March 21, 2012

Why do so many books fail?

(I’ll be writing this in sections, so come back daily to see the rest.)

I grazed along this topic a bit yesterday, but I want to talk about the other reasons now. Why are there so many books out there that just fail? 70% of books don’t make a profit, and don’t even make back the advance the writer was paid (which is tiny. Small-mid sized publishers give out advances worth a few thousand dollars at most). More and more writers are also switching to e-book format with the hopes to get famous on the Kindle/Nook, but are still failing. Why?

*Poor marketing. It always baffles me that a person will spend months upon months writing, editing, rewriting, perfecting their book, but then as soon as they get accepted by a publisher, they think they’re done. No, you’re not done. People complain about how publishers these days don’t support marketing, but hey, you knew that when you started writing. You knew that when you submitted to the publisher, that you would have to do the marketing or else no one would. This isn’t news to anyone anymore – most publishers don’t send you city to city on book signings. You have to make this opportunity.

Once you get past the realization that you have to be your own publicist, remember to think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to conventions and seminars. You know who goes to these things? Other writers promoting their own books. It’s just another version of “sub4sub” on YouTube.

I feel many writers are so out of touch with what attracts young people today, and this is one of the reasons why young people are reading less. Change up your marketing. I’ve just been thinking about it for a few days, but when I start promoting my book there are several things I’m going to do:

*Give out hoodies/t-shirts with the title/logo on it
*Have concept art made by hired professionals (there are many amazing artists on sites like deviantart)
*Pay for your own travel to go city to city for book signings
*Be proactive. We know the usual tip these days. “Use Facebook/Twitter.” Yeah, FB and Twitter are great if you have followers, but if you’re starting out, you can’t just make a facebook and twitter account and expect to get famous. You have to put yourself out there. Make a blog with great information, make a Youtube channel with videos about your information. Do something.

Now you might say “I don’t have money to do these things,” or “I shouldn’t have to pay for this, this is my publisher’s job!” Save up money, and realize the fact that this is your book, your name is on the cover. Think back to your favorite books. Do you remember the publisher? Most likely not, because readers couldn’t care less about the publisher. The publisher would be happy either way if your book makes 1 dollar of profit or a million dollars of profit, because they still have hundreds of other authors waiting in line. They’re not expecting you to be the diamond in the rough, they’re not expecting you to be the next big thing. You have to market your book. There are thousands of diamonds in the rough out there, the only problem is no one is digging them out. And if you’re not going to do it, why should anyone else?

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