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.


  1. My first book was written in 2006. Naively, I had visions of it being snapped up and published, and …. well least said soonest mended. Then a publisher in New York wrote to me they thought my story was terrific and they couldn’t wait to publish it. All they wanted in return was $10000 (yes you heard right). Needless to say I didn’t sign up with them (Dorrance by name). This was followed by Austin and Macauley, they wanted £2400; Authorhouse £700. Eventually, more and more despondent, I eventually went with Raider (also in New York), another vanity publisher, £400 this time. Sales were abysmmal, 18 copies I think. To cut a long story short, I eventually decided on the self publisher route in 2012. Buy that time I had 4 novels available. Over the following two years, sales gradually buildup, and by the beginning of 2013 (by which time there were 6 novels) I was selling 2000 ebooks per month. Good times continued until the end of 2013, and although since then I have added 8 books, sales have steadily declined. Most sales I get these days are of translated novels (thanks to babelcube). One particular book seems quite popular in Brazil. No, don’t ask, I’ve no idea why.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, John for sharing this with me. How did you market your book, and find the readers? I’ve avoided any publisher who has asked for money. There are plenty of them all willing to take your money. My three books have all been published by publishers who are paying me but first I need to make the sales.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marketing!!!! Now there’s a thing. I have always had a major problem with marketing. At the time (2012-2013) marketing mainly centred on Twitter, or Facebook. But I suppose the major platform was Kindle Direct. At that time doing a free promotion was very worthwhile. I could give 1000 ebooks away over 5 days, and that would usually be followed by sales of a couple of thousand. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case now. In fact, many people now fully expect books to be offered free. Furthermore there are so many new books every month competition is fierce. As for the publishers who ask for money to print your book, I absolutely agree – keep away from them, and I certainly would never use them now. One thing that cannot do any harm (and this would depend on what your publisher thought) is getting the books translated (with Babelcube there is no charge, only a royalty share with the translator) and audiobooks (through ACX there is no charge, only a royalty share with the narrator) Sales aren;t great, but they do profit another sales area.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t answer your question because I don’t have any books published, but I do read what I like to write. It’s a learning thing (“how did the writer achieve that effect?”) but also a practical thing because I can see what’s popular, what’s fresh, and what’s overdone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You need to find at least a million more people like me, Paula. I am the proud owner of all of your books (including the pre-order.) Let’s see…how can we accomplish finding that many people? Hmm…I guess that’s the issue isn’t it? I’ll get back to you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve downloaded a sample of Funeral Birds to my Kindle App, and plan to start reading it as soon as I’ve finished what I’m reading at the moment (About a Boy, Nick Hornby – if you’re interested).

    Lots of people dream about being a writer. Not many of those people write much. Even fewer get round to finishing the first draft of a novella or novel. Only a handful of the original crowd will have the determination to complete the necessary edits and rewrites to get published.

    You’re now on the final challenge, the last few steps of the ladder. Maybe Stone Angels will be the book that kicks starts your writing career. Then again, maybe it will be the one after that. Whichever, you’ve proven you have the persistence to get this far, so I think you will make it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Brian for your comment. They say the easy part of becoming a published writer is the writing. That is so true. In today’s world the hard part is having faith in yourself and finding the readers who love your work enough to buy it.

      Liked by 1 person

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