Author Topic: Sell Loads of Books - My System Spelled Out  (Read 102362 times)  

Offline blakebooks

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2013, 10:51:08 AM »
Soothesayer: Never hate your big seller. Better to ask why your fiction isn't getting noticed. Erotica is a special case, I think, and I amended my post to say, "unless it's erotica or your name is Hugh." That should about cover it, I think.

No, the book business is a retail business, whether you have one book or twenty. Having more books makes it easier to not overdo it on one title, but it doesn't change the fundamental - books don't sell themselves. They need help to get discovered by readers. That help is promotions. I did interviews, guest blogs, co-marketing, etc. on my stand-alone books, and continue to do them, as well as advertise. It's just the nature of the business. I'd say if you aren't selling as many fiction titles as you want, take a hard look at the writing, and the covers, and if those are up to snuff, then look at marketing. What have you done TODAY to sell more of them? If the answer to that question, asked every day, is, er, um, shuffle shuffle...nothing...then perhaps the problem your book selling business is experiencing is in the management, not in the product...

I don't ask for reviews in my books as I think it looks beggy and amateurish. Dan Brown doesn't. So I don't. But I get plenty of reviews, so I don't really care that much about one more. But I think you get to establish the tone of your offerings, and I wouldn't put that in. Maybe an invitation to sign up for a mailing list and to look at your blog, but asking for reviews? Not my style. But to each his own.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 10:53:43 AM by blakebooks »


Offline Andrew Ashling

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2013, 10:59:53 AM »
Great post.

I have two questions.

1. At least for the moment your JET series seems to do better than your Assassins series (mind you, I'd give someone's arm and leg to sell as much). Any idea why?

2. About a year ago there was a writer on Reddit who had an AMA (Ask Me Anything). His strategy is similar to yours, except he doesn't go for quality but for "good enough" = value for money + volume.

I'd like your take on this.



Title: Broke $1000 in one day for the first time yesterday from self-published books.

Some excerpts:

Quote
Trying to stay as anonymous as possible but October 1st broke $300 for the first time. Two different genres -- stories and educational. Last weekend broke $800 for the first time.

Sales come from 5 things:

    Cover

    Description

    Ranking

    Title

    Reference

Notice I didn't put "content".

It's a giant game and the more books you have out, the more you sell. This month I expect to clear between 22-27k.

Sales come primarily from Amazon, but an additional 2-4k come from B&N with Smashwords bringing in a few more.

About to start turning the books into audio format, so that should be fun to test.

Quote
Ok, I'd say the overall quality that makes the presentation work is the speed with which people know what the book is about.

So the simpler, the more obvious, the better. If they have to think, they move on. These purchases are usually impulse.

About 8 months of part time messing around with this. Last month, made 12-14k, previous month, $5800, before that, $3800, 1800, 1200, etc.

If memory serves.

Total books of all genres = about 80.

Quote
Also, some of the books are only 10 pages, so it's not like I have 80 novels out.

I think the biggest realization was that most self-published work was just really bad. Horrible. Awful.

So as long as mine wasn't horrific it would sell. Was a big confidence booster.

Quote
When you upload a book to Amazon, you're allowed to choose 2 categories to put it in. Every successive book you write should reference the 1st book via an html link inside and in the description.

In addition, each book after the 1st should ONLY reference the 1st book, plus, all the successive books should go into new categories.

What this does is put your book out to as many audiences as possible. If you write 5 books, you have 10 categories, right? All 5 books point to one, your first.

People see the book, find your first one, then buy it. It goes up in the rankings. Because it's up in the rankings, people buy more of the follow-up books.

Basically, you need 7 books total before you really see the first one hit.

EDIT: Oh, and every link in every book you write should be an affiliate link. That way you get 6.5% or more of everything someone buys on Amazon after they use your link. I make an extra 5 or 10 bucks a day off that.

