You have to consider your writings as products and market them if you ever hope to show a profit. The “Art” of writing well is a skill you have acquired over time and through a great deal of effort. Your books – novels, collections of short stories or poetry or recipes, what have you – are the products of your efforts.
That, I am sorry to say, is not enough. The world will not beat a path to your door, nobody will make a major motion picture of your life and your works, you will not be hounded by reporters when you show yourself on the street and you will not be invited to accept any Emmy’s or Oscars for your lifetime achievements in the arts simply because you wrote a book once.
But keep dreaming; don’t ever quit dreaming. You can get there, someday. Maybe. But first, you have to get down in the dirt and sell yourself and your books.
I’ve gone over the art and science of selling, branding, marketing and promotion in several previous posts; just look through the archives if you are so inclined, or check out several other author’s sites for more of the same. None of those sources will cost you a penny, and I guarantee you will learn what you need to know to make some of your dreams come true.
What you will find in my blog archives is the result of years of research boiled down to its essentials. And all of that can be summed in a very few words; “Don’t ever quit on yourself”, and “Persistence pays better than sloth.”
You won’t get it right the first time (if you do let me know what you did, please). Go ahead and cry, kick your feet and scream, do a bit of sailor-like cursing and then figure out what you did wrong, adjust your thinking and your plan of action and then give it another shot. Repeat as necessary.
I’ve spent the last few years marketing my novels through the Kindle Select program with good success. But this year sales have dropped into the basement, so I withdrew from the program (the novels are still available on Kindle and will continue to be) and signed up with Smashwords. The first three novels – “The Big Bend”, “Hog Valley” and “Twisted Key” are now on the Nook, Kobo and Apple/iTunes platforms along with the Kindle.
We’ll see how that goes over the next few months.
I’ve also had audiobook versions of “The Big Bend” and “Hog Valley” ready to go to market since the first of the year; ACX (Amazon’s aggregator for audiobook distribution with Audible and iTunes) did not pan out well for me or the narrator/producer while they had distribution rights to the files. It turned out the distributors zeroed out the prices on the novels and used them as loss-leaders, which left us with royalties of around $20.00 a month. We made the decision to recover the rights to the files and will market them ourselves.
I’ve been shopping around for much of this year for an E-Commerce platform that could handle the gigabyte+ size files and finally located one today. Those audiobooks should be available for sale some time in the next month.
My fifth novel in the Terry Rankin series, “Standing Wave” will see me in Suwannee, Florida, some time in September for a final round of interviews, along with a day or two on the water locating scenes and background descriptions (and some fishing, yes). If I can get all of these marketing headaches behind me, “Standing Wave” should be published by the end of this year.
Writing well, in and of itself, is a wonderful thing; downright admirable in fact, and it is the hallmark of every well-rounded person. But if you want to make a living as a writer, you have to compete in the marketplace, and you have to want to win the battle for the bucks.
Don’t ever quit on yourself.