I had a serious discussion with myself in the car the other day. The car is where I do my best thinking on things that bother me, and that day’s discussion ended in an irritated, vocal outburst of “Yeah, but she’s backed by Harlequin now.”
One of the biggest rules I follow with the most passion is to see what the successful people are doing and do it too but better. Along these lines, I follow a lot of successful self-published authors to see what they’re doing and what worked for them and see where I have opportunities for improvement in my own self publishing ventures. And also in this effort, I’ve had many frustrating conversations with myself about how I am doing the same thing other authors are doing, but I’m not getting the exposure/readership growth that I want.
That’s when I had my revelation in the car.
The authors I follow all made it big in self publishing YEARS AGO. Like a lot of years ago when – wait for it –
The market wasn’t flooded with content.
Enter Noah and His Ark
It is much harder to get exposure in today’s self publishing world than it was the many years ago when Marie Force, Hugh Howey, and Bella Andre got their starts. This is why you need Noah and his ark to carry your book through the amazing flood of content self publishing has allowed. I’m not judging on the content now produced. That’s not the point of my blog post, but I do want to talk about books as a product.
One of the pieces of advice I hear over and over again is to write the best book possible. This is all well and good as long as readers can find your book. It doesn’t work if your book is at the bottom of the 1,872,098,201,503,093 books published today. (I totally made that number up; I’m a writer. I don’t do math.)
Enter my next realization: it takes a heck of a lot of money to get a brand off the ground. This thought was spurred by another blog post I read recently that really hammered this point home. The reason some brands are household names is because the companies that produce those brands spent A LOT OF MONEY to make sure they would be.
This leads me to two points: this sort of promotion suggests authors are brands and books are products, which in turn, argues that what we are creating is not art but a product. The advice to write the best book possible in turn could be taken in an entirely different manner. One could argue that writers are not writing the best book possible. They are producing the best product possible.
Then what happens to the art form?
What I’m leading to is this –
When you hear of self publishing authors making it big, it was back before we needed Noah to save your book, and the ones you hear about today as household “brands” have huge publishing houses behind them that will spend a lot of promotional money on them because they bring in the revenue.
Where does this leave the self publishing author of today?