Quote
Well, let's say you wrote a Science Fiction book about robots. You'd put it into categories thusly:

Book One: Sci-Fi-General, Sci-Fi-Hi-Tech

Book Two: Sci-Fi - Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi - Space Opera

Book Three: Fiction - Thriller

And so on. Each book gets two categories. Remember, you're trying to hit a target demographic that will enjoy your story. No point in putting your book into Romance - Classic when it's about robots.

Quote
Put your writing in the same categories. If you want to do a different topic, use a different pen name.

When people see "Amusette" and have read something you've written, they already have an idea what they expect the next book to be. Don't disappoint them. I've tried to change and it doesn't work.

Also, you don't link diverse books. No point. You want them to stick with you (or whatever name you use), not bounce around. The more time they spend, the more likely they are to buy someone else's book.

Quote

About covers -- what do you do in designing them? Do you make them yourself or hire someone? Any tips you can provide, from your experience?

[]throwaway_writer

Self. Over time they have improved. At first they sucked, but the books still sold, so slow changes improved them over time.

There are a few things that make the difference in the covers (at least from my experience).

    Clarity -- The image should be immediately recognizable.

    Obvious -- You have about 10 seconds to get someone's attention. Don't expect them to peer deeply into your hidden message.

    Bright -- I don't know why, but the lighter the colors, the higher the sales.

    The thumbnail has to be understandable. If you can't tell what the book is by looking at the thumbnail, you have to switch it.


Quote
I have a long story I wrote a few years ago. As much as I would love to publish with "big publishing houses" or whatever, the book is something like 180k words. Do you think it has a chance of selling, or should I just not bother since it is so long?

[]throwaway_writer

Why do you want to publish with a big publishing house? Do you want the respectability or the audience?

180k is pretty huge so unless it's an epic it will be a tough sell.

I would probably break it up into 3 x 60k books, sell them at $2.99, then put all of them together for 6.99. It's better for you because you can put each book in a separate category plus all of them will refer to the 1st of the series. If you really wanted to have fun, drop the price on the 1st to .99 and put the other two at $3.99.

Quote
You've written 80 books in 8 months? How do you manage that time-wise? And quality-wise, are you sacrificing some quality to get the books out that fast?

[]throwaway_writer

They aren't 80 full-length novels. Some are short stories, some are collections of stories, and others are just little kids books.

Of course quality is sacrificed. But you have to get out the best possible book in the shortest amount of time. So it's not Hemingway, but I like to think they're pretty good.

Quote
I would tell myself that there's no point trying to write the next great American novel. Instead of going crazy trying to craft each sentence, go for the 80/20.

You get 80% of the result with 20% of the effort. Sure, I could make every last sentence resonate, but at the end of the day, people are careless readers. Be good, not great.


Quote
Great advice. So, having a lot of good books/stories is, on average, better than having a great one. Am I right?


[]throwaway_writer

Absolutely.

Sure, maybe you're the guy who wrote the next Harry Potter but remember, tons of people rejected her before someone took a chance on her.

Self-publishing is about good, not great. Look, you have to decide if you want to be the best writing author or the best selling author.

I just want financial security right now. If I can do this for a year or so, I'll be set for quite some time to come. I can work on the novels that actually MEAN something to me when I have a few hundred thousand in the bank and no debts.

There's a lot more. Complete thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comments/m2ejo/broke_1000_in_one_day_for_the_first_time/?sort=old












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Offline _Sheila_

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2013, 11:03:24 AM »
Thank you.

Sheila
               

Offline Denise Templey

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2013, 11:12:11 AM »
          
Happy reading:)

Offline MonkishScribe

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2013, 11:19:27 AM »
Thanks for the great post. Any advice on how to improve your concentration for long periods of time? I'm very good at sticking to a schedule of 1,500-2,000 words a day when writing my first draft, and have been consistently writing 3-4 books a year for the past few years, but I feel like I should be able to produce more if I could write for more than a couple of hours a day. I don't know if it's the sheer size of my to-do list every day, filled with lots of 2-10 minute tasks, or the internet, or some combination of factors, but I really would like to be able to focus better when I'm writing.

