Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Getting Published Is Easy ~ Getting Readers Is Hard Work


My New Year’s Resolution will be Steady As She Goes

I have a new novel published and two companion books in the works

And, I have a somewhat unique way to find Readers

Past posts in this blog about Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing can, hopefully, help a few writers make a few decisions about which path they want to trudge

I published my novel, Notes from An Alien, for a total of US$200.

If you need to pay an editor (mine did it just to be acknowledged in the book) and a cover designer (NASA provided me with an image, gratis), you could use something like Kickstarter to generate a few thousand dollars.

For some insight into using Kickstarter, check out, The Challenges of Using Kickstarter to Fund a New Novel.

So, you get published. Where are your readers?

Even traditionally published books can languish in the arena of readership and many a traditionally published author has had to do their own work to build an audience.

And, while traditionally published authors can wait years for a finished book to hit the shelves, it may only be on those shelves for a few months.

Digital shelves bring up the concept of the Long Tail—books selling “forever”—“…the cultural benefit of all of this is much more diversity, reversing the blanding effects of a century of distribution scarcity and ending the tyranny of the hit.”

Still, the author with print or ebooks on a digital shelf needs readers

That Long Tail article addresses some of this but an author will still have to build an Audience or Platform to get the “recommendation tools” of the digital shelves working for them.

Seth Godin in the article, What I Learned In My Year Of Revolutionizing Publishing, says something profound about what he calls Permission Marketing—having a “tribe” of readers who have given you permission to let them know what you’ve done (this is the modern way to “sell”):

Permission is still the most important and valuable asset of the web (and of publishing). The core group of 50,000 subscribers to the Domino blog made all the difference in getting the word out and turning each of our books into a bestseller. It still amazes me how few online merchants and traditional publishers (and even authors) have done the hard work necessary to create this asset. If you’re an author in search of success and you don’t pursue this with single-minded passion, you’re making a serious error. (See #2 on my advice for authors post from five years ago, or the last part of my other advice for authors post from six years ago.)”

Is all this talk about the hard work of finding readers going to make you give up?

If you have a book, in your head or written out, does its Life justify lots of hard work?

Does it seem unfair to you that sensitive, creative people need to roll up their sleeves and build a sustainable author platform?

What do you think is the most important attribute authors need to develop to be successful?

What is “success”?
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7 responses to “Getting Published Is Easy ~ Getting Readers Is Hard Work

  1. cmmarcum December 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    You are, without a single doubt in my mind, the most tenacious writer that I know. I wish I had half your drive. :)

    What makes some books a success? I don’t know. I try to download samples of the Top Ten. Most of the time I never figure out why some of them sold millions of copies. Sometimes I agree. And sometimes I think it’s just a big name writer or good marketing–or magic.

    Unfair that I have to wear so many hats? Yes, absolutely. Unfair, unfair, unfair. :(

    Like

  2. Alexander M Zoltai December 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    One hint to why certain books sell millions is in the article I linked to–The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson of Wired:

    “For too long we’ve been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. Many of our assumptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching – a market response to inefficient distribution. “

    Like

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