After all the hours spent toiling over punctuation and grammar, never mind all the sleepless nights worrying about whether the plot’s as tight as a mouse’s arsehole, that’s a Hell of a statement to just fling in a budding author’s face. So let’s put the theory to the test:
When was the last time you bought and read a book written by someone you’d never heard of before?
If an avid reader, chances are you have and more than once.
Relevant is to realise what it was exactly that led to the purchase: the cover; subject; blurb; perhaps a quick flick through grabbing the fancy.
Chances are it varies from book to book.
Relevant is that it was something.
Personally, it’s always started with having a physical copy in my hands; my own ‘something’ not available online.
The series vs. Social Media showed how platforms only really work for individuals already famous or organisations with a string of information people always want.
Sport teams, TV shows, bands and the people in them are in a great position in both categories.
Self-publishing has a similar dynamic
- People already famous for something else.
- Or who have an established following due to writing articles elsewhere (newspapers/magazines/blogs as examples).
With these starting blocks, the books don’t even have to relate to what the person is famous for or what they’re normally known for writing about.
Without, the challenge is how create some and/or to tick as many ‘somethings’ as possible in the realms of online.
There are plenty of people/organisations professing to offer services that will help, including things like a one hour talk over Skype about Facebook for $199 and an equally timed and priced one for Twitter.
How to know which, if any, of these services are worth paying for?
Before self-publishing, I’d anticipated it to be a joyous even-handed process, where—despite lack of publication house clout—if one was good enough, one would get read.
A few months into it, I came across a comment in a heated Facebook ‘debate’ that used self-publishing to demonstrate the wonderful virtues of Capitalism.
In theory it sounded like a gold mine just waiting for anyone prepared to write a book. By that time I knew only one of the ‘facts‘ used to be accurate, while the rest anything but.
No surprise, the comment leaver had never self-published.
They were the type of ‘facts’ that have so many new authors price first novel ebooks at 7.99 then sit back waiting for the sales to roll in.
A very similar experience to the ‘long weights’ apprentices used to get sent for back in the day.
The preconception is the thing with most potential to part a budding-author from cash no budding-author should rightly have to lose.
It combined with the internet sea of positive, upbeat articles leaves anyone suggesting anything bordering on the negative looking like the rotten apple that doesn’t know what it’s talking about.
Never judge a book by its cover
Articles/posts about self-publishing and all things associated—formatting/cover design/marketing—use one of only two styles.
- One: a clean-cut overview about how to achieve certain things – what would likely be thought of as a website.
- Two: a more personal approach – ‘in my experience’ etc, likely called a blog.
If there’s a wrong, it’s Two.
‘I’ve seen it said in numerous places that the problem with Two is sense of humours are subjective.’
Which is true and relevant, but not the main reason One has so much power. Take the above ‘quoted’ sentence and change its style to the other category:
‘Two is widely accepted as being at a disadvantage due to sense of humours being subjective.’
One is authoritative. Two just a matter of mere opinion – and a common one about those is what they’re all like.
A change in wording is all it takes.
Given I also get to choose the site’s domain name and what it looks like, there’s nothing to stop me changing ‘I think the best is’ to just ‘the best is’ and re-branding the whole thing ‘self-publishing central .com’.
There’s also the ‘We‘ option. Personality can be hard to avoid given it is people doing the writing.
‘We concluded the best is’ has warmth, camaraderie; the sense there’s a whole group of great people all putting their heads together to come to the best conclusion for you.
There, of course, could be a great bunch of people behind the Fellowship of Self-publishers. But that doesn’t change how easy it is to create the illusion; it actually makes it easier.
True or false? If this appeared to be written and presented by an independent self-publishing think-tank it would literally be impossible for the reader not to give it more credibility than they currently are.
- Next: The Trouble with Twitter if the unscrupulous aren’t obvious, how to spot them?
Previously in this series:
Poetry relating to the writing/self-publishing:
- How to Give Good Blog
- Murder on the Orient Express
- The Anti-Net
- Buck Rogers and the Invasion of the Twitter Bots
Thanks for reading 🙂
N. P. Ryan.