Written by: Erika Latanya
Hello, BGN readers!! My name is Erika Latanya and today I’m going to tell you guys on how I became a national bestselling author and what it takes.
I know what you guys are thinking. Is she a New York Times bestselling author? The answer to that question is no!
When most people hear of a bestselling author they associate the title with New York Times or USA Today bestselling lists. If you’re a 90s baby or older then you may even remember the Essence Bestseller list. However, I am not apart of those group of bestsellers either. Lol
So, I’ve been self-publishing books for a little over two years now. In between, I signed with two different publishers because I wanted more exposure for my work. Not only did I want more exposure but I also wanted to become a bestselling author. Aye, it’s every author’s or aspiring author’s dream. Being able to claim “bestselling author” is the equivalent of earning a verified badge on social media.
If you’re anything like me, then you use social media a lot and possibly interact with people within the same industry as you. I did. I interacted with many other authors on social media, both independent and traditionally published authors. Along with that came sightings of fancy book covers, and you can guess what else I spotted written on them. You’ve guessed correctly — national bestselling author! Honey, I wanted to be like those authors and flaunt that title next to my name.
In today’s world, however, publishing has changed. Books don’t necessarily have to be placed inside a bookstore (although it’s still a good thing unless it’s placed on the clearance rack). Anywho, Amazon is the go-to for publishing ebooks and paperbacks by both indie and traditional publishing houses. Each book uploaded is placed within a category based on the selected genre the author chooses.
On Amazon, an author can get a bestseller badge based on how many books are bought and/or downloaded within an hour while calculating books that are sold throughout the day. Each book sold boosts the author’s ranking.
I wrote my first book and I just knew I’d sell a ton of copies. Ummm — that did not happen. When I signed with two different publishing companies, I assumed they could get me that badge. Ummm — I still didn’t get a badge.
Eventually, I started my own publishing company called Dear Diary Publishing. I wanted to grow within my career and have full control over my work. I guess you could call it self-promotion. I knew deep within my heart I was created to be a boss. I came up with a plan that I’d write the best book the world has yet to read. I stayed up many late nights writing. It got so bad that I caught cramps in my hands.
To make a long story short, I eventually published two books under my own brand. The first book was a mystery, which brought out the weird and nerdy girl in me. The second book was a short story, a holiday story to be exact. This brings me to one more fact: Do not be afraid to branch out and write in multiple genres. Explore. You’d be surprised at how far your talent can take you. Never get too comfortable with one genre. A writer will never know how great they can be by being content in a box.
I became a bestselling author, but it wasn’t after publishing the first book. I received the badge after I published the second book. You might think I became a bestselling author because I published under my own company, but that had nothing to do with it.
I asked myself, “What did I do differently this time around that I hadn’t done before?” The answer is: Promote. Promote, promote, and then promote. I ran ads, held a giveaway, and even gave some books away for free. Word of mouth helped a lot, too.
Some people may say they’ve done the same and it hasn’t happened for them. I’m here to say the road isn’t easy, and it takes a lot of hard work. It took a total of about five or six books of mine to be published before I became a bestseller. It does not happen overnight. But, once a bestseller, always a bestseller. I’m a proud Amazon Bestselling Author, hence that makes me a national bestselling author. Amazon is one of the most popular lists to join as a bestselling author. So, to all authors and aspiring: Keep on pushing. Happy writing!
Well, I hope you all enjoyed my mini-rant. If you’re interested in checking out some of my material then feel free to check out my site at erikalatanya.com. Thanks!