A caring friend recently sent me a website that offered tutorials on how to market my books. The first in the series was how to raise one’s ranking for Amazon book sales. All of the tutorials came with a price tag, naturally.
I’ve seen this type of promotion too many times to sit quietly any longer. And frankly, focusing on one’s standing on Amazon is getting the cart before the horse. Most book buyers don’t even know what the rankings mean and neither do many of the authors. What sells a book is word-of-mouth, one friend recommending a title to another. What’s more marketing advice is available for free at the library.
The majority of these books and tutorials are pitched to new writers and, in my opinion, are meant more to part the author from his money than to help. What’s more, even good advice quickly becomes stale. If everyone is using the same strategy, eventually it fails. By the time that strategy gets printed in to books or taped, you can be pretty sure it’s worn out. Stale wine in new bottles.
The more I’m in this writing game, the less I believe in a winning strategy. Having talent and skill are a prerequisite to writing but that won’t insure success. Success is so often a matter of luck, like a YouTube video that for some reason goes viral. Dan Brown wrote good books for many years but languished in the shadows of the midlist shelf. Not till he wrote “The da Vinci Code” which angered the Catholic Church did his book stir up enough controversy to make the author famous. Lucky him.
My advice to beginning authors is to write because you have to. Write because you enjoy it. These are rewards in themselves. If luck comes, be grateful. But as to success, I know of no magic formula for obtaining it. If I did, I’d share it with you. By then, however, it would probably have gone stale.