What Makes a Bestseller?

Opening Remarks

It's appropriate that I use this first entry to thank the two people who got me into blogging: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.  Robert is the author of the extremely popular Scobleizer blog which provides insights to his life as a technical evangelist at Microsoft.  Shel's blog, ItSeemstome is all about "Technology, Society and Where They Intersect".  Together, Robert and Shel are writing a book on blogging for my employer, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.   I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to be associated with them on this project.  Look for the latest information on their book at The Red Couch .

In the coming months I plan to use this blog as a vehicle to discuss a number of things that I'm passionate about:

  • The business of publishing, specifically, books on technology
  • The technology of publishing and where we're heading
  • Gadgets, gizmo's and the world of personal technology
  • Business challenges, lessons learned, lumps I've taken
  • Family happenings
  • Sports, sports and more sports, especially baseball (Go Yankees !)

I hope you'll contribute to the upcoming observations and opinions.




A great first posting! I wrote about it over on http://redcouch.typepad.com. Keep up the great work.

Susannah Gardner

As another Wiley-blessed author with a book on blogs (Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies) I'm thrilled to see your blog! Can't wait to read more...

Ellen Gerstein

Dear Joe-Blog,

I can say there is nothing average about this Joe. Looking forward to reading (and hopefully staying out of) the blog.

Oh, and it's only 43 days to opening day at the Stadium! Drove by yesterday and paid a silent homage.

Jim Minatel

Any would-be technical authors and editors should add Joe's feed to their RSS reader. I've worked for and with Joe off-and-on throughout the last dozen years and I'm still learning from him all the time.

Marc Orchant

Joe: Welcome to the Blogosphere! Your insights, especially on the art and craft of writing and publishing, will be a welcome addition to my aggregator. As a life-long Mets fan, I guess I'll have to suffer through the Yankees posts ;^)


Welcome, Joe! I've added you to my feed reader and I'll be looking forward to reading more...

John Helmus

Nice post Joe! Keep up the good work! There isn't a blogging policy at Wiley is there?

Joe Wikert

Hi John. No, I'm not aware of any blogging policy at Wiley. I figure as long as I adhere to general corporate policy, make sure everyone knows the postings are my opinions and don't necessarily reflect the position/opinions of Wiley, etc., I should be fine. In many respects, this would be like givig a talk at an industry conference...although the audience can be much larger on a blog and the comments live on forever!

Jeremy C. Wright

Joe: Don't kid yourself. Everytime you converse in a forum where there is ambiguity there is always the potential for misinterpretation.

I'd ask for a blogging policy if I were you. Or at least guidelines. Clarity is always good :)

Robert Scoble

Great! This will be interesting. As an author I appreciate getting tips from my publisher, and an inside look at what you all are thinking.

So, how do you know when you have a winning book?

What kinds of books are you looking to publish? What's on your radar screen?

What book have you turned down that you wish you would have published?

Joe Wikert

To be honest, sometimes you don't know you've got a real winner on your hands till you start to see it fly off the shelves. Other times, such as with Kevin Mitnick's "Art of Deception", we knew we had a hit as soon as we signed it. This is another one of those "great author platform" situations I talked about in my "What Makes a Bestseller" post.

As far as what kinds of books I'm looking to publish, my group focuses primarily on the computer book space, so it would have to be something with a tech connection. The hobbyist market is extremely strong right now though, so you'll continue to see us looking for new ideas in this area. Good examples of recent success stores include just about any book in our co-publishing venture with ExtremeTech: http://www.extremetech.com/category2/1,3971,1366100,00.asp

What book have I turned down that I wish I would have published? Well, I can't think of any that I've actually turned down, but I can name quite a few that I wish I would have thought of! For example, "The Missing Manual" series from O'Reilly ( http://www.missingmanuals.com/ )is very well executed and features a title that resonates with today's user who's frustrated with the lack of documentation. I also admire what Pearson has done with their Adobe Press line, specifically the "Classroom in a Book" series. It too is well done and features a series name that's very effective.

Mikal Belicove

Hi, Joe:

Welcome to the Blogosphere. Stop by sometime...I'm just down the hall from Barry's office (the one with the big bowl of M&Ms)... would love to say hello in person.

Mikal Belicove

Hi, Joe:

Welcome to the Blogosphere. Stop by sometime...I'm just down the hall from Barry's office (the one with the big bowl of M&Ms)... would love to say hello in person.

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