May 29, 2012

One Leaf in the Forest Screaming for Attention!

Updated October 2013
Imagine you are one leaf in a forest of 10,000 trees. How do you get noticed? That is the challenge each new indie writer faces.

Here are some sobering stats found on blogs and news websites:
  • In 2011, Amazon had 950,000 ebooks for the Kindle, out of a total of about 1.8 million titles.
  • Almost 2.8 million non-traditional books, including ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks, were produced in the United States in 2010 (says Reuters).
  • US publishers of all types produce over 300,000 traditionally published books per year with about 210,000 more in the UK.
  • In October 2013, the American ISBN agency Bowker stated that 391,000 self-published titles were added in 2012, a 59% increase from 2011.
The world is awash in books with more every year.

Mark Coker, founder of the ebook aggregator Smashwords, says ebooks are immortal: they are not stale-dated like printed books. So, each year, each ebook must fight for recognition with an ever larger horde of competitors.

Here are other sobering statistics from a recent study (Not a Gold Rush available on Amazon) of 1007 self-published authors from the Taleist blog:
  • The average self-published author sells 100 to 150 copies per book.
  • Half of the authors studied earned under $500 in 2011.
The indie publishing world has many sources of advice on steps you must take to market your book and develop author recognition. These include:
  • Start a blog or website and post often.
  • Develop a Twitter following and tweet often.
  • Create a Facebook author page and update often.
  • Submit guest articles to other blogs and e-magazines.
  • Get your book reviewed.
  • Get yourself interviewed.
  • Advertise on Goodreads or Kindle Nation.
These may work, assuming you offer professional content. Just as likely, they will have no measurable effect. The trouble is, when every writer uses the same marketing techniques, the effect is muted. Unless you jump on a new marketing technique early, you may be wasting your time.

In fact, the Taleist study found that the authors who market the least write more and make more money. As counter-intuitive as that sounds, it bears wisdom.

If you examine the writing careers of million-selling indie writers like John Locke and Amanda Hocking, they did not hit big on their first book. They used successive books to build a fan base.

For most of us, we write for the art and not for the money. Maybe more writing and less marketing is the route to take. And remember, even $500 is better than the $0 you get when rejected by a traditional publisher.

For other perspectives on this issue, see:

No comments:

Post a Comment