So I was sitting in my thinking chair on the back patio and I got to…thinking. I have decided that the world of self-publishers remains a woeful one. True, technology and the sheer number of self-publishers have brought the concept new respectability. Even some highly regarded, established writers are turning to self-publishing because it offers more flexibility and freedom. BUT….there’s it is, I said the “but” word…BUT there are still major drawbacks to self-publishing. The biggest challenge is being discovered. That’s where marketing comes in…so the experts say. Well, I’ve been a marketer most of my career and I’ve spent a lot of time and money markeing my books, but not enough to nudge the tipping point. For a self-publisher, I think luck has a lot to do with whether or not you break through. And, that brings me to what I was thinking about in my thinking chair.
I have to think there are some really good books out there in the self-publishing universe. Trouble is, no one knows they are there. Can you imagine if someone like Steinbeck self-published? There’d probably be no Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice of Men…at least that anyone knew about. Simply expand that thought to any mega best-selling author. Would we know about Green Eggs and Ham? Winnie the Pooh? To Kill a Mockingbird? Harry Potter? You get the idea.
What if (I love what-ifs) there are great books out there somewhere right now, never to be read and discovered, never to be enjoyed by millions, never to become classics that high school students will eventually moan about? I don’t think there are any what-ifs about it. There just has to be a pile of self-published books that are great reads but will never get beyond their authors’ websites. And that’s the “woe” part of the woeful world we self-publishers dwell in.
I have found there is no shortage of advice to help self-publishers (selfers), but much of it is common sense and too much of it depends on luck…oh, did I say that before? What we need is less advice and more action. If, indeed, selfers are considered legit and we are helping the book industry, even if in a small way right now, doesn’t it makes sense for the industry to invest in marketing us.
Take the two biggest names in the book-selling arena: amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Wouldn’t it be nice if these two megabookers began devoting substantive efforts to showcase self-published books? Maybe give us one of those tables at the front end of the B&N stores. Or, maybe a daily self-published book featured on amazon’s home page. Yes, there are a gazillion books to choose from, but I don’t know any selfer who wouldn’t like the idea of promoting self-published books in any way possible.
BTW, thanks to Writer’s Digest for having embraced selfers, especially with their annual awards competition. That’s the kind of stuff selfers need.
That’s about as far as my thinking in my thinking chair took me today…just some random thoughts. I’m sure I’ve been a bit simplistic, but sometimes simple works. It is, btw, a particularly spectacular day here in South Florida. The chamber of commerce needs to package this one and show it to all the poor folks freezing up north. We have crystal clear blue skies without a sign of a cloud. It’s about 74 degrees and no blustery wind like yesterday. Yep, this one is a keeper. It’s a perfect day to self-publish!