Two years ago, after amicably parting ways with my literary agent of four years, I decide to take destiny into my own hands and publish my books in eformat. I had a huge collection of completed and professionally edited novels and decided that publishing one every three months seemed feasible. So, that’s what I did.
Little did I know I was on the cusp of an indie publishing revolution. My books were available at the right time, for the right audience, and at the right price. Kindles and Nooks were the new “it” device to have, and readers who were once against reading a story electronically, suddenly realized the ease in which they could purchase and carry along their favorite books. My sales went through the roof.
I’m not saying I was a bestselling author, but my books all ranked in the low thousands for a time. Then something strange happened, my sales started to drop. I wasn’t doing anything different than before. I still spent an average of two hours a day marketing my titles, on top of the two hours a day I spent writing new material. Yet, my rankings kept slipping.
I decided to look deeper into this new age of publishing and what I discovered is frightening.
It seems anyone who’s ever written anything is now publishing it on the internet. Last year, Amazon reported about 20,000 new titles being published a month. This December it was over 80,000. That’s a lot of competition! And these new publishing folks are savvy marketers even if they’re not great writers. They’re using Utube, and audio conversions, and video’s, and social media, and a thousand other techno resources to peddle their stories to the masses.
So, where does that leave the introvert, artist, novelist who cares about his books as if they were his children?
As I get older and more experienced in my writing, I’ve come to realize that it is the story that is most important. It is eternal once written. To create something that effects people, or entertains, or changes their perspective about life, is what any real writer hopes to achieve. Sure, there are gimmicks and tricks, and social media, and threads to artificially raise awareness of your book, but if it was written as a piece of merchandise just to have out there, chances are it will fail.
Last month, I researched much of the latest trends in marketing (seo optimization, book trailers, keywords) and it made my head spin. Whatever happened to a good story selling itself? It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the world.