How Does a Self-Published Book Get On a Bestseller List?

April 2001
by Jeanette A. Griver and Michele W. Vodrey

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How does a self-published book get on the bestseller list of a major newspaper? Here’s how we did it. We chose a subject suitable to our thirty years of experience in the field of problem solving. We were successful in showing people in the private and public sector how to resolve problems related to work. We had a commitment to our ideas and objective methods to help people learn to take the guesswork out of problem solving. The participants in our workshops began to ask for a book on how they and others could apply the process (operational analysis) to their day-to-day problems. The timing was right. We had a different approach and could meet the current need for a self-help book that would show people how to solve everyday dilemmas that proved to be a challenge.

Now what? We selected certain problems that people faced today that we believed would have an appeal to a wide audience. We created six stories that would illustrate how different people applied the process of operational analysis (as outlined in a ten-step guide) to solve various problems: pets in condos or apartments; retirement decisions; single people looking for a relationship; career decisions; parent/child communication and suddenly becoming a widow. We had a passion for and commitment to the process and experience with the subject matter – ingredients helpful in bringing ideas alive to the reader and therefore making a salable product.

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