While talking to William H. Joiner, Jr. the other day, it dawned on me that the Western bestseller charts are something of an arena. You know, authors are just like those brave gladiators who would spar to the death in ancient Rome. Every day, new books seek to challenge old favorites—and old favorites have to fight to remain at the top of the tree. Of course, there is never bloodshed, but there are certainly frustrations and disappointments—it can’t be helped. This is a fast-moving industry and a growing genre where new authors are always delivering brand new stories for readers to enjoy.
I think one of the most commendable aspects of this arena is that it’s fair. Yes, it’s a level playing field. Anyone with the guts to write a story can have the number one bestseller—regardless of your background, education, or history. Everyone has a fair chance of having success.
So, into the arena books and authors go—where they fight it out to hit the number one position using keywords, categories, advertising, and other such strategies. New cover designs are always in development, new advantages, and new ideas are always in play. The arena is competitive and unforgiving. No quarters for those who are not competitive.
And, yes, it becomes addictive—to have the number one bestseller is something to be proud of. To appear in the top one hundred is an achievement of almost equal pride for most authors. To be read on a daily basis—to have your book in the hands of readers—can any author wish for anything more?
The arena is always looking for new gladiators, new faces, new stories. The arena welcomes all challengers. So if you have a Western novel, why not step up that competitive streak, work on your keywords, categories and advertising, and get into the game? There always has to be a winner, so why can’t you be the one at the top of the charts? Your book may be the one Western readers are terribly interested in reading—once they discover it.
Now, may I suggest, as you prepare to fight in the arena, you spend some time working on the following aspects of your promotion. Take some time to think it over and do your research.
Cover: Will it sell the book?
Categories: Do they increase the likelihood of someone seeing your book?
Keywords: Are they working to make your book more visible?
Exposure: What can you do to get people to look at your book? Mailers, advertising, etc.?
Get to work and do the best you can—compete, challenge and win the attention of those readers. You know I think you can do it!