Offline blakebooks

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2013, 11:20:07 AM »
Andrew: Both great questions. For the record, I'm always AMA (especially when trying to avoid starting on my WIP today).

JET outsells the Assassin books because the protagonist is easy to like, and because it's written to a less gritty sensibility. The protags in the Assassin novels are morally complex and flawed, and there's no easy space you can shoehorn them into. To me that makes for far more interesting reading and storytelling, but many readers want a clearly good guy they can root for, and a clearly bad guy to root against. JET makes it easy on the reader. The Assassin novels don't. Also, and I think this is a big part of it, the first free book in the Assassin novels is the prequel, which was written mainly to flesh out the Assassin character from King of Swords. If I had to do it all over again, I would make King of Swords free, and charge $2.99 or $3.99 for Night, which is shorter, and to my ear, more satisfying if read after King. If you read JET, you'll find that within the first pages it's a mad rush, and it doesn't ever let up. It's not intended to be particularly believable, any more than Bond or Bourne were intended to be The English Patient. It's pure escapism, but written at a more sophisticated level than most, and aspires to be a bit better than the genre.

I couldn't disagree more with that poster. I mean, sure, you can live like that. I just choose not to. I take the writing part of this very seriously, and I don't believe that it's worth spending one's life on something that you're sort of tossing off with the least effort possible. I realize that's probably not a majority view, but I believe that we define ourselves by how we approach the things we believe matter. Writing matters to me. I do try to make every sentence as good as it can be, and I push myself in each new book to raise the bar. Even so, I manage to get a lot of work out the door, so to me that 20% effort for 80% sales is what gives us hacks a bad name - it's just a rationalization for laziness, IMO. There is more than enough mediocre writing in the world - why on earth would you want to add to it? I think that people can tell whether you're doing something for real, and I'm in this for the long haul. My heroes are people like James Lee Burke and David Foster Wallace. People who know how to use language to create lush, incredible effects. While I don't pretend to be in that league, I sort of pin a picture of them up on my mental board every day when I start writing, and I hold myself to a better standard than "good enough."

Look, I know that's probably hokey and overly idealistic, but it's just the way I'm wired, and I can no more write at a 20% level than I could cheat grandmothers out of their savings. Some can, and think anyone who doesn't, and who works hard to create value, is a fool, but I can't. I believe if someone is going to pay $6 for one of my books, they deserve the best I can do, every single time. I know there are plenty of authors who have careers, whose work I think is a bad joke. Many of them outsell me. That's fine. Let them. I prefer to try to be relevant to kindreds who find the same things important as I do. Bluntly, I write for those who get it. Not to trick those who don't. I know I'll never sell 10 million books a year, because I write at too high a level - I was told that by a renowned editor. Said I write at a second year university level, in a world of fourth grade level readers. My response was, too bad for them. And that's still my response. I do this because I'm serious about it, not because I want to hawk widgets. I've already sold enough widgets in my life so I don't need to be in that business.

For what it's worth, what that poster is describing is a gimmick. It's not a career. And his goals aren't lofty - they're to make a few hundred grand, basically scamming readers, and then he'll consider delivering value. Guess what? I don't want to be that guy. Let him. He won't have the career I want. I'm making huge money right now, and I'm not compromising my vision, and I'm certainly not scamming readers selling my 20% efforts. His perspective is that it's all a big game, and that readers are basically lazy and stupid, so why bother trying to write anything that isn't also lazy and stupid? This is a Reality TV producer, and I'd think I'm more of a film guy. Both are viable, but I prefer my side of the bed on this one.

Not that I've thought about it or anything. Grrrrrr.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 11:29:12 AM by blakebooks »


Offline Jay Allan

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2013, 11:20:20 AM »
I agree with everything 100%.

