Thursday, July 27, 2017
Guest Post: Andy Graham - Author of An Angel Fallen on the matter of Self Publishing
An Angel Fallen blog tour.
Want to know the dirty little secret in the self-publishing world?
Not everyone succeeds.
That’s it. Not exactly life-shattering news, but read on...
This dirty word of failure is obviously not limited to self-publishing. It applies across the board, from artists to software startups, but seeing as this is a blog for a book site, let me stick to the world of authors.
There are a lot of people selling the dream of ‘anyone can be an author’. Some are more scrupulous than others. In many respects, due to the onset of online publishing and the rapid advances in technology, the idea that anyone can be a self-published author if they have a keyboard and a router has never been truer.
The obvious downside to this is that there are a lot of people chasing the same dream, often using the same ideas and ‘tactics’ to try and get readers’ attention. This means the market place is flooded with books. Some are great. Some less so. Therefore, just like night needs day, left needs right, and Mother Abagail needs Randall Flagg (guess what book I’m reading at the moment!), you won’t get successful authors without unsuccessful ones. The former can’t exist without the latter. Stephen King (AKA The Man and a big hint to my earlier question) wouldn’t be a bestselling author if only his books existed. He would just be The Author.
So why do some people fail?
Ha! If I could sell guaranteed success, Donald Trump would be my butler and tweeting this blog 140 characters at a time! Covfefe, he would!
But, here’s my take.
It could be simply because the book isn’t good enough. I’ve read some books, both traditional and self-published, that have made me want to drown my kindle. A lot of those books also have rave
reviews. I’m hoping that’s just a matter of different tastes rather than scammy practices such as paying for reviews.
Maybe the author is not working enough.
Maybe the author’s not working at all.
Maybe the author is only writing. Writing a book is hard; promoting it is harder.
Maybe the writer fails to hit the public mood.
Is it because there are too many people trying to do the same thing?
Maybe Jeff Bezos has heard you dissing the mighty ‘Zon! No, not really. (Hi Jeff! If you’re reading this, love what you’ve done with Amazon. Orange has always been my favourite colour.)
Or is it just that the author’s advertising skills aren’t great? Let’s be honest, so much success is down to advertising skills rather than anything else. Before you start grumbling, I’m not saying that makes one’s success any less valid, nor that it applies to everyone who is doing well. All I am saying is that advertising and marketing are essential parts of any business.
It is the author’s job to deal with the above, and if he or she doesn’t address these to the best of their ability, then they are responsible for their own lack of success.
(There’s that word ‘success’ again. At times, for me, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel, at times it’s the light filtering down from the surface of the pond as I try and slip the concrete slippers off my feet.)
But, a successful author can only be a successful author with an audience and this is where you come in, dear reader.
If you like an author, please do something to demonstrate that.
Let’s go old-skool to start: Tell the author you liked their work. Message them through their social media page or contact page on
their website (we’ve all got them). Having someone take the time out to actually drop us a line is fantastic.
Tell a friend. It costs nothing to tell someone about a good book, and word of mouth is still the best form of advertising.
Share/tweet/forward a post you see on social media.
‘Like’ the book/author. That said, my own view on this is that likes and hearts and so on don’t actually make a big difference to the world. They feel nice, add a bit of weight to the post but change very little.
Feeling inspired? Write a short post on social media.
Leave a review. They help. Honestly. I know you’ve probably heard this time and time again, but they really do make a difference. Reviews don’t need to be long, “Great book” would be fine if it is a great book.
Finally, buy a book. In many ways, this is the most obvious. In some respects, it isn’t. With the ‘freemium’ model of Internet marketing, it occasionally gets forgotten that authors need to sell books to survive. A lot of indie authors keep their books at a very low price (a lot less than you’d pay for a pint in a pub) so the cost to a potential reader is minimal. I understand that money is an issue for many people, but without sales, artists will eventually have to stop being artists and be something else.
Not everyone succeeds. That’s old news. But if you like an author (artist, musician, review site etc.), please consider taking a little time out of your day or even a little money out of your wallet (shh... this is the thing the advertising gurus tell marketing muppets like me that ‘we’re not allowed to say’) to demonstrate your support for that artist. Failing that, I’ll take a ‘like’. :-)
Thank you for reading.
You can find me online at www.andygrahamauthor.com (where you can claim a free book), twitter - @andygraham2001 and FB - andy graham author.