Authors: Have you sold 100 book yet?

Before posting in this marketing forum, please try to read 10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book: Online Book Marketing on Any Budget. This forum is mainly for followup questions and discussion after reading that book. This forum does indeed allow for much broader discussion of marketing and promotion than just that book, but it's good for everyone to be on the same page about the basics.

Please note, this forum is not for self-promotional plugs. It's for discussing how to promote your book or other writing.

Have you sold 100 books yet?

Yes!
36
46%
No, but I haven't completed the 10 Step Plan yet.
41
53%
No, and I read the plan and completed all the steps. (Please contact Scott!)
1
1%
 
Total votes: 78

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Billy Pro
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Re: Authors: Have you sold 100 book yet?

Post by Billy Pro » 05 Apr 2017, 07:39

No, but I bought 100 books already :)

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Welkin
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Post by Welkin » 05 May 2017, 12:07

no, still planning on how to write a book

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Lela Markham
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Post by Lela Markham » 06 May 2017, 01:57

I was at 90 in January, so I'm pretty close.

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J Conrad Guest
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Post by J Conrad Guest » 07 May 2017, 09:08

"Most authors don't sell 50 books. Yet, I have guaranteed that any author who follows the 10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book will sell at least 100 copies."

I read, well, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, that most self-published authors sell, on average, 150 copies of their books, most to family and friends. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that number is now 50, what with nearly a half-million new titles hitting the market every year, again, most by self-published writers—poorly written, just as poorly edited (if at all), and a poorly designed cover.

So to guarantee sales of at least 100 copies is not, in my mind, an impressive accomplishment, nor would I label it a measure of success.

There are a host of "chapbooks" available that guarantee success in publishing, but I wonder how many of them actually succeed at doing more than putting money into the pockets of those whose only intent is to entice other writers to purchase their product.

I don't believe success in publishing can be predicated on a 10- or 20- or 50-step formula that guarantees success. Success isn't about talent—there are hundreds of gifted writers who are struggling to find an audience.

Success is in large part, perhaps the largest part, luck. How else can you explain the "shady" success of the author of the best selling novel of all time, of whom the New York Times wrote (paraphrasing), "It's apparent that English isn't her first language. Nor is it her second."

Success today is mostly being in the right place at the right time with the right product, written in a formula (and not necessarily written well) using all the bells and whistles that inevitably lead some agent or publisher to envision it as next summer's Hollywood blockbuster movie.

Like others, I'm struggling to find my audience at a time when the novel is dying. Case in point: last holiday season I watched a cable news network's roaming reporter asking people on the street what they were buying for their children. One woman listed off a variety of technological gadgets, and when the reporter suggested, "How about a book?" she looked at him sideways and replied, "You're kidding, right?"

In 2013 I read that 60% of Americans admitted to not reading a novel the previous year, while 40% of college grads said they never crack another book after graduation. Combine those numbers, which then were expected only to grow, with nearly a half-million new books being published every year, and you have a perfect example of increasing supply and decreasing demand.

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Post by Scott » 08 May 2017, 15:59

J Conrad Guest wrote:Success is in large part, perhaps the largest part, luck.
@"J Conrad Guest" I disagree extremely with the idea that success is a matter of luck. This isn't just in book publishing, but in most big goals.

That is something I go over in depth in my book, Achieve Your Dreams.

Someone who works exceptionally hard is extremely more like to succeed at something, whether there goal is to be a millionaire, or their goal is to sell 10,000 copies of a book, or their goal is to be a successful movie actor. A lazy person has almost guaranteed failure. Very few people give 100% to a dream, but those who choose not to work hard can't except to compete with those who give it 100%.

With all that said, thank you for comment!

Thank you,
Scott
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by J Conrad Guest » 08 May 2017, 17:02

Well, of course hard work is required in any worthwhile endeavor, Scott.

My point is, I'm not a publicist, nor do I really want to be one. I'd rather write than promote my work. Writing is what I'm good at. I've corresponded with self-published authors who claim they spend more hours promoting than writing. To me that's just wrong. Maybe in the long-term they'll be better off and be able to tip that scale in the other direction. Maybe not. Given the numbers I quoted in my previous comments I believe, and you'd be hard-pressed to convince me otherwise, that beating one's head against a wall and expecting a different outcome is the very definition of insanity. Hence, yes, luck plays a huge part in publishing success.

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Post by Scott » 09 May 2017, 14:36

@"J Conrad Guest"

The problem for a self-published author is they are doing two jobs. They are doing the job of being an author and they doing the job of running their own small publishing and/or publicity company. Both jobs if done right are a lot of work in themselves. And someone who is very committed to either job could do that one job successfully without doing the other at all, and make a living on that one job. A writer who isn't prepared to, who isn't able to, or who doesn't want to put in the huge amount of work that goes into properly publishing and advertising a book (which is totally fine) would be wise to get a publishing deal with a legitimate publishing company. I've previously written short guides for that too (i.e. getting traditionally published).

I don't think it's mostly luck. It's just a ton of work and requires huge investment. Time is money, so "investment" doesn't necessarily mean spending out of pocket. I go over that concept in the 10 Step Plan too.

