Thursday, February 11, 2016

Observations on the Book World, The Hard Truth-- Part 1

I haven't blogged much recently--with limited time, it's always necessary to pick and choose where I focus my energy. I've been doing some thinking lately, particularly with regards to what I want out of my writing. Part of me is satisfied just taking a project from idea to complete, published work. I enjoy the process and get a sense of personal fulfillment from that process.

As a published author, however, there comes the problem of finding readers. And in a time where the market is so completely saturated with books, it's hard to keep from sinking into the vast, seemingly endless void of millions of other books.

I've come to the conclusion that as an indie other (small press or self published), you need to spend a great deal more than you make just for a shot at selling a few books. Whether it's advertising, book tours or paying somebody else to promote your book, we all purchase these services with the hopes that readers out there will find our books.

It's a gamble using any of these services, as none can offer a guarantee that you'll suddenly find your audience and start selling. That said, if you don't gamble you can't win, so many authors purchase these services anyway, hoping they'll find the magic formula. And judging by the amount of book promotion I see on a daily basis, it's a popular approach.

Does it work? Well...I'm of the opinion that even if it doesn't set you on the road to bestseller status, it can't hurt. Every blog that features your book, every contest you enter, every review you get--that's just one more place a potential reader could find you.

I'm also of the opinion that in this flooded market, you're much more likely to make money offering a service to authors than to be an actual author. This is in no way knocking people who provide these services to authors (we love you all, honest). It's just, when you sit and think about it, service providers are guaranteed to get paid for their work, whereas I am not. And what it boils down to is I'm paying someone else for the chance to get paid for my work. I'm hoping that if I pay somebody $75 to organize a blog tour, maybe one or two readers will find my book interesting--out of all the other books they see on tour--and possibly buy it. One or two readers. My $3.99 book. It really doesn't add up.

Now, this isn't necessarily a complaint. It's more like-- folks, this is the reality for many of us. If you're pursuing writing with the hopes of quitting your day job and being rich, know that your chances of that happening are probably roughly equal to winning a large sum in the lottery.

Art, in any form, is not easy to make money from. You pretty much need to be a shrewd business person, willing to put in the tremendous time and able to afford the money necessary to make your creative work a success. And for many of us, that is the most difficult part.

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