Being recognized as an emerging author can be tough nowadays. Although the powerhouse publishing houses are said to be having a rough go, I still feel they have a powerful advantage when it comes to marketing their stable of authors.
They know how the system works.
Many newbie Indie authors don’t or are intimidated by it. (Finger points to me)
Getting reviews is key for authors because often readers check out what others think about a book in order to decide whether they want to buy it or not. Knowing this, I still shy away from leaving reviews on Amazon and suffer guilt pangs later knowing how important it is for authors. I promise to do better.
Big publishing Houses, such as Tor and Baen, have contacts into channels for various important awards and distribution catalogs. They have an extensive network built up over many years of being in the business. They know that libraries and bookstores across the country rely on certain catalogs to pick out their next offerings and make sure their authors are represented.
Someone who is doing a wonderful job helping Indie authors understand the myths and realities of self publishing is Dean Wesley Smith. He pops ten myths of publishing writers believe.
See his blog: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=12014 The most recent blog talks about the myth of how only big name published books get into the bookstores and outlines how self publishers or Indie authors can put their books on bookstore shelves too.
It’s easy, and it isn’t.
If you want to.
For me to opt in to Amazon’s extended distribution, I would have to price myself almost too high for an unknown beginning author. With my 400-500 page books, the question for me is will I make more selling a few in bookstores or more selling a lot at a lesser price on Amazon?
Wide distribution is great if you’re going to sell, but not so great if no one knows you’re huddled on some back corner of a bookstore shelf and priced too high, leaving no margin for royalties–that is if you even get the attention of the buyer to be put there in the first place.
Being in the catalog is not the same as being in the bookstore. Only the buyers put you on the shelf.
And I’ve sat on Smashwords website with three books because someone argued that the concept of wider distribution means more sales…and I’ve sold very little there. I’m trying to find out where my readers are and target that area.
This week, I selected a debut novel to read and review to help push along a promising author. Joe Abercrombie’s trilogy: First Law is worth a look. The Blade Itself is the first of the trilogy and was published by Pyr. Pyr is a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometeus Books with a few surprising authors such as: Kay Kenyon, Ian MacDonald, Kristine Katherine Rusch, Mike Resnick and others. Interestingly, the Blade Itself was published in 2007 and is now gaining momentum. So writing can be a long tail business that with patience could eventually pay off.
But I’ve mentioned that before. (Mantra)
This trilogy came to my attention by word of mouth and a hazy recollection of having seen it on an Amazon recommended list. They say you have to see a product name several times before you are prompted to buy. So when expert writer D. Wallace Peach extolled the book as the best writing she’s ever read, I had to check it out.
Fantasy Noir. Not really my wheelhouse, but then…
For me this is a new sub genre term. Think George R. R. Martin. The four major characters are: Sand Glotka, an imperial inquisitor crippled in an enemy prison camp and now giving back his own; Captain Jezel Luthar, an egotistical and shallow rich high society soldier of the king’s guard; Bayaz, a balding heavyset wizard that everyone considers a sham, until he does a few amazing things; Major Collem West, a stout-hearted commoner who fears he will turn into the brute his father was, but hard work and intelligence enables him to rise high in the Adua military and Logan Ninefingers, an ugly battle-scarred barbarian from the North who turns into a killing machine if pushed too far.
Everyone has a flaw, and everyone has a strength.
If you can get past the first several chapters where Glotka is torturing confessions out of fat and wealthy merchants because the head inquisitor or prime minister wants their business and family destroyed, then you should like the rest.
Somehow Abercrombie makes this motley collection of characters endearing as each struggles with the corruption and conflict around them. The insufferable soldier falls madly in love with Major West’s sister as he faces an important, possibly deadly, dueling match. The sister, Ardee West, is witty, charming, but drinks too much and has been abused by her father. After their father’s death, she seeks protection with her brother, Major West, of the high standards until he finds his sister slipping around with his friend Captain Jezel of the loose morals. To his horror, West discovers that he has become his father when in a fit of temper he hits Ardee.
Gradually, as each story is told, the group comes together, at odds with each other, but coerced by Bayaz to form a company to travel on a quest to the end of the world.
If you like fantasy with crunch and chew…interesting characters and the wild humor within their wretched condition, then you’ll love this series
And don’t forget we authors need your reviews if you like our books. Pass it along so others can enjoy what you like. Don’t be shy.