Writing and publishing a book nowadays is only half the challenge for authors. The other half is marketing. It is difficult to get the word out. It is an industry filled with material for readers to choose from. It is estimated that at least 300,000 books are published annually in America alone.
How many books do you read?
It is estimated that the average American reads between 1-5 books a year. That is it. In fact, I know quite a few people who don’t read any books at all. They just tell me straight up front – I don’t read.
There are thousands of books going completely unnoticed. Paperback is an especially hard sell. Around 570 million printed books were sold in 2015. The most difficult part of that number for authors is, the top sellers were Adult Coloring books – a new fad.
The printed book industry has been decreasing over the years with increased interest in ebooks.
“You never write books by giving up. You write them by going the distance, again and again. You really need to be a long-distance runner.” – Helen Schulman
It is very difficult to make any money or receive much fame from writing a book. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably selling you something that is not a book.
The average book sells less than 250 copies a year. It is estimated that over the course of its lifetime, the average book will only sell around 3000 copies. For self-publishers, people without any support team, marketers, advertisers and financial backers, even hitting those thresholds is difficult.
There are marketing people that will try to convince authors that their writing didn’t sell well because it wasn’t well written, didn’t have a good enough title, or had a poor cover. Many of the people saying these things, make money selling these services to authors, so, of course, it is in their best interest to get you to believe it.
Now that is not saying there are some poorly written books with terrible titles and horrible covers – there are. And now that self-publishing has become more mainstream, many people who never even considered writing a book, are writing books. Many are doing it because they think they can get rich quick.
My advice for anyone who wants to write – make sure you really want to write because you want to write. You can’t do this because you have a message to send to the world or want to be famous and make lots of money.
“Write the book you want to read.” – Carol Shields
That is the root. That has to be first and foremost in your heart. If it is not, you will not do your best. You will find yourself conforming to what you think an imagined audience wants to read. You’ll be trying to write books other people want to read without ever knowing if they will read them until after they are done. And when they are done, if they don’t sell, you’ll have a hole in your heart. You’ll know you compromised and have a work of art you don’t even like.
So far, I not only like what I’ve written – I love it.
I look at my books and sometimes can’t believe it came from inside of me. But I know I feel this way because I wrote what I wanted to read, it came from the heart.
Do I break some “gospel-rules-of-writing” at times? Heck yeah! Why? Because it’s my art and written the way I want to hear it and feel it. I’m not trying to craft it in a way that arouses English professors.
I want it to be generally accepted as good writing but it still has to be my voice, my word, and my way. My books are my world – the way I see them. I don’t ever want to look back and wish I had done it different.
Authors need your support. They need you to read their works, review their works and spread the word for them – especially self-published authors.
Authors need people who are willing to tell other people – “GO BUY THIS BOOK!”
One of the advents of Kindle ebooks is Unlimited and the Page-Per-Read fund. Anytime you or your friends or anyone goes on an Author’s book on Kindle Unlimited and just reads several pages without buying anything – just peak inside – the author gets a small payment – like 0.004 cents per page. If enough people do even this, it helps authors.
Authors also need reviews. Kindle books often cost less than a cup of coffee. Authors move up in rankings and have a better chance of being noticed by other readers if readers buy those read those pages on Unlimited, purchase even Kindle books and write reviews. No author can do this alone.
When authors stock the book themselves and sell them by hand at shows and fairs, those numbers don’t get registered anywhere and never count towards the rank that increases book sales.
Authors need loyal fan bases who are excited about their work and support it, help them spread the word and urge others to buy the book, read it and write a review.
No matter how great the writing or ingenious the story, it takes time and patience to keep writing and discovering a support group, a core of loyal fans.
There are countless tales of now famous authors who faced rejection time and time again. Many already know about J.K. Downing and how 12 publishing houses rejected Harry Potter. James Patterson also was rejected dozens of times. Meg Cabot. John Grisham and William Faulkner. Louisa May Alcott and Agatha Christie.
Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was so complex and interwoven with symbolism that it was rejected by literary scholars when it was first published, trashed by reviewers, selling less than a thousand copies its first year.
In fact, during Mellville’s lifetime, it undersold his other books.
But somewhere along the way, scholars and other critics began to discover the magic and story beneath all the contempt for it. Herman Melville was long dead, nearly fifty years, when Moby Dick was finally recognized, by many intellectuals, as one of the 100 best books ever written.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury
Click on the link below to follow and support me on Amazon. Like all authors, I need your help. Go into the highways and byways, fields and forests, tell all others “Buy his books!”