success. Therefore, they create goals and dreams that fit the mental construct they have created. They think and dream […]

Continue reading...

How to Overcome the Biggest Obstacle to Successful Authorship

move through obstacles to writing success

Have you ever wondered what makes one author more successful than another? It’s possible that one writes better or another devised a fabulous, more-marketable book idea. It could even be that an author with a not-so-great book mastered the art of promotion. More than likely, you’ll find that successful authors, much like successful people in […]

Continue reading...

Writing a Bestseller Doesn’t Have to Take a Long Time

write a bestseller fast

Do you have a picture in your mind of what it takes to become a bestselling author? Does it include someone toiling over his manuscript for many hours per day or late into the night for years? I’d like to debunk the idea that it has to take a long time for a writer to […]

Continue reading...

Succesful Authors Think Beyond the Book

think beyond your book

Many wannabe authors have one-tracked minds. They think only about the book they want to write. If you have dreams of creating a career as a successful author and spending your days writing bestselling books, you may be focused primarily on your book idea and time at your computer cranking out manuscripts. In today’s publishing […]

Continue reading...

The Secret to Successful Book Promotion Isn’t in the Plan

people flocking to a bestseller

You’ve written a book or plan to write a book, and you want it to succeed. You dream of it becoming a bestseller. Everyone tells you the same thing: For your book to outsell all the other titles in its category– for it to become a #1 Amazon bestseller or even a New York Times […]

Continue reading...

Don’t Write Your Nonfiction Book…Yet!

stop writing

I know you want to write a book…so do a lot of people. But if you are like me, you probably don’t want to write just any book. You want to write a book that becomes a bestseller. That’s a book that sells more than the average number of books. In fact, it outsells the […]

Continue reading...

5 Mistakes to Avoid If You Want to Be a Successful Author

avoide mistakes to becoming a bestselling author

Over and over again, I find the same mistakes prevent aspiring authors from achieving their goals of becoming successful—even bestselling—published authors. You can avoid them, however, once you know what they are. The 5 Mistakes that Stop You From Succeeding as an Author You don’t develop marketable book ideas. To become a successful author, you […]

Continue reading...

Should Your Website Have a Privacy Policy?


By Helen Sedwick (@HelenSedwick) Today’s writers wear many hats. We are Tweeters, Pinteresters, YouTube-ists and most of all, bloggers. Maybe we have heard about privacy policies, but we don’t know whether we need one. After all, we are not challenging Wall Street, City Hall, or Big Data. Most of us are not selling advertising space […]

Continue reading...

Create Your Dream Nonfiction Writing Career in 2015

nonfiction writing success

You always can think of a reason not to do what you say you want to do, which is to create a fabulous career as a nonfiction writer. How often do you find reasons to do what is necessary instead? Not often. I’ve heard the reasons: You don’t have the money. You don’t have the […]

Continue reading...

Embed Your Social Media Posts to Boost Engagement


By Frances Caballo (@CaballoFrances) We use social media to attract traffic to our blogs. Did you know that you can also encourage traffic to certain social media accounts by embedding code? Don’t worry. You won’t have to learn HTML in order to embed tweets or pinboards on your blog or website. You will, however, need […]

Continue reading...