Most authors write because they enjoy writing, not because they expect to become famous. With that said, some authors do become well-known for their work, but what is the likelihood of achieving success, fame, and fortune by authoring a book?
Writing a book can make you famous, as evidenced by authors Stephen King, JK Rowling, John Grisham, Dean Kootz, and Anne Rice, to name a few. However, writing a book doesn’t guarantee fame or financial reward. Great books require great marketing, but even that doesn’t guarantee stardom.
This article discusses the likelihood of becoming a famed author. It also covers some tips on how aspiring writers can increase their chances of becoming famous for their work, whether in their hometown or worldwide. Read on to learn more.
Does Writing a Book Guarantee Fame?
Writing a book doesn’t guarantee fame. Unless you’re a high-profile figure, such as a politician, actor, or musician with a significant following, the chances of writing a bestseller are quite low. In fact, even if you do write a bestseller, it doesn’t guarantee celebrity status as an author.
With that said, anything is possible in the world of literature. It’s possible to become famous by writing a book.
JK Rowling and Stephen King are two prime examples of authors who achieved success through their books. Rowling became famous with her Harry Potter series and King found fame with the publication of “Carrie” in 1974. Both have gone on to enjoy lucrative writing careers and film deals.
However, they’re the exception, not the norm.
Will Writing a Bestseller Make Me Famous?
Writing a bestselling book or novel can make you famous, but it’s unlikely. Only a handful of books become bestsellers, and fame doesn’t always come with it. According to the New York Post, the chances of becoming famous are 1 in 62,986.
For your book to land on the New York Times Bestseller List, you have to sell around 10,000 copies, usually within the first week. Unless you secure 10,000 pre-orders before launch, you’re unlikely to make the list.
Not only is this a difficult feat, but it’s improbable, at least for most authors.
According to Forbes, there are between 600,000 and one-million books published annually in the United States. Approximately half of those books are self-published on platforms such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Kobo. Unfortunately, the majority of those authors won’t sell more than 250 copies.
Thousands of people have written books read by only a handful of people. And, many who’ve written bestsellers never became household names.
Selling 10,000 copies of a book isn’t enough. Fame doesn’t come from sales, but rather, it comes from movie deals, interviews, podcasts, and becoming a regular face or name in the mainstream media.
Unfortunately, most of the potential for fame dies down shortly after the book’s initial launch. So, authors must find a way to stay relevant and hold on to that fame once it comes, if it comes at all.
How To Become Famous From Writing a Book
Most successful authors will tell you that the quickest way to become famous by writing a book is by having the book picked up by a film production company. However, that’s not something that happens often, nor is it something you can force.
The book must be extraordinary with a cult following — one that’s nearly guaranteed to earn money at the box office — and executives must see it.
So, the first step is to pick a genre and then write an exceptional book. Once published, or shortly before launch day, begin promoting and building an audience. If you’re publishing with a traditional publisher, they’ll have a marketing plan.
It’ll likely include events and book signings to push the book.
With self-publishing, you do all of the work. You could build a following on social media, hold book signings at local bookstores, or visit conventions relating to your genre.
As your following grows, feed them, and don’t leave them hanging. Here’s how to do that:
- Interact with other authors regularly.
- Recommend good books.
- Keep followers in the loop about your book launch and upcoming events.
- Post regularly about any interviews, podcasts, blog posts, or other media you’re involved in.
When it comes to fame, the genre you’re in matters. Pick a genre in which you love reading and writing, and stick to it. This could help you build your following.
For example, a successful fantasy novel could land you an invite to a fantasy convention as a guest speaker. Or writing a political bestseller could lead to news outlet invites for on-air discussions. These are easy ways to stay in touch with your fan base and keep your name out there.
Consider Small Town Fame
Fame doesn’t happen overnight for most, especially for authors, so it’s best to start small. One way to do this is by climbing the fame ladder by starting in your city or town.
After writing a book:
- Engage with people. Get to know your community and talk about your book.
- Share details of your book’s launch. Then, share again on publication day.
- Set up book signings at your local bookstore. Share the dates on the town’s Facebook group.
- Attend local events regularly. Go to conventions, festivals, and other community events.
Over time, you could quickly become a household name within your community.
However, it’s important to remember that even if you check every box and write a novel that rivals “Frankenstein,” you may still only achieve moderate success because of the abundance of competition.
Those with more money to spend on marketing could find themselves with a bestseller while yours sits on the back shelves of the bookstore collecting dust, which shows that marketing matters.
Now, we circle back to what was said in the first section: Writing a book does not guarantee fame. You must write a book that people want to read and enjoy reading enough to recommend to others.
Additionally, you must market that book successfully, whether through a traditional publishing company’s marketing team or your own self-promotion.