"9) Make sure your product description rocks, is short and compelling, and sucks the reader in. After your cover, the product description has to sell the book. Don't give too much info, don't spell out the plot like it's a test. Give the high points that will interest a reader in knowing more. And make sure it's coherent and there are no typos or bad grammar, as that will kill most of your sales out of the gate."

And this doubly.  I see blurbs that look like Wikipedia articles on the book.  I've also seen some really bad ones from trade pubbed books.  3 or 4 short paragraphs, no more than a couple sentences each.  That's all you need.  More is clutter.

Offline Soothesayer

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2013, 11:22:06 AM »
Thanks for the great post. Any advice on how to improve your concentration for long periods of time? I'm very good at sticking to a schedule of 1,500-2,000 words a day when writing my first draft, and have been consistently writing 3-4 books a year for the past few years, but I feel like I should be able to produce more if I could write for more than a couple of hours a day. I don't know if it's the sheer size of my to-do list every day, filled with lots of 2-10 minute tasks, or the internet, or some combination of factors, but I really would like to be able to focus better when I'm writing.

If you haven't already, check out Dean Smith's blog. He did a week long blog post on this topic, writing over 7k words per day as a ghost writer. He doesn't write that much every day, but it was interesting to see how he breaks it up into 500-700 word chunks throughout the day, rather than go at it all in one sitting.

Offline Jay Allan

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2013, 11:26:40 AM »
Lots of solid advice here; thank you.

Must take exception with #3 though. You say: "Don't bother with short stories or novellas (40K or under)."

That's a personal, subjective preference. I've got quite a few books at 40K or under that are selling like mad. Just because you don't personally enjoy writing or reading something of that length, doesn't mean that it's good blanket advice for the rest of the world to completely avoid that length.

Overall though, good advice.


I understand what you are saying.  I have a few short pieces that sell pretty well too, but the advice is sound for the typical writer.  For the vast, vast majority of authors, full-length novels will have a much better chance of selling.  Even if your name is Hugh, your astonishing success will probably take off to an even higher level when you write more installments and sell it as a novel-length work.

That's just where the market is now.  I tend to think shorter fiction has a bright future, but if you are struggling to break out now, you need to give yourself every advantage.

Of course, write what you want, but understand that novels sell better almost all the time.  

Offline SRecht

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2013, 11:30:54 AM »
I never set out to write a love story--that's just the idea that happened to pop in my head.  Never meant to follow it up with a coming of age story (WIP), but that's also what popped into my head.  I always felt that I needed to be more strategic and focused on developing a brand, and be more prolific in my writing, but I've been too busy (and lazy) to chart a path with goals and systematically follow it.  Thanks for your wise words and for providing the inspiration (and advice) necessary to take it to the next level.

Offline JeanneM

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2013, 11:34:44 AM »
This was a very good post and I thank you for it.  It is making me ask myself some tough questions, and I have a hard decision to make.  I don't have a head for business or promotion.  I have no money to invest in my writing, I just had a three day free run on my new book and only had 130 downloads. I think the writing is on the wall. No pun intended.  :)

 Thank you for setting things out so clearly.  It will help me to make my decision.  On a side note, congrats on your wonderful success!  

Offline MonkishScribe

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2013, 11:35:26 AM »
Russell,

What do you do with that 25% of the time you set aside for promo? These days I do very little, but mostly because I'm at a loss for effective ideas.

Offline blakebooks

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2013, 11:43:53 AM »
MichaelW and Soothsayer: I actually don't write nearly as well if I don't sit down and write for eight to ten hours, and do it sequentially, day after day, until the story's done. It's an odd process, because it sounds insane. It is. But I'm sort of like a computer programmer - I do way better if I'm completely immersed in the story, and words 3000-8000 will invariably be more coherent, more poignant, just better, than if I tried to do 1000 to 2000 words a day, or in chunks. I've tried that, and it doesn't yield as satisfying a result. I wish I could do it that way, but it winds up taking way more time in rewrite to get it up to snuff, and adds to the total number of hours I require to get to a good third draft.

