Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Is Selling Books The Only Validation Authors Seek?

Finding writers who don’t care about selling books might seem like a silly pursuit.

Still, most serious writers are Way  more concerned with writing books than selling them.

That seems true even in this new era of self-publishing.

Do authors still crave seeing their books in a brick-and-mortar store?

Do E-shelves, crammed to overflowing with not-so-serious authors’ wares, feel wrong?

But, bottom-line, selling enough books to begin a chain-reaction of word-of-mouth sales is still the most sane endeavor, even if selling that “seed-stock” takes a long time

I came across an article by David Rory O’Neill that reminded me about a post I published back in May of last year—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s just a bit from that post:

Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author.”

Tobias, in the quoted article, said:

“Making a living off art is hard.

“But that isn’t a sexy sell.

“That isn’t to say you should give up. Fuck that. But I am going to say: get ready to work, don’t expect riches. Focus hard on the art….

“There’s a lot of snake oil sales going on. And a lot of well meaning people who won the lottery telling everyone to go buy lottery tickets while financial advisors shake their head.

“Pretty much the same as its always been

“PS: this survivorship bias also works for writing advice about ‘how to write’ if you think about it

So back to that article by David Rory O’NeillOpinion: Empowered by Self-Publishing, Still Seeking Self-Worth.

A few words from David:

“For me, success began when I stopped beating at the gatekeepers’ doors and taught myself how to self-publish properly. I found an editor and a designer, and I clawed my way to getting the books right. I was empowered by the creative freedom I’d found.”

“I consider I have been successful artistically and I’m proud of the work I’ve produced, but that success is tainted by the feeling that until I break out of the lower reaches of obscurity I occupy on Amazon and Smashwords, then my success will always be incomplete – lacking the final thing that removes self-doubt.”

Perhaps David and Tobias might have a nice chat?


Don’t forget, this week only, over 40,000 Free E-books are available

And, do notice, when you go to the Smashwords Free E-book page, there are a number of category filters at the top to help you find the books you want :-)
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4 responses to “Is Selling Books The Only Validation Authors Seek?

  1. penpusherpen March 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Hmm, perhaps so, Alexander.. :) . I’d be terrible at publicising/pushing my own work, I get a twitch every time I click ‘send emails’ for my link to Google + Shall I shan’t I kind of thing… I mean who’d want to get an email about me? Eeny meeny….click!! So, back to obscurity I go…. with a smile on my face of course… :) xPenx


  2. Alexander M Zoltai March 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    The promotion of an author’s work by that author can be grindingly hard work; yet, also, accompanied by a certain attitude, it can be fun

    However, Pen, just because I asked the question—Is Selling Books The Only Validation Authors Seek?—certainly doesn’t mean I necessarily think the answer is “Yes”………


  3. philipparees December 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Very much with David’ final quote. Every reader who validates a book is a rung in the ladder of self belief. If only they realised how important they are! What I meant about the ‘questionable paid for promotion’ is that nobody but the author really knows the uniqueness or the reasons and paid promotion must by its nature be a little generic. Having said that I have recently discovered someone who has shown such original insight and creative thinking on my behalf, I might have to eat all my words. So watch this space.

    Do these postings suggest Alexander that you are recovered? If so I am delighted to hear it.


  4. Alexander M Zoltai December 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Dear Philippa,

    The post that mentioned my operation was about a year and a half old :-)

    I am “better”; though the pharmaceuticals they gave me crippled my walking for over a year…

    When you say, “watch this space” do you mean these comments or your blog??


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