Make Your First Book Count!
In my new position as head of my own literary agency, I am reaching out and beginning to work with several top notch, first time authors. I am urging these budding authors to make sure that their first book really counts, that is, to make sure that they go with an idea that has a high probability of success (which is no easy feat, especially in these tough times).
Why is it so important that your first book succeed?
It is critical because your first book will “brand” you as an author. If your first book is a standout hit, and sells, say, 25,000 copies its first year, the buyers from Barnes & Noble, Border’s, and other book buyers will see you as a genuine success. When it comes to making key decisions on your next book, they are far more likely to purchase many more copies of Book II, and might place them in better locations around the store (e.g. “New in Business”). Success breeds success is certainly a truism in business book publishing.
Of course, the opposite is also true, and therein lies the rub. If your first book tanks (and sells, say, 2,000 copies), then those same stores are far more likely to take far fewer copies of your next book. And they are far less likely to want to put that book in a [publisher paid] promotion that would guarantee better store placement.
So make sure you lead with your very best idea, one that you are really passionate about, and one that has a unique selling proposition that will capture the hearts and minds of an increasingly skeptical business book consumer.