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Interesting blog "The Smoke and Mirrors of the Self Publishing Game"

3041 Views 30 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  Vaalingrade

Some quotes "You could write a 100% crappy book - it doesn't matter, if you know how to play the game."

"The trick to being an Amazon Bestselling Author is exactly that - a trick"

Thoughts? I kinda agree with some of this article, but I'd love to get others opinions.
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I agree there's a certain amount of gamesmanship that many employ when launching a book. That said, the article sounds like sour grapes. The example books she links to are hardly bestsellers; likely, they're selling one to two books a day.

First thing I noticed is she is not showing the bottom of the Amazon page.   
Note in a couple of those very niche genres, there are less than 50 books total.  I forget what sub genre it was but there was a blurb bragging about the best seller status.  When I looked, yes she was in the top 10.  Number 7 actually.  Oh wait there were only 8 books in that sub genre.  I laughed and didn't pick up the book
Grapes are so sour they taste like sauerkraut.

Cin, hon, you got a massage.  ;)
I'll agree, serious sour grapes there.

Still, everyone should listen to her. Why? Because she's been published since December 4th of last year! That right, 82 whole days! She's a fric*n veteran at this game.

I seriously hope nobody reads this and thinks its good advice.

Better advice; stop trying to learn the "tricks of the trade" and just learn the trade.
Sure, there are tricks, but they only last for so long. What matters is pleasing the fans in the long run and adding new ones all the time - going forward instead of backward.

In support of this guest blogger, as I mentioned in the post intro, I repurposed Jenn's comment into a blog post. I felt she offered some solid points and I still do. Is her post the be-all-and-end-all of advice tips? No - and as she mentions, she simply wanted to share her takeaways.

As Sarah Arrow shares in her comment after the post, she has more experience than Jenn, and found much to agree on (not least, building the audience prior to the sale). Over on Google+, where I shared the post, other more-established authors mentioned a lot of similarities in their experiences too. From my own point of view, I see a lot of what Jenn talks about happening a lot.

There are authors that game the system. There are crappy books that push quality tomes out. There are unethical approaches taken all the time. But this is just by a certain section of Amazon "authors". For the bad ones, there are good ones too - I'm sure this forum is full of many of them.

The point is, it's simply a point of view from someone whose experience resulted in making some discoveries that surprised her. Is it sour grapes? Who knows? Personally, I didn't see it as that - instead, I saw it as a typically blunt Australian point-of-view on something few people talk honestly about.

But nice to see more established authors on a forum not get all high and mighty and call her out for being a "newbie" who shouldn't talk about things she doesn't know. Oh, wait....
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My only problem was her presentation.    I didn't see sour grapes but maybe her misuse of the word bestseller.  There are crappie  and good books in all genres.
I doubt that trying to game the system will earn you much in the long run.  Gaming the system may make you a few thousand, but it's unlikely to earn tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In today's economy, you need to be earning at the level of the tens of thousands to make a living at writing.  If you're earning large sums of money from several titles, people are buying because they like your writing, not your marketing.  Marketing may have gotten you to the first rung, but from there on up, it's all resting on your own writing ability. 
DannyBrown said:
But nice to see more established authors on a forum not get all high and mighty and call her out for being a "newbie" who shouldn't talk about things she doesn't know. Oh, wait....
We have a word for blog posts like this: linkbait.

No, I didn't read the blog post. I wasn't even going to comment on the thread until you decided to. But...

There are authors that game the system.
And there are also crooked cops. And crooked lawyers. And crooked pizza shop owners. And crooked accountants. I have no shame in calling out bad behavior, but I don't use the bad behavior of others as an excuse for why my books may or may not be selling. I'm one of the more militant people around here when it comes to author ethics, but there is a world of difference between pushing the industry to do better and whining that crooks are keeping your book from becoming a bestseller.

There are crappy books that push quality tomes out.
No, "crappy" books don't impact quality books. I don't assume readers are idiots. Readers know what they like, and just because they aren't buying your book doesn't mean some crappy book is keeping you from being discovered. It just means a book you don't like has found an audience. Hey, I personally think 50 Shades of Gray is crap...but I also don't think that book keeps my books from being discovered and I don't think it means the author was gaming the system. I just think it means a lot of people like Twilight erotic fan fiction.

typically blunt Australian point-of-view on something few people talk honestly about.
If you are going to be blunt, you can't be surprised when people are blunt right back at you. Particularly when those people have a ton more experience in the industry and know linkbaiting when they see it.
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I particularly liked it when she wrote:

'Pick your Longest Blog post or write out 25 recipes and launch it as a Kindle book, under a pseudonym. This way you can test and practice how to play the game while you’re writing your real book.'

My recipes would probably kill someone.

Plus if I learned how to market recipes to a cooking audience, it wouldn't teach me how to market my serious fiction, because that's sci-fi and a completely different readership with its own needs. Yes I'm sure my readers all eat, but still. Maybe I should try 'Shadow's Cookbook.' He does live on a farm with a 'traditional' kitchen!

If I did the Blog post under a pseudonym and actually got it to be popular, it would only be a matter of time before someone either googled it or searched for it in some other way and wound up on the site with my real name.

Seriously, I don't regard any of this as good advice. The idea that it doesn't matter how good your book is should never be perpetuated. Self-publishers are often viewed as having this attitude when many of them just simply don't. I won't speak for anyone else, but I hope there are plenty of authors on this board to whom THE QUALITY MATTERS A LOT.

Even if you really could 'game the system' in the ways she suggests, what would you rather do it with? A limp effort you knocked out in a few nights and didn't really care much about, or with the best book you could write after countless hours of honing the craft?
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Well, that article was pure ... blech.

Maybe I am just too much of a sellout to understand.  ::)
We have the whine. Where is the cheese? I'm starving. I'm seriously food obsessed today.
Lydniz said:
Mmm...chicken... ;D
I'm stuck with fish and red beans and rice. I didn't even buy any soups with chicken. I'm a sad little puppet.
This'll end well.
Seriously, when are the mods going to add a like button. :-*

People ... don't click the link.
C. Gockel said:
Seriously, when are the mods going to add a like button. :-*

People ... don't click the link.
Hopefully never.
I want a LIKE button. Liking C. Gockel.  Not the link.
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