Harry Potter got rejected by over two dozen publishers before it was accepted by the London publisher Bloomsbury. Even then, it had initially been rejected and was only saved from the slush pile by a curious sub-editor.
You’d be right in thinking that the other publishers didn’t know a billion-dollar check when it was presented to them on a plate.
Which raises the question: With over 45 million titles on Amazon, how do publishers know which books will sell and which books won’t?
The answer, actually, is they don’t.
They will pretend they do, but in reality they don’t have a clue which ones will take off and become the next bestseller and the ones that won’t even make back the cost of production.
Which is why they play it safe. A recent Forbes article likens a publisher’s title list to a stockbroker’s portfolio of stocks and shares (Publisher Jeff James Reveals the 7 Scientific Keys to a Successful Business Book).
In essence, some books sell and some don’t. Some make a profit and some take a loss.
It’s the 80:20 rule at play: 20% of titles make 80% of the money, and vice versa – 80% of titles only make 20% of a publisher’s profit.
Good marketing certainly plays a role in a book’s success. In the article, publisher Jeff James discusses his ‘7 Keys’ to making money from a business book.
The ‘keys’ are certainly relevant to all genres, not just non-fiction business books. Especially the first point. Have a read of the article and take note of what Jeff James emphasises as the Number 1 Key to a book’s success.
And don’t say I didn’t tell you. If you’ve been following my articles, you’ll already know what it is.
‘Remember, success like writing is a habit’
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