Have you, or did you really think hard about what being a writer means?
Put to one side all romantic notions of sitting under a palm tree on some distant shoreline, chilled glass in hand, after delivering your finished MS, or being on the bestseller list, with adoring fans begging you to sign your autograph on a brand new, unread hardback copy of your latest novel. These are all just fantasies that Hollywood dreams up. In reality most writers have to write several novels before having one that comes anywhere near to being a bestseller. My dear friend Ivy Lord, (aka Maggie Ford) showed me a print out of her sales in one quarter she had sold over 34k books, but is her pen name familiar to you, or did you have to look her up?
In today’s publishing world to get to the top of the Amazon list you need to be able to sell 3000 books a day. Can you imagine how much marketing you need to do to keep those sales ticking over. First you need to write, edit and rewrite a book which readers want to buy. Remember this book will need to be well edited and written because bad reviews will destroy any chances you may have to keep your readers coming back for your next book and the one after that. It doesn’t matter whether you’re published by a publisher, or self-published the quality of your book is all that matters to your reader.
The key is to keep your readers coming back for more, but first you need to find them. Spike Milligan, comedian said, ‘I thought I’d begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine.’
I guess what Spike is saying is when marketing we writers need to start reading books written by friends, in hope that they’ll return the favour by reading and reviewing our books. The only problem I see here is down to personal taste. Though my writing style is dark, I don’t enjoy reading books that have extreme violence or gory details. I go for chilling dark tales, which play with the mind. We writers need to match our style of writing to the readers who will enjoy our books in hope of a fair, honest review.
Something else, we writers need to think about too. We are not the only ones dreaming of having a bestselling novel. Since the dawn of computers it is far easier for anyone to produce a manuscript and dream of being a writer. How many people do you think dream about becoming a reader or a reviewer? Remember these are few and far between, yet this is our market.
What all books need are readers and reviewers. A book only becomes a bestseller when enough readers and reviewers tell others how much they enjoyed it. This is the point I’ve reached. How do I get enough readers wanting to read my books. My Funeral Birds crime novella has sold 44 copies since it released on 28th February. My collection of short stories Days Pass Like a Shadow has sold five since it’s release on 2nd June and my crime novel Stone Angels has had 13 preorder sales and is due for release on the 11th August. As you can see I’m no where near selling 3k a day, but I’ve only just had my books published this year.
So what is my plan of action now. I’m going start looking for authors who write the same sorts of books as myself and start reading them. Of course there’s no guarantee that they will return the favour or like my books.
Let me know in my comment box whether you’ve had any good results by becoming a reader and reviewer of other writer’s books.