How Do Authors Break Through?


By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer of MEDIA CONNECT

I must get asked at least once a day by authors:  “How do I break through?”

How does one answer that?  It takes the following – in combination of some kind:

1. Great book
2. Luck
3. Tireless promotions
4. Effective marketing
5. Creative approach to branding and sales

It requires these traits:

• Courage to try
• Resilience to rejection
• Savvy, pushy approach
• Willingness to apply time and financial resources
• Grounded in reality but optimistic and filled with hope
• Act with a sense of urgency
• Good networking skills
• Have someone be your champion

Answering the breakthrough question is a little like answering these questions:

• How do I meet my soul mate?
• How do I raise super successful kids?
• How do I live to be 95 or more?

More important than asking the question, one must look introspectively and deeply to find his or her own answer.  You must determine how badly you want this, and honestly assess how deserving you are of it.  Ask yourself; what else are you willing to do or change that could yield greater results?

Everyone wants to breakthrough but few know what to do and even fewer are willing or able to do what it takes.  Still, there’s no guaranteed, foolproof method that can be applied by anyone for any book just because they want to break through, even if it seems like they deserve a break.

Bad things happen to nice people – and sometimes good things fail to materialize for great writers.  But there’s no reason to feel defeated.  If you are a truly talented writer and you believe in yourself, you just have to find the path that leads to open doors.  You’ll need to take a risk and extend yourself, but greatness has a way of finding the spotlight it seeks.

Perhaps one’s breakthrough shall come when he or she takes an unconventional path.  Rather than think best-seller list, awards, or even major coverage in a top media outlet, think of other ways to build a readership and develop a growing fan base.  Think beyond the obvious.

What do some authors do to break through?

1. Participation in a huge book giveaway or charity event so they can get free exposure for their book and generate reviews and strong word-of-mouth demand.
2. Take out a full-page ad in a trade publication that provokes a strong reaction.
3. Land some powerful testimonials from famous people.
4. Get amazing reviews from leading media outlets.
5. Create a video that goes viral.
6. Pay a book promoter or marketer to help you get out of the clutter pile.
7. Get someone famous or in the news to mention how the book changed their life.
8. Do a gimmicky event or get arrested or get attention with a public protest.
9. Link the book to a major lawsuit.

Demonstrate how the book impacted real lives (such as a diet book that led someone to drop 140 pounds). You can’t break through unless you take ownership of the frame of mind that you:

• Can do it.
• Are deserving of it.
• Can’t be denied of your destiny.

Attitude drives the bus.  You need a healthy dose of confidence, faith and conviction – but not bloated ego.  You should believe in yourself based on the merits, but not simply feel entitled to success without any basis.

Someone has to break through, why not you?  But we can’t all break through, so answer:  Why you?

You may conclude that the current book is not the one that will get you noticed on a grand scale.  Sometimes success comes on the second or third book.  Keep plugging away, keep learning and remain vigilant.  Your time will come – provided you keep pushing it and the stars align your way.

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