Dean writes the way he writes. I agree on many things with him, and disagree on some. For instance, I believe books are made or broken on rewrite. He doesn't. That's fine. My experience has been that my first draft is good, but rewrite is what makes it great, assuming it makes it to that level. And third draft is like polishing the product after you've gotten it 85%. It's the final 15%. If I had to quantify it, I would say that first draft for me is 60%, second is 25%, and third is 15%. But it's a pretty important 15%. I couldn't imagine sending my first draft off to an editor. I'd be embarrassed. Nor would I ever try to foist that off on a reader. Because I know from experience that I can do way, way better on rewrite, even if the basics of the story are the same. But I guarantee the prose isn't. If it is, you're either doing a really lazy second draft, or your first is so brilliant you are one in ten million.

SRecht: That's BS. Business and promotion are just like anything else. You get good at it by deciding it's important to get good at it, and then you apply yourself, learn what you need to, and get better at it. If you decide that you aren't interested in operating a book selling business, that's fine. It's not for everyone. Alternatively, you can create goals that are more in line with what you are willing to do, and then be happy with your new goals. That's what I'm advocating - don't set yourself up for disappointment by having unrealistic expectations. Better to set attainable goals that realistically mirror what you are willing to or can do, than to be bummed all the time because you set goals that would require 12 hour workdays to get to, when you truthfully are only willing or able to invest 1. If your latest only saw 130 downloads, I would ask you what you did to get it more? And why, in this environment of Select being iffy for all but the top 10 or so per day, would you be doing free downloads? What's your hoped for outcome? Because it ain't going to be sales. I think I've made that about as clear as it can be. Aside from it being really easy to just list your book as free and hope, what's your objective in doing it?

MichaelW: What I do is exactly what I'm doing now. I post on message boards. I interact on twitter. I post on Facebook. I blog. I look at ad ops. I do interviews. I do something besides writing novels or editing them. I don't wait for effective ideas - I try to come up with new approaches, many of which don't work. But I always am looking, talking to other authors, exchanging ideas about what is working right now and what isn't. That's all part of the promo time. I've done cross-promos with other authors, coerced them into interviewing me, whatever. But it's a retail game, and you have to keep at it or you fade from the reader's eye. I think Konrath had that lightbulb recently go off for him - he suddenly started doing Select, advertising, blogging more. Again, the market's not static, and you're either shrinking or growing. So the question is always, which are you doing, and is that what you want?
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 11:49:58 AM by blakebooks »


Offline Alan Petersen

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2013, 11:52:37 AM »

Promotion: you don't say what the min. number of novels is, but I wouldn't even think of promoting unless you have 5-7 novels out, and preferably a series.



I don't follow, are you saying that if you only have one book, not to promote? Or you personally don't promote authors with just one book out?

I only have one book out so far and I promote it, how else am I going to reach readers? Plus it builds a readership and my brand as I'm ready to publish #2 and #3 in the series. I'd like to encourage one book authors (like myself) to put time aside, as Russell suggests, to promote. Don't wait until everything is perfect, go find your readers and write more books.

Offline S.A. Mulraney

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2013, 11:58:09 AM »
Thanks for laying it out there. Always good to hear it straight.
Check out my blog at http://samulraney.wordpress.com

Offline Andrew Ashling

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2013, 11:59:10 AM »
The protags in the Assassin novels are morally complex and flawed, and there's no easy space you can shoehorn them into. To me that makes for far more interesting reading and storytelling, but many readers want a clearly good guy they can root for, and a clearly bad guy to root against.

I couldn't disagree more with that poster. I mean, sure, you can live like that. I just choose not to. I take the writing part of this very seriously, and I don't believe that it's worth spending one's life on something that you're sort of tossing off with the least effort possible. I realize that's probably not a majority view, but I believe that we define ourselves by how we approach the things we believe matter.

