Right, then. I have an amazing true story. I want to write a book about it, which is something that I have never done before. My internet research suggests that I have to write a book proposal to get a publisher’s attention (self publishing wasn’t on my radar screen at the time). I learn what the general format is for one of these things. I write an “Overview” that was my best guess as to what might interest a publisher. As I put it in my last post in this series, I went “big game hunting” in terms of suggesting that my book would combine the attributes of three mega best sellers.
So what to write for the sales objective? Do include what I want to achieve, what I think I can achieve, or what I think the publisher wants to see?
What I want (and wanted then) is to maximize sales. Not profit, but sales. I want to effect positive social change. I want to expose an inherently corrupt and out-of-control family “justice” system. I want to destroy the Matriarchy, much like Neo wanted to defeat The Matrix. To do this I need to achieve sales, and lots of them.
The best sellers that I was aiming to emulate in terms of success were:
When last I checked, these books (and their subsequent franchises where applicable) sold in the millions or tens of millions of books. I went with the lesser figure of one million, and then reduced it by an order of magnitude to allow for the fact that it was unlikely that a new author could hit a #1 run away best seller on his or her first book.
100,000 books is not a figure to sneer at, obviously, and I would be very pleased to eventually get there. Odds are against it. But, with 30 years in the military, I am not afraid of a challenge. Hunting nuclear attack submarines is surely more difficult that writing a best seller, isn’t it?
Remembering that less is more, here is what I wrote:
* * * * *
The sales objective for ONE is to exceed 100,000 copies, with a formal desire to surpass this figure by an order of magnitude. Ideally, it will rival or even surpass any of the bestsellers identified in the first paragraph of this proposal.
* * * * *
Was I dreaming in technicolour, or setting an ambitious but attainable goal? Time, I suppose, will tell. But unless I am deluding myself, test reader feedback consistently suggests that I am still in the game, so to speak. The book seems to resonate with people, for multiple reasons and on different levels.
So, until life informs me otherwise, I continue to hunt big game on the NY Times best seller safari.