Sunday, August 14, 2011

Selling books in today’s marketplace


     It used to be that to become a published author (besides just writing a really good book) you had to also spend countless hours writing and addressing query letters, waiting patiently for agent’s responses (months), and then miracle upon miracles, you get signed to a LEGITIMATE agency. That’s only the beginning. Now, it’s up to the agent to make that one-in-a-hundred sale as opposed to the one-in-a-million chance an un-agented author had. And again, miracle upon miracles, it gets sold. Then comes the marketing and promotion, the book signings, the hope and praying that it stays on the shelf long enough to acquire an audience. And, if three weeks later it isn’t selling, it’s gone for good.

     But today… things have changed. Some say it’s bad for the writer but I say they’re wrong. Since the industry changed, writers are now able to bypass all that other stuff and get their books out there to sell literally after placing “the end” at the bottom of the last page. It’s not all peaches and cream, however. The ability for pretty much anyone who’s ever scrawled a story to put it out there and sell opens the playing field to a lot of garbage, but like carousing a bookstore, you just need to take your time to find the perfect book.

     I’ve sold more books in the last year than in the last fifteen years all due to publishing through iuniverse and Kindle, which has unlimited shelf life. I will admit to spending a huge amount of time marketing and promo, but I’d be doing that anyway if I’d been published traditionally. And I get a seventy percent royalty instead of twenty percent.

     I write this note from personal experience. I had an agent from a top agency and after three years with no sales he eventually dropped me due to what he said is a quickly shrinking professional marketplace. Judging from the soaring sale of ereaders, I tend to agree.