Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stop Listening To The 'Experts'

Yup, that's right, stop listening to all of those people who claim they have the answer for your book selling woes.  The truth is, they don't know jack squat, and if something they tell you actually worked, it was a happy accident, not expertise.  Yet, they are convinced that it's from their brilliant knowledge.

You need to promote your book on Twitter!  Use your Facebook!  Banner ads, that's the ticket!  And on and on it goes.  And it's annoying people, so in the words of Joey Gladstone from "Full House":  Cut.  It.  Out.

I can hear the screams already.  But if I don't market, I'll never sell any books!  And if I don't sell any books, I'm a failure!  Guess what?  The only one keeping score is you, and the rest of us don't care because we're worried about our own score.  In the end, you have to ask yourself this question: do you want to be a writer and turn out multiple works, or do you want to be a one-hit wonder and just live off your one or two books.  If you answered the latter, you may as well leave now, because you'll completely disagree with me.

This advice comes from someone who has over 30 years in the industry:  keep writing and publishing.  I think he said it better than that, but you get the idea.  When you keep writing and publishing, you add to your virtual shelf that people browse when looking for their next book.  As you have more books, you take up more of the virtual shelf space, making it more likely that someone will come across one of your works and want to buy it.  If they like it, they'll seek out more of your works, and hopefully tell their friends about you.

Do you need to get the word out?  Sure, there are plenty of ways to do it without going to the annoying lengths of tweeting twenty times a day or other social media annoyances.  Instead, figure out how to reach your target market.  Those are readers.  Where do readers hang out?  Some go to libraries, so think about doing something with your local library.  If that goes well, think about going to other libraries in your region.  Where else do they go?  Bookstores.  Why not try to do something with your local bookstores?  Also, have you considered sending out a press release to area news outlets when you release a new title?  I've done it, and it does generate sales.  What about local book clubs, have you considered contacting them to see if they would be interested in reading your book and discussing?  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.  And best of all, these target your potential audience of readers.

Another aspect that is tied in with this your sales numbers.  Will you sell a million copies of your book?  Probably not, unless you get really lucky.  More likely, you'll slowly grow your sales over time as you release more books.  This is as it should be.  So stop lamenting over your low sales numbers and keep working at it.  You'll get there, it just takes time.  Now get back to writing your next book!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Update On...Yours Truly!

It's been quite a while since I've last posted here.  My apologies for those that were hoping for more communication from me.  But at long last, I can give you all an update, which is great since it's the beginning of 2013!

I tried last year to hit a personal writing goal, but didn't exactly "make the grade".  Is that bad?  Some might say it is, but at least I had a goal.  Sometimes it's not the fact that you hit the goal, but that you worked toward achieving it.  Even when you don't hit the goal, you still make progress, and ultimately that was the plan.  Now for this year, I have the same personal goal, so we'll see what happens.  I've made a small dent so far, and if I can keep my momentum going that I've had in the past few days, I'll get a lot closer to hitting my goal this year than last year.

Speaking of goals, not only do I have a word count goal, I also have the goal of putting out the sequel to my first novel, "Coordinates For Murder".  Recently, I've put together some great material that I'm excited about for this sequel, and I'd like to finish it sooner rather than later, especially since I have homeowner goals of completing my basement remodel job, re-roofing my garage (with the help of some family), and at least getting started on completely redoing one of our bathrooms.  Of course, my wife and I love to camp, so we need to get out and do that more than a few times this summer, and I've also got a card/tile game that I'd love to get to a prototype stage.  Winter is the time to get this sequel written!

I also put out my second short story, "The Ritual", just a couple of months ago.  I'm really excited about this because I think it could be a launching pad for a new book series.  I created a secret society for this story, and I've given a hint at things that are much larger than what can be addressed in this story.  How does this secret society influence state-wide politics?  Businesses?  Families?  I don't know, but I get a smile on my face when I think about all of the possibilities.

I think that's about all I have, and if I think about adding anything else, I feel a heart attack coming on!  So, get your goals in order for the new year, and start working towards them.  Even if you don't hit them, you'll have made progress and learned a lot in the process.  And that's never a losing situation.