Friday, October 17, 2014

Either way, being 'discovered' is hard.

I am going to make some sweeping statements that may be admittedly over-reaching, but I'm trying to make a general point here.

There is an illusion, I think, that traditional publishers give you more of a chance of being 'discovered.'  I mean, they'll get your book into bookstores and presumably will do some promotion.

With thousands of books being indie published online everyday, it certainly seems as though 'discover-ability' is the biggest problem indie writers have.  How do you get people to buy your book above other books?

Here's the thing, though.  I own a bookstore, and I often order from 'remainder' lists.

It is always an eye-opening experience.  There are a lot of books that are being sold off for pennies on the dollar. 

I'm going to use Young Adult as an example.

There are hundreds, thousands of these YA novels you've never heard of.  Seems like every other book offered is YA.

Thing is, you can kind of get a sense as to whether these books are any good or not.  The synopsis and the ideas and the covers and the titles all give you a pretty good clue.  If you assume the writing is competent, and I think for most publisher-published books you can assume there is a basic level of competency (sweeping statement #1.)

Most of these books actually look pretty good.  As good, I'll venture, as the books you have heard of. (sweeping statement #2 and so on...)

I'm assuming that publishers are hoping for the 'Franchise.'  The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter road to riches.

The covers to most of these books certainly give that impression.  They follow the design concepts of the big books, are described in the same terms, and so on.

Funny thing most cases, the 'Franchise' book is the book that broke away from the herd, the one that was different, so it seems kind of self-defeating to relegate you Franchise attempt as a knock-off.


I'm betting that most of these authors weren't actually trying to mimic the existing blockbusters, but have been shoe-horned into that.

I have a little experience at that.  My first book, Star Axe, was meant to be a heroic fantasy.  My publisher was looking for Sword and Sorcery, so that is how the labeled it and marketed it.  That was fine.  It wasn't a huge reach.  But it was slightly off the intended audience.

My biggest sweeping statement is -- it seems to me that most of these books are just thrown out there in hopes that they'll somehow miraculously catch on.

Not that much different, I'd say, that an indie publisher putting his/her book online and hoping to catch on.

In both cases, the discover-ability depends a great deal on the author's own efforts, and...well, admit it...luck.

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