Tuesday, January 08, 2013

You Always Hurt The One You Love

Has anyone ever told you your writing sucks? Probably not. We’re too polite to tell the truth because most writers can’t handle it. The truth might hurt, but if you want to grow as an artist, someone MUST judge what you create and provide feedback, even if down deep you don't really want to hear it.

Do you want to really know? If you do then send me the first page of your latest novel, an old neglected one, and/or especially, that one everyone has crapped on for years. If you have the nerve and really, really want to hear the truth, then contact me at editor@mbpubs.com.

I’ve been reading submissions for over 20 years and have read the best and the worst writers can produce. You’ll never  get better until someone literally tears the crap out of your work. Ask any expert author.

Those who are chicken need not apply.

Monday, January 07, 2013

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Book

Important point #1:

If your book were published, what marketing strategies would you consider appropriate? In other words, how would you tackle the fact readers who might like to read your novel have no idea where to find it unless you point the way? As publishers, we do our very best to help our customers (readers) know we exist. We have to or we wouldn’t exist for long. Our job, beyond getting projects ready for publication, is to make sure that the project’s author is very aware of the odds stacked against finding his or her work on a bookstore or digital shelf, whether in physical or digital form, if he or she does nothing to inform his or her readers about where the book is available for sale. If nothing is done, the odds of finding a book are probably less than .01%. It has been proven, by marketing and advertising experts, that even if a publisher advertises a novel’s release with a full page ad in the New York Times, actual sales only increase a few percentage points. So what are you doing to help your publisher and your readers find your book? 

Important point #2:

Readers could care less who published their favorite author. For example, do you know who publishes James Patterson? Do you care? Who published J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Myer? What about E.L. James? Typically, only readers who are also writers trying to place their work know who publishes which authors. Do you only buy books from certain publishers, or do you buy what certain authors write?  Ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine percent of readers don’t know or care who published their favorite read. Most don’t even know who authored it. What they care about is being entertained; to be removed from their world for a few hours and placed in someone else’s. So how in the world can a first-time, single-title author ever break into the reading marketplace? Breaking in and breaking out are very difficult and require loads of knowledge and marketing skill. Some authors hire a marketing professional to help. However, even with help, it’s very difficult to break in because of the massive volume of books being produced and the availability of other entertainment products that compete directly with novels, such as nonfiction books, video games, movies, etc.

Possible solution #1:

So what can get an author do to get over this very deep chasm? Probably the best way to handle this is to bite the bullet and market yourself. You must get your name out there to be successful. Ask yourself who has the best chance writing a best-selling novel, a celebrity or a beginning author? The days of the solitary, reclusive and successful author are gone (if there ever were such days), so one small step toward success is getting yourself out there. But that’s just the beginning. You have to also work the numbers. We at Martin Brown help, but we’re limited in what we can do because readers want know who authored their read, not who published it. Willingness  to be known is probably the biggest hurdle one has to overcome. You must be where people are, especially reader-type people. The Internet makes this easier in part because millions upon millions visit there daily. But where do they gather? You’re at your computer, so where do you go? Do you just go to Facebook to read what others post or are you an active participant there? Millions are, so why not be sociable too? Social networking is a great way to meet readers and get known them. However, if you don’t feel like being social, there’s always Facebook or Google Adwords ads—paid marketing. If worked right, ads of this type can build a name and a following, but it can very, very be expensive. Probably a least expensive way is to be friendly and accessible.

Possible solution #2:
If you’ve written a novel and have had it published, you’re already in demand. Offer to help those who haven’t been so lucky. When you learn something new, share it with others. Learn how to enjoy being sociable and helping others. Social networking helps but it’s not the magic pill to sales success. You must do more.

Possible solution #3:
Where do readers gather? There are a couple of places where those who love books gather online. One of them is Goodreads and the other is The Library Thing. As a person who has a book for sale, you should be a member and participant of both. Word of caution: Go there to share your reading experiences and not to just to sell your book. This is a given for all social media. Be sociable only. Should you post your book there? Yes you should, but also you must post other author’s works you’ve read there too; with your review, of course. Don’t make going there a chore. Spend some time there, interact with others, read other author’s works, make friends, because that’s what getting your name out there is all about.

Possible solution #4:  
Amazon is the largest bookstore in the world. Having your book on Amazon is a must. It’s also a fact that most of your sales will be Amazon sales. So are you active on Amazon? Do you have an author page there? How about one in all the countries where Amazon sells books? If not, you need to get to work. There is a potential gold mine on Amazon and if you aren’t prospecting there, you’re not mining the right creek.

Hope this little bit about marketing helps. Now get out there and be known.