In the blog post Three Reasons Why One Picture Book Is Not Enough, I mentioned the importance of finding the right break out manuscript. The problem is that when your first book book, whether it is a novel or a picture book. comes out you probably don’t have name recognition. This leads us to must have #1.
Your break out book has to have a marketing hook. Once you have a reputation, people will buy your next book because it is your next book. Until then, your book needs to have a marketing hook or something that will help it sell. Maybe it can be sold in association with an anniverary or a holiday. What themed display would your book fit in at the library. Right now, the themes at my library are “Black History Month,” “Best Sellers,” and “Valentines.” You can’t plan for the second one but you could for the other two.
Your break out book has to have broad enough appeal. No book is going to appeal to everyone but your break out title can’t appeal to only a tiny niche. It has to have broad enough appeal to make printing it worth the publisher’s effort. My niece’s grade school is on the National Historic Register. That fact is interesting to those of us here in the district but there’s not enough audience appeal to interest a publisher. But what about a book about the creation of kindergartens? They originated here in St. Louis.
Any book that you publish has to have both a marketing hook and broad enough appeal to make publishing it worthwhile. But it is that much more important if you are a newer author.
This is why a book that might not work as your #1 might work as your #5. But it is also why a top selling author can sell a book that I could not. People recognize this person’s name and are much more likely to buy the book. Fair? Maybe yes, maybe no, but it is fact.