Have you ever wondered about the person behind the book or magazine articles you are reading? Last week I touched briefly on the reasons authors began writing, and their objectives when setting pen to paper.
At one time, having a book published involved years of approaching the big five publishers, possibly paying an agent, having little say in the cover design or the way the book was marketed, and finally receiving a pittance in royalties. The introduction of self-publishing, and the developments within Amazon changed all that, and anyone could throw a few words together and set it loose on the world. Unfortunately, that’s what many did.
In some ways it’s not surprising there’s still a stigma attached to the Indie author, with visions of a novel full of spelling and grammatical mistakes, a cover drawn by a child, and poor, if any, editing. Although these can still be found, things have changed dramatically, and these days independently published books can hold their own with those traditionally published.
My first book ‘Changes’ was traditionally published around seven years ago, and I assumed I could sit back and wait for the royalties to flood in, while they handled all the marketing side of things. It didn’t sell well, and I subsequently discovered publicity campaigns for unknown authors amounted to little more than sending out a few flyers to people on their list. They produced an excellent promotional video, but forgot to tell me about it, and I only found it by accident. During that time, I learnt a lot about the way the publishing world works, and last year when my contract expired, I self-published it under the new title ‘Summer Changes, Winter Tears.’
There was a similar scenario with my second book, ‘ABC Destiny’ released by a different publisher. What they lacked in communication skills, they made up for in marketing. A reporter from the local paper came to interview me, but it was a missed opportunity as I hadn’t realised the importance of social media for getting the word out about my new release. The publishers set up my first book signing event at a local library, but the expected footfall never materialised. The main contact had that particular day off, her deputy knew nothing about it and wasn’t interested, and the WI and other groups which would normally be there had changed their meeting day.
Again, I took to self-publishing when that contract expired. If you’re wondering why the original paperback was not removed from Amazon listings, it was because of the ‘second-hand book market,’ so although it shows as unavailable it’s likely to stay there forever. I was gob-smacked to see a new hardback copy on sale for in excess of £3,000 at one stage. 😳 It was particularly intriguing as I’d bought up all the surplus printed copies from the publishers, so none should have been available for sale when that contract expired. If you’re interested I could do you a job lot of five books for the measly sum of £10,000 – What a bargain!
On a serious note, I do have paperback copies for sale at drastically reduced prices (contact me if interested) but the cost of postage is probably one reason why EBooks are so popular. Plan B is to try a boot sale when the weather improves, as I need the space for my more recent books.
It’s a steep learning curve and a rapidly changing self-publishing world, but a fascinating one. No sooner have you got to grips with the vagaries of advertising on Amazon than they change the set-up. Key words are of vital importance is getting your book out to the right audience, and Romance, which is the best-selling genre, once inspired thoughts of little old ladies devouring the latest Mills and Boon; boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after.
How times have changed. Now Romance can cover everything from erotica to religious or spiritual, paranormal or fantasy, young adult or historical, and contemporary which could include LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.)
Authors are told to write what they know, and advised to stick to one category, but my ambition is to produce a book in each major genre. I have a feeling that to achieve my aim I first need to discover the secret of eternal life.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, Next week might be back to a short story, or perhaps a look at Book bloggers, Question and Answer sessions, and guest appearances.
See you then.
© Voinks January 2020