100_1502Greetings on July 2. This past 24 hour period was the exact middle of the year, 182.5 days. Behind us is all we have done, before us all we hope to do. My goals and hopes for 2015 must now be accomplished in the 182 days that lie ahead. The sense of vast amounts of time I felt in the beginning of 2015 has begun to erode––in its place, the nagging thought that perhaps there is not enough time remaining.
Speaking of time, it is about time to continue my thoughts in regard to Mark Coker’s Five Best Marketing Approaches for the Self-Published Author. I will consider his third, which is: “Write a lot of great books”.
You will remember his previous two suggestions were to “write a good, no, a great book”, and, in a surprising bit of advice: “forget social media––it won’t help”. You may have read my own thoughts on those suggestions in the two blogs preceding this one. To condense my thinking, I fully agree the author’s first task is to write a great book. I also agree that you cannot rely on social media to get you over the top, but I think it can help.
As to Mark’s third point, it is indeed very important to write a lot of great books, publish them, and list them on-line. The publishing game today is about being discovered, not by agents or publishers, but by readers. This is unlikely to happen if you put all your marbles into one book (unless your name is Obama). For those of us without an automatic platform, we need to establish a consistent trail of works to grab the reader. A reader of fiction, for instance, who enjoys a particular novel, looks to see what else that author has written in order to continue the experience. Conversely, a reader may not even open your book if there isn’t another volume or two to follow it. It’s an investment of time thing. It’s why the Sanford, Patterson, Baldacci crowd do so well; there’s always another book waiting in the wings.
I found when my third Zack Tolliver novel, ZACA, was published, there was a swell in purchases of the first two. I even noticed a modest swell after my second book was published. I suspect this effect might even be exponential (here’s hoping, anyway).
At a recent signing, a friend suggested I bundle my three novels at an attractive price. I created five bundles, not convinced that people would pay the larger price just to obtain them all. At the event, the five bundles were my first sales, and people wanted more.
Readers read faster these days, not just the act of reading, but the speed with which they can obtain a book, the ease of transporting it, the ability to read it at small convenient moments. That first book is gone quickly; they want the next one to be ready at hand.
Readers want consistency. They want a similar experience in the second book, which means the quality, central characters, and general ambience should be familiar. They enjoy the experience, they want it to continue.
If you haven’t started your next book, shouldn’t you?.