Some days, I really hate the direction the publishing industry is going.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve become jaded, cynical, and a bit of a wet blanket.
These days, it all seems to be about sales. Authors are constantly asking me to buy their latest book, watch their new and amazing YouTube video, download a free chapter of a book I will absolutely love, check out their blog, join their mailing list, be their friend so they can tell me about their books and their blogs and their videos) and on and on and on. And I want to cry.
Hey, I want to sell my books, too. But no one ever told me that being an author meant having to become a an internet salesperson. And because I know a lot of authors personally, I know that most of them don’t enjoy the sales-stuff any more than I do. And I don’t think most of us are very good at it. Which is perhaps why it sticks out.
Not to worry. I get email all the time with offers for training and tools that are guaranteed to help me make my book a bestseller, me a millionaire, and my name a household word. Yeah, and I have some property in Florida I’d like you to buy, too.
Now, I’m not a complete idiot. I know there’s a place for advertising and promotion. If there’s a book out there that I would love to read, I totally want to know about it. And therein lies the rub.
As authors we’re all running around doing everything we can to find those people who really would like to read out books and would benefit from them. The problem is, it’s very hard to know how to reach those people. And sometimes we have very little control over it.
Several times over the years, I’ve heard from people who just happened upon one of my books.
Years ago, a mother phoned me from Texas to see if she could get more copies of my first book, which had just gone out-of-print. Her daughter had brought a copy home from the church library, the mother had read it, and she wanted to buy 10 copies. Thanks to that call, which was on a New Year’s Eve, we ended up republishing that book and publishing its three sequels.
A few years later, I got a phone call from a lady in a mid-western state. She had seen a copy of one of my books for teens lying in a discount bin at a bookstore. She bought it and took it home for her teenage son to read. After reading it, he saw the information in the back of the book saying there were more books and she phoned to order the rest of the Circle of Friends series and my two adult mysteries as well.
My point? I guess in the long run, the best advertising you can do is still to write a really good book that will make someone want to read more. And after doing everything you can realistically do without annoying people, rely on God to make sure your books get to the people who want to read them.