Let’s face it. The old book, “The Confetti Generation” had it right. We’re suffering from an over-abundance of information. At this point, there is so much noise in the market that finding a book that you will enjoy has become largely a matter of chance or good marketing.
With all credit to best-selling author, John Locke, he’s very good at selecting his target audience and writing specifically to them, but he’s even better as a marketer. In his own telling, he somewhat magically spring-boarded a timely blog post about a public figure into a lot of book sales. That was an act of pure genius. He’s proven it by both replication of the marketing steps involved and, more convincingly, by reaching the pinnacle of sales on Kindle. His rationale for pricing at $.99 is perfect. His books don’t have to be as good as conventional books selling at the more common $10.00 price point or above; those books have to prove they’re ten times better than his. In my opinion, Locke’s strategy amounts to creative marketing. While some think that his “loyalty-transfer” blog posts game the system, the end result is that readers find his books and that’s what counts.
This brings me to an interesting point. The best-written book might be lost in the huge noise-to-signal chaos that the change in the publishing model has created. It used to be that books had to convince a publisher to devote considerable resources in order to get them to market. This scheme of things, while undesirable from some aspects, meant that most of the products out there were at least moderately entertaining.
The problem with the publishing-house model was that there just isn’t room for every author and all topics. A publisher ignores some books, simply because they aren’t interesting to the editorial staff or fail to meet some other criterion-Du-jour. The new digital-publishing model is one that has bypassed this bottle-neck. Today, anyone can publish a book. E-publishing has delivered an unprecedented amount of power to any author. All that is needed is the desire to write. (I’m not addressing talent yet.)
The negative aspect of this unconstrained transfer of power is obvious to anyone who has spent time browsing through e-book titles. There are simply more out there than it’s possible to read.
I’m a fast reader, but I don’t have a lot of time and that limits me. The upshot is that I, just as you, have to carefully select the books that I choose to gift with my time. Even if money weren’t an object and one could buy all of the books one wanted, time remains the problem. Personally, I’ve purchased a lot of e-books and have read all of them with the exception of a few cases when the writer’s style and/or ability left me high and dry.
How did I find these books both good and bad? I first started reading science fiction when I was in high school and that was a long time ago in a galaxy far – well, you get it. I would walk into a store, go to the book department, browse a bit, pick up some good-looking books based largely on the covers and then count my money to determine how many I could buy. You can do essentially the same thing today digitally from the comfort of your couch. The catch is, you can browse for hours and hours without running out of titles, or at least until you get tired and pick what you hope is the best out of a limited subset of the offerings.
The dilemma becomes, do you depend upon blind luck (which may lead you to a dud of a book) or slick marketing (which may take the place of good writing)?
I hope you aren’t expecting me to provide an all-encompassing answer here, because I’ll be d****ed if I can figure it out, especially this late at night. The best I can come up with is to read the reviews; but what if the author has paid for good reviews? There you are again — the victim of marketing.
So, what’s an aspiring author to do? How does he (or she) reach readers that might enjoy his work?
I may be dead wrong, but I think my writing will keep you entertained. My first sci-fi book, “The Time of the Cat” is now available on Kindle and Amazon via CreateSpace. As you can see, I’m working at the marketing aspect of getting you to read it with posts like this one. I really can’t help you with the time element, the book is slightly over 108,000 words and reading it will take however long it takes. But! But, I can help with the money a little bit! I’ve set up a free download promotion on Kindle for the next few days (October 7, 2014 October 11, 2014!)
Here’s the link: Kindle Store: The Time of The Cat
Here’s the Video Trailer link
Now for the shameless, begging part (you just knew it was coming): If you read the book, please take the time to review it. That’s the only way others will know if it’s worth their while.