For what it's worth, what that poster is describing is a gimmick. It's not a career. And his goals aren't lofty - they're to make a few hundred grand, basically scamming readers, and then he'll consider delivering value. Guess what? I don't want to be that guy. Let him. He won't have the career I want. I'm making huge money right now, and I'm not compromising my vision, and I'm certainly not scamming readers selling my 20% efforts.

I agree completely.

So here's my problem. I write the books I write because a) I want to & b) nobody else does. I don't compromise. I color outside every conceivable line. Tropes, you say? I laugh in your face. Grab them with the first sentence? Bite me. I deliberately set a slow pace, "Let daddy take you by the hand - don't interrupt me and I'll show you things the way they should be shown. Shut up."
Add that my MCs are gay, win wars, are vicious intriguers if need be, and are, to coin a phrase, morally ambiguous. The world is medieval but, as I keep repeating, like a hoarse vox clamens in deserto, not our Middle Ages and so people don't go around saying "forsooth" and "By your leave, My Gracious Lady." They will happily say "What the f*ck," though. (Even in a medieval setting people curse. We just don't know their best lines, so I felt free to substitute a modern equivalent. Shoot me.) Oh, and there is sex. Explicit sex. Like, you know, the thing that keeps our kind in existence, though some think it isn't "clean." Except, not so much, since we're talking gay sex. Yeah.

Your strategy works only if you happen to like/write a more conventional/popular genre. For me, POI and the likes are no option. Hence, Select won't work for me. Not enough anyway.
What I need is a way to find the audience for the Epic Pseudo Historical Fantasy Grimdark Gay Romance-genre. Can't be too hard.

Any tips are welcome.












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Offline AgnesWebb

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2013, 12:08:05 PM »
This is an amazing resource. Just downloaded the first Jet book to see how you do what you do!
Thanks for so generously giving us this info.

Offline ElHawk

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2013, 12:10:45 PM »
EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT advice, Blake -- all of it totally sound and very smart.  Well done!


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Offline K.R. Harris

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2013, 12:17:20 PM »
Great stuff, Russell! Thank you!

Offline blakebooks

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2013, 12:43:03 PM »
Andrew: I find when I'm trying to find an audience, or pander, I throw in a cat or a pony. Can never go wrong with a cat or a pony. Just saying.

Agnes: JET is obviously just a fun book. It's not Shindler's List. Nor does it try. But many seem to like it, so there's that.

OK, all, I am out of here. Damned WIP ain't going to write itself. I'll check in later this evening, but I've stalled long enough. Sigh...


Offline valeriec80

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2013, 12:43:25 PM »
I find that I have a philosophical difference of opinion with the OP, who seems to truly believe that there is a such thing as "good" when it comes to art.

I don't think that's true.

And I think that if you're a new writer reading this thread, before you go off swallowing everything he says hook, line, and sinker, you should consider that you don't have to conform to any standard of doing anything, because there is no standard.

No one remembers the people who followed the crowd. People remember the people who did things their own way.

Sometimes stuff like that has to be pointed out.

That said, his analysis is mostly accurate. Selling in the same (popular) genre, writing novels, and writing in as series does seem to sell better than doing it another way. So, know that. And then make your own decisions.

Personally, my strategy isn't to be Dan Brown. It's to be V. J. Chambers. Which means doing whatever the heck I want. And it's working for me thus far. :)


 

Offline Edward W. Robertson

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2013, 12:48:52 PM »
I just wanted to add that it takes some people a few books to find their genre. You don't have to stick to the same genre as your first or second book, but know that every time you switch, you're starting from scratch, albeit with more experience.

I second this. It's smart to have a plan from the start--I sure didn't--but publishing is a Sun Tzu situation, I think. Any good plan of battle rarely survives first contact with the enemy. Switching genres might slow you down short-term, but it could well be part of a stronger long-term plan.

