Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

So Ya Think Your Book Will Be a Bestseller?


This post is for those who are brave enough to self-publish; though, it could apply to those going the traditional route, too; and, if you’re not an author, do, please, share it with any writer-friends you may have… 

I decided to write this post after I read Kate Evans‘ article, The Measure of Success in Indie Publishing.

Just a few of Kate’s thoughts:

“…I continue to attempt to market my first novel…

“…I shrivel at the kindly meant enquiry, ‘How are sales?’

“…my lovely novel, my first-born, has not sold as many copies as I thought it would.

“I am lucky to live in an era where I have access to the free marketing potential of social media. I realise that. Yet I have still to work out how social media sells or, indeed, whether it does at all.”

And, she sums up with:

“…the meaning of success comes from within, from the joy of writing, of telling stories, of the imagination.”

If you scan the ‘Net for articles on Book Promotion, something like 90% of them will talk about social media.

And, I agree with Kate that working out social media’s worth is tricky

I said this post might also apply to those treading the traditional path because, due to radical changes in the book market, the big, trad-publishers are expecting authors to have a social media platform of their own (before being considered for publication).

Time was an author could count on the publisher to promote for them; yet, even then most books never sold like most authors wished

So, should all authors just calm down and get used to only selling the statistically-expected 500 books or less?

Well, one thing that changes the equation is that e-books (displayed on digital shelves) will be available for discovery much longer than most print books in brick-and-mortar stores.

So, assuming an author has many years left on earth, they might see better than average sales.

Obviously, if a writer sticks to pumping out popular-genre-books and pulls a few well-organized attention-grabbing stunts, they might sell a few more books.

But, it’s more than likely better to buckle down and take the time to build a strong, secure, honest Author Platform while continuing to write and finding a way to make a living that won’t drive you crazy

Naturally, all the old methods of book promotion are still there—book signings, radio/TV interviews, newspapers, etc.—but, for most of us, they’ll all be rather local, without the Reach of well-planned, persistent on-line activities.

As a start—to begin a quest for creative ways to reach readers—try my past post, Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion ~ 6 Different Views.

And, if you’re sincere about taking charge of your own promotion, do read Jane Friedman’s article, The Online Presence That’s a Natural Extension of Who You Are and What You Do. (Is It Just Fantasy?).

Here’s an excerpt from that important article:

“To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities:

  • Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do. Or think of it as: writing as guiding star (as it should be).
  • Their voice, online or off, is authentic.
  • Their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.”

She shares the efforts of five extremely different authors, then says:

“All of the authors I mentioned—who are quite different in terms of their success, genre, and personalities—are able to focus on their writing and maintain an online presence, while appearing to remain whole. Each has found the right approach based on their strengths and goals, and you can do the same.”

And, I’ll close this post with an exercise

What follows is from another past post about Author Platform. See if you can come up with a few fresh ideas for your own platform from all the different definitions

“What’s a platform for?

“Here are a few definitions from my Oxford dictionary.

All the meanings have been used in various articles I’ve read about Author Platform:

*architectural plan
*draughtsman’s drawing
*chart, a map
*plan of action, government, administration, etc
*scheme, a design, a description
*thing intended or taken as a pattern, a model
*raised level surface or area
*natural or man-made terrace, a flat elevated piece of ground, a tableland, a plateau
*level place constructed for mounting guns in a fort or battery”

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5 responses to “So Ya Think Your Book Will Be a Bestseller?

  1. courseofmirrors September 22, 2015 at 5:36 am

    You say:
    …. Well, one thing that changes the equation is that e-books (displayed on digital shelves) will be available for discovery much longer than most print books in brick-and-mortar stores …

    I’m not sure about this, Alexander. A book is a book. I have a few copies that are over 200 years old. Given the speed of technical changes, digital formats might need updating every few years, and with the sheer mass of e-book listings many texts could go under.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai September 22, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Well, course…

      I based my estimation on the practice of traditional publishers’ selling to bookstores with the proviso of Return, which, it seems can happen very quickly with books which don’t sell fast enough (even as swiftly as two weeks)…

      Rather swifter than the pace of tech-change, eh?

      Also, I’m definitely not talking about how long books will last once purchased—my argument was limited to books in stores (digital or physical)…

      Sorry if I hadn’t made that clear enough………

      Liked by 1 person

  2. juliecround September 24, 2015 at 5:55 am

    On the life of books – i wonder how long a paperback lasts if it is passed from person to person? I haven’t yet reached the 500 mark in sales but i suspect i have in readers as my books get passed around.
    All part of the Author Platform?

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai September 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Very good point, Julie—multiple reads of each book…

      Like

  3. Pingback: What Is a #Bestseller, Really? And, Should an Author Try to Write One? | Notes from An Alien

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