Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Selling Books Is Hard

So You Want To Be A Successful Writer… ~ Oh, My…


Last year I wrote the article Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers.

If you want to be a successful writer you should go read that article.

It begins by telling you that most books sell less than 500 copies.

Then, it explores a range of motivations for being a writer that don’t include making a lot of money.

Still, there’s more opportunity these days to make money as a writer—it just takes an incredible amount of work and a nice big helping of luck…

And, I should explain what “luck” actually stands for—Laboring Under Correct Knowledge…

Including this post, I now have 48 articles tagged “Writing Advice” (check out the Top Tags widget further down the left side-bar for more topics…).

Another article in this blog that aspiring writers might seriously consider reading is Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying?

In that post, I quote Cory Doctorow saying:

“Getting people to care about the products of your imagination is a profound and infinitely complex task that will absorb as much attention as you give it. Every book and every author brings a different proposition to the negotiation with readers, but there’s one thing they all have in common: unless someone takes charge of doing something, something clever and active and good and slightly improbable, no one will care about the book or the person who wrote it.” 

So, with that all said, here’s an article meant for bloggers but certainly just as valid for those who write books—101 Writing Resources That’ll Take You from Stuck to Unstoppable—though I can’t vouch for the helpfulness of every link that post offers…

Here are the topic headings in that article:

Handle Writer’s Block Before It Handles You
Boost Your Confidence, Mindset, and Motivation
Set Goals, Prioritize Your Time, and Create a Routine You Can Live With
Conquer Inertia and Stay Productive
Anticipate Stuckness and Fuel Up on Inspiration
Crush Distractions and Maintain Focus
Build the Right Relationships and Improve Your Communication
Get Extra Help with Tools, Services and Support
Feed Your Mind with Education and Community Resources
Bonus: Personal Growth + Writing = Awesome

And, my personal Bonus for the readers of this blog who want to be successful writers is my article back in June—The Successful Writer—that quotes heavily from an incredibly successful writer—Joe Konrath.
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Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying?


In spite of the news about unknown authors suddenly selling tons of books, most books have very few readers—some estimates put it at fewer than 100 books sold…

I’m going to reference a post on another blog in a minute that might give hope to aspiring writers but, first, let me link to a few of my own posts about why folks even start on the writers’ road toward uncertainty:

Why Do Humans Write?

Why Do Certain People Become Writers?

Why Do Authors Do What They Do?

In that last one, I quote Cory Doctorow saying:

“Getting people to care about the products of your imagination is a profound and infinitely complex task that will absorb as much attention as you give it. Every book and every author brings a different proposition to the negotiation with readers, but there’s one thing they all have in common: unless someone takes charge of doing something, something clever and active and good and slightly improbable, no one will care about the book or the person who wrote it.”

Admittedly, there are plenty of authors, who get a book published that sells a few hundred copies, who then stop writing

What in the world keeps folks going who write and publish book after book when they have no apparent hope of being widely read?

I’m hoping a few of you will answer that question in the Comments :-)

Here are a few other questions from that past post that deserve your answer in the Comments:

“Are you a creative writer? Do you know one?

“Why do authors pour so much of themselves into creations that may not be appreciated?

“Why do so many take on the burden of promoting their own work?

“I’m a self-published writer who’s doing my own promotion. Am I crazy?”

Actually, since I wrote those questions, I can answer that last one :-)

I’m probably not crazy since, even if my books don’t sell very well, the effort to promote them helps me find like-minded people who, in many cases, become good friends.

So, even if my effort only generates a nice group of people who might mourn my passing, who knows, my books might sell like hotcakes after I’m dead :-)

So, let me introduce Rachelle Ayala who has the article 5 Reasons It’s Hard to Market Indie Fiction and What to Do About It on Joel Friedlander’s blog.

I’m only going to list the 5 reasons it’s hard and let you go read her what-to-dos; except, for the first one, I’ll “cheat” and show you the whole reason:

Fiction Marketing is Hard.
“No one HAS to read fiction, period. Unlike readers of non-fiction, who have a concrete objective to search out a book, fiction readers browse and graze. They are not under a deadline to learn about a specific topic, or figure out how to fix a whatchamacallit. Reading fiction is a pastime, an optional activity. It competes with other sources of entertainment or doing nothing at all.”

Here are her other reasons:

Finding a Target Audience is Hard.

Getting Discovered is Hard.

Branding is Hard.

Keeping Readers Engaged is Hard.

Yet, more and more creative writers are ditching traditional publishers (who never really sold many books for Most of their authors anyway), ditching the old “sure-fire” procedures and working their butts off to do, what seems to many, the impossible

Even if you’re not a writer, or even if you’re still sold on the traditional route, I’d love to have you share in the Comments why You think so many writers are choosing to buck these tides………
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