When is a book a success?

Do you have any idea how many books have to be sold to get bestseller status?

By the way, is your book only a success if it is a bestseller? That depends entirely on your expectations and goals.

A number of considerations and tips to make your book a success.

When is a book a success?

What makes a besteller?

When I started out, I had no idea how many books needed to be sold to qualify as a bestseller. What do you think? A million books? A hundred thousand? Ten thousand? I was surprised to discover that in a country like The Netherlands, with 17 million inhabitants, you can reach bestseller status by selling just two or three thousand books. Selling a thousand books is a good achievement; at about 1500, you usually reach break-even.

On Amazon being a bestseller in a selected category is generally considered enough to call your book a bestseller, and the barriers to entry are much lower. Sometimes it only requires a few hundred book sales in the first few days after launch.

Expectation versus objective

Is your book only a success if it makes bestseller status? Success depends entirely on your personal expectations and goals. That is why it is important to clearly define your objective. Why are you actually writing a book? Below are three important motivations and what means success in that case.

Share your story

Sometimes the sole purpose is to share your story. It’s not about how many books you sell. The fact that the story is now available to others is a great result.

A legendary achievement

Publishing your own book is a fantastic feeling. You have produced something unique and created a legacy that will continue to exist after you are gone.

For most people, starting to write a book is quite something, and finishing it is a legendary achievement. Millions of people want to write a book, but only a small fraction of them ever do so. Most book projects disappear into a drawer or a soon-to-be-forgotten folder on a computer, so finishing and printing your book is really something exceptional.

Thought leadership

Publishing a business book gives you expert status in your field. This credibility will have a positive effect on your other products and services. It can also be a catalyst to launch or boost your speaking career.

By the way, this is about publishing your book. Nobody will ever ask how many copies of the book were actually were sold. 🙂 So just that image of you holding your book says more that sales figures.

The bottom line is that YOU decide whether your book is a success, based on your own motivation for writing it.

Writing a book provides a lot of personal satisfaction. You can take a step back and see that you have really achieved something to be proud of in your life. This gives me a lot of inner peace. Reading my own book puts a smile on my face.” – TJ Halbertsma

Are you serious about writing your book?

Don’t reinvent the wheel, like I did. As the author and co-author of more than 30 books, writing coach for hundreds of people and organizer of 20 writing retreats, I have finally found the best system for writing a good book: the ‘Reverse Writing’ method. If you begin at the end and create a good structure before you start writing, you will be able to follow your energy, instead of the page numbers.

Learn all tips & tricks in the live online workshop

Everything you need to turn your idea into a bestseller: practical advice, examples, and inspiration about writing, publishing, and promoting your book. Check out the ‘from idea to book’ workshop.

werboek back front cover - Why you should start promoting your book while you're writing it

Personal guidance

Private writing coaching is a unique opportunity to work on your book with my personal guidance and support. Book a single strategy session or plan a series of 1-on-1 calls. Do you want the best for your book?

A writing retreat in an exotic location?

During the online writing retreat@home or an all-inclusive retreat on my favorite islands or in the French Alps, you will work with like-minded people and get 1-on-1 guidance. The daily workshops help to get started, followed by focused writing time, delicious food, and personal guidance & feedback. Where will we go?

The book ‘Reverse Writing’

Learn my Reverse Writing method (start with the back cover) in my brand new, the super-comprehensive book ‘Reverse Writing’ and the companion workbook. You will find a step-by-step explanation, lots of examples, inspiration, and practical tips about writing, promotion, and publishing your book.

Original ideas and proven formats for your next bestseller

A successful book starts with a good idea. Check out the 10 best ‘formulas’ I’ve found for successful non-fiction books. Each of these ten proven formats gives you a different perspective, inspiration, and examples you can adapt for your own book. Subscribe to my ‘interested in writing’ list for book inspiration & tips and immediately receive the PDF with 10 ideas for a successful non-fiction book.