I read something remarkable yesterday -

and succinct.  The topic was marketing – as you know, I do read a lot, and I recently posted an article on marketing by Jaye Manus.  But yesterday I read something so interesting on the subject and so to the point I had to mention it.  And as my friends know, I tend to beat around the bush before I come to the point…

Anyway, a blogger wrote this (or something like it) regarding marketing and book sales – (paraphrasing here because I don’t have a bloody clue where I read this) – It seems as if authors who have some success selling a self-published book, i.e., a work of either fiction or nonfiction, sometime only a single work, turn around and self-publish a book about how you too can achieve that same success.  Irony, anyone?  This article, or rather the writer, went on to state this – The reasons for success are always changing.  A book sells for many reasons.  Most of those reasons are intangible, and what works for one book or one author won’t necessarily work for anyone else.  Jaye Manus said virtually the same thing right here a couple days ago.

But if you check out Amazon’s bestsellers, some of the biggest selling self-pubbed books are on one topic – how to sell your self-pubbed book.  So we are buying these books and attempting to emulate the success of other self-pubbed authors.  I wonder how well we’re doing?

I guess this begs the question… How does an author make money on a book?  Outstanding writing/storytelling, or marketing?  Which of those two factors stands the test of time?

To quote Jaye - “The trouble with marketing is that no one really knows how it works or why it works when it does, so it’s actually more like the lottery where there just enough big winners to get everybody excited and salivating.”

Statistics about winning the lottery:

You are 50 times as likely to be struck by lightning as win the lottery.
8,000 times more likely to be murdered.
20,000 times more likely to die in a car crash…..

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12 Responses to I read something remarkable yesterday -

  1. Jaye says:

    Interesting article today about Lee Child and success. http://www.thebigthrill.org/2012/03/lee-child-and-the-long-game-lessons-on-success-from-one-of-americas-favorite-authors/

    I started reading Child about 3-4 years ago. Then I was hooked. I’ve read everything he’s written and intend to read everything he writes in the future (unless he goes all cultish and offers me Kool-aid or something). When he first started publishing, I wasn’t reading many thrillers or crime fiction. I was reading other things. In the mid-nineties, if he’d published one book and promoted the hell out of it and devoted all his time to marketing, I still wouldn’t have bought it or read it. He instead kept writing and kept getting better and building a fan base and increasing his reach through very exciting books and I bet a lottery ticket I’m not the only fan who “discovered” Child late in the game and became a devoted fan.

    Writers have to got to wriggle their way out of panic mode. Put the focus on writing better books. If your stories don’t fit in with today’s trends, maybe they will tomorrow. So keep writing. Get better. Improve your craft. Make your stories shine and enjoyable to read. Every time Fear pops up and you get the urge to game the system, squash that bad bug.

  2. Jaye – you’re kind of like me, I rarely read books from the genre I write. I’ve read and loved some of Lee Child’s books, but I didn’t read them when they were first released.
    I agree, we do need to get out of panic mode. It’s not helpful.
    The best thing about self-pubbing? I discovered Lawrence Block! Everything old is new again!

  3. Penelope says:

    I’m going to self-pub a book about how you can move to the North Pole and marry one of Santa’s sons. It’s a non-fiction companion piece to my Klaus Series. Hey, there are 3 sons left, so the odds are pretty good, if you can find Santa’s castle.


    Um, you did want us to notice how ludicrous this is, right?

  4. Ummm, well, Penny, I think you should write a ‘how to’ book to accompany your romances. I suspect it would be a big-seller – and this isn’t said tongue in cheek. People love those kinds of books!

  5. It is funny that we buy these books..The truth is nobody will ever repeat what someone else has done. We all have a different experience when it comes to our books.

  6. Savannah, what works for one author rarely works for another, for whatever reason. I think we just have to muddle thru on our own.

  7. Sandra Cox says:

    If you figure out how to many money selling books, share the info with your buddies okay? :) This buddy in particular would like to know:)

  8. I will write one on how to be a success at blogging. Of course, it all depends on how you define success. For me it would be making great friends and loving what I do, getting to read all the time. It sure as hell wouldn’t be about making money!

    No Mom, I shouldn’t write a novel. No. I . Shouldn’t. Yes. I do use my education, but which one?

  9. You’re right, Steph, go for it, a how-to-blog book. How to make friends and get free books. Hard to make money blogging, that’s for sure.

  10. Oh god, Sandra, don’t we all want to know the big secret…

  11. Tom Stronach says:

    I write, Oh hang on, not really
    I blog, Oh hang on, I more like ramble (and rant occasionally)
    I read interesting blogs from Twitter friends and things they point me to but there seems to a dearth of these self help blogs and links appearing, and people are probably buying them and signing up for them and the ‘geniuses’ who keep throwing it out there are probably making barrow loads of dosh while ‘proper writers wot like you guys are, are making a living and loving what you do

    Me, I just keep ignoring the crap and come back to the good blog sites and authors I enjoy…

  12. That’s what I like about you, Tom, you ignore the crap. Either that or you say something like – quit posting crap!