Readers are so very frustrated too. I’m surrounded by folks who read, and who tell me they can’t find anything worth their time. They, too, are inundated by all the free books out there. They tell me they download, peruse a page, toss. They buy the “bestsellers” from traditional publishers, and don’t have much better luck. Of course, they’ve come to the right place asking me! LOL. I always have a list in many different categories, and they go away happy. But that happens to me as well. I recently read the much-touted award-winning novel from Graywolf (a press I love), and was sorely disappointed. Especially since I know of so many more deserving books out there (many self-published).
Not long ago I read a blog from a prominent agent, predicting (of course, she’s not alone) that in the near future, promoting via Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest will be a thing of the past, as new social-media venues take prominence. Yikes. I’m just now learning those!
And traditional publishers are, of course, scrambling to find readers as well, having found themselves lost in this very same ocean they didn’t see coming. As just one example, Penguin has unveiled a new program that will let customers see new titles months before they go on sale, in order to drum up word-of-mouth business. Called First to Read, its members can read excerpts from forthcoming books, and even request e-galleys. This is just one in the latest plethora of publishing gimmicks to find readers. The point being, everybody is swimming against this tide.
I had to laugh this week as well, as my publisher looked into Oprah’s book club as a place to advertise our new book, What's Wrong With My Family, and How to Live Your Best Life Anyway. For a mere 50K, we could be featured. Fifty thousand dollars? I needed a drink! And that people are paying this,
well, make that a double Patron.
So, what’s working for you? I can’t really point to what works for my book sales. It’s baffling to me. While my newest is selling fairly well, it’s also had a ton of publicity. Five Keys For Understanding Men, A Woman's Guide, which came out in 1999 and then was re-issued a few years ago via print and e-book, sells consistently and well every single month. Much more than the new one, and it has absolutely no promotion whatsoever—not even a mention here and there. My own publisher keeps talking about a slow burn, and that’s what’s working in today’s crazy market. Still, I can’t figure it out. I have people every day tell me they just found one of my books, and it was the very thing they’d been looking for for years. While I am of course quite gratified about that, I’m thinking, how do I find you earlier in the process?
Since what PW’s numbers say will affect us all in the future, greatly, how will you find your audience?
Award-winning author and editor Susan Mary Malone has five traditionally-published books to her credit (fiction and nonfiction) and many published short stories. A freelance editor, forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers. You can see more about her, and what authors say about working with her, at: MaloneEditorial.com