If you're considering a switch because of poor results, though (as opposed to being less interested in the genre than you thought you'd be), it probably makes more financial sense to try a new series within the same subgenre rather than changing things up completely.

Just thinking out loud. Sweet post, Russell.
    

Offline Deanna Chase

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2013, 12:53:44 PM »
MichaelW and Soothsayer: I actually don't write nearly as well if I don't sit down and write for eight to ten hours, and do it sequentially, day after day, until the story's done. It's an odd process, because it sounds insane. It is. But I'm sort of like a computer programmer - I do way better if I'm completely immersed in the story, and words 3000-8000 will invariably be more coherent, more poignant, just better, than if I tried to do 1000 to 2000 words a day, or in chunks. I've tried that, and it doesn't yield as satisfying a result. I wish I could do it that way, but it winds up taking way more time in rewrite to get it up to snuff, and adds to the total number of hours I require to get to a good third draft.



I am exactly the same way. I write much better stories when I'm "all in" for days at a time.

Offline CraigAllanTeich

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #48 on: May 07, 2013, 01:03:35 PM »
Blake, this post was spot on. I both agreed with it and learned from it.

And I find nothing more motivating than the "ordinary" and documented success of mortal writers who are working it like a business and succeeding.

The Hugh Howey stories can be inspiring, but there's still that lightning-in-a-bottle quality that makes it all seem unattainable. Lightning may strike for you, me, or the next author BECAUSE of the diligence and hard work, but before that, seeing folks like yourself earning a great living doing what we love to do on our own terms is a beautiful thing.

Thanks for sharing!

-- Craig Allan Teich
Craig Allan Teich

Offline blakebooks

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Re: How To Sell Loads of Books
« Reply #49 on: May 07, 2013, 01:22:11 PM »
VJ: Those reading this can do whatever they like - smear bodily fluids on a canvas, and declare it art, if that's their thing. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Some will like it, others won't. I would never presume to tell others how to create art.

I'm not trying to share with people how to create art. I'm trying to share with folks how I have been commercially successful selling books, meaning what I would do to improve one's odds of making a decent living in the writing and book selling game. If you're selling plenty of books and you feel that you're doing what you want sales-wise, then perhaps my approach isn't for you. My approach is geared more towards those who want to know how I sell tens of thousands of books a month, not how I create my special brand of art, such as it is. Sorry if that was unclear.

As to there being no standard, I'm not so sure. I think a book has to be free of typos, written in a coherent, grammatically proficient manner, and communicate what the author is trying to convey. Many books fail on all four counts, thus they fall below the standard most readers would like to receive when they choose to spend their money on a book. Perhaps not. Perhaps readers should just be happy with whatever authors decide to put out there. Fortunately, the market tends to calibrate for that. Books that are below the standard generally don't sell well. One or two a day, maybe, if they're lucky. Having been there,I can categorically say I don't want to be a member of the commercially unsuccessful club, so I don't counsel that. Some folks will disagree.

Dalya: It's true that you have to be flexible. I'm not advocating rigidity, merely thinking things through before you invest a lot of effort, time and money into starting a book selling business. As to starting a writing business, that's an even tougher gig than a book selling business, as the odds are huge against ever making any kind of real money at it, because you need to get a book seller to decide to publish you and invest their money into your work. At least if you start your own book selling biz, you can choose to publish your own work, and if fortunate, can make money at both writing and book selling. I'm saying it's best if you decide what you want to write, and ask yourself the same questions a book seller would - "Who's the audience? Do you have more books like this in you?" Then once you know the answers, you're more prepared to take the first steps. Again, you don't have to do it that way. But it sure helps with the audience and brand building if you do, in my experience.

Ed: That's why they call me "Sweet Russ." Or I sort of wish they did. Never mind.

Craig: It's all just fodder to get us thinking. If someone goes on to be a best seller following this approach, I'd just hope that they would instruct their new legion of readers that there is nothing better in life than a Russell Blake book.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 01:24:49 PM by blakebooks »