Thank you,
Scott
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"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by J Conrad Guest » 09 May 2017, 17:30

Well, I fall into the category of “not being able to put in “the huge amount of work that goes into properly publishing and advertising.” I have a day job, and a home and wife to care for. As I wrote previously, I’d rather write in what little spare time I have than promote and advertise. That doesn’t mean I’m lazy or unwilling. It’s just not a sacrifice I’m willing make—time away from my wife, taking care of my home, quitting my day job, the time I spend blogging, writing memoirs, a novel.

You’ve heard the expression, “Work smarter not harder?” I’ve worked hard to promote my work. After twenty years I thought I’d be much farther along than I am.

I’ve also spent money for advertising. Paid for a review from a NYTs bestselling author (which left a bad taste in my mouth). I get pitches nearly weekly from organizations who make similar claims to yours: guarantees to increase my exposure. Clicks and exposure to 170,000 potential buyers. What good are clicks and exposure to even a billion potential buyers if they don’t become buyers? Cost to me? Anywhere from a hundred bucks to several thousand dollars.

I’ve already sunk several hundred hours into writing my first draft, a few hundred more revising, editing, and preparing the best manuscript I can produce. I don’t get paid for that. I do it because I enjoy the creative process. Doesn’t mean I don’t hope to make a name for myself in a very competitive industry. Publicists, these organizations that pitch me, none of them work on a percentage, like an agent. Noooo, they want their money upfront. With no guarantee of results. Everyone makes money but me.

A young man pitched me the idea of writing a screenplay for me of one my novels. I never bothered to ask him for a quote, but discussion broke off when I suggested I pay him a percentage if and when I/he sold it to a Hollywood producer.

So I don’t get paid for writing a novel, and they expect me to shell out several thousand dollars with no guarantee of success so I may or may not break even on my “investment” let alone make a profit on the many hours I put in writing the novel.

I had a publisher. Three actually. Small independent presses who did absolutely nothing for me but design a cover and list me on Amazon and their own website. One told me, after several years, he was no publicist and didn’t want to be one. I replied to him, “Well, what do I need you for then?” I figured for all the work I was doing and the little effort he was putting in, I might as well self-publish and keep all the royalty. Last year I made more money on my books than I did with him as my publisher.

Getting an agent is problematic. I have a file of some very nice rejection letters. Agents love my work. They tell me I have talent, am gifted, etc. Unfortunately none of them believe there is a large market for what I write. Translation: what I wrote in my first post—agents (the reputable ones with records of success and a client list) rarely take on new work unless they think it will be an easy sale with a big return. The new agents may be hungrier, but they have few contacts in the industry.

I’ve nothing against hard work, really, I don’t. I’ve worked hard all my life. It hasn’t always paid off. Four of my last five day jobs have been eliminated from under me due to reorganizations or down-sizing/right-sizing, off-shoring, whatever you want to call it. Employers are no longer loyal to employees but expect their employees to be loyal to them.

The truth is hard work is no guarantee of success. Does it help? Sure. It may even increase your chances of success, but it’s no guarantee, and it certainly is not a formula, an equation that if one puts in x number of hours each week toward this and y number of hours doing that, and spends z number of dollars on promotional activity, and buy this chapbook and that one, and yours, you WILL become a NYTs bestselling novelist.

You think E.L.J. worked hard on her Shades series, or would you agree she largely lucked into her success the result of being at the right place at the right time with the right manuscript even if it was horribly written/edited (even those who loved her book and left glowing reviews on Amazon admitted she is a hack)?

Bottom line: Quality means nothing, quantity doesn’t help either—I was advised to keep writing. After nine novels and a novella, I find it difficult to keep going.

There are dozens if not hundreds of chapbooks available to help me increase my chances of success: ten steps, twelve, fifteen. It would be a full-time job to read them all, and most of them aren’t worth a dime let alone a free download and the time I’d have to spend to read them only to find out they’re worthless.

Sorry, but I still hold to my original statement that luck plays the largest part in success in the publishing industry.

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Post by Scott » 14 May 2017, 17:07

J Conrad Guest wrote:Well, I fall into the category of “not being able to put in “the huge amount of work that goes into properly publishing and advertising.” I have a day job, and a home and wife to care for. As I wrote previously, I’d rather write in what little spare time I have than promote and advertise. That doesn’t mean I’m lazy or unwilling. It’s just not a sacrifice I’m willing make—time away from my wife, taking care of my home, quitting my day job, the time I spend blogging, writing memoirs, a novel.
@"J Conrad Guest" That's totally fine and totally understandable. We each choose what's important to us. I talk about how every choice is a sacrifice in my book Achieve Your Dreams.

I'm not saying you should put a ton of work into selling a ton of books. I'm saying that those who do put an insane amount of work into it are far more likely to succeed than those who have different priorities. It's not mostly luck.
The truth is hard work is no guarantee of success. Does it help? Sure. It may even increase your chances of success, but it’s no guarantee,
It's not a 100% guarantee, but it's a bigger predictor than mere luck.

Some people do win the lottery. And some people are equally unlucky. Exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky people are by definition the statistical exception.

Despite those few exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky people, overall hard work is the main factor. People can't choose to have exceptional luck. People can choose to work exceptionally hard.

Luck seems to play a bigger role the less one is willing to work and invest in a particular goal. Someone who tries to become a millionaire by buying lottery tickets will feel that luck is playing the biggest role. For them, in a sense it's true luck is the bigger role for them just as it's true they probably won't get lucky.

The same holds at all points on the spectrum. Most people aren't exceptionally lazy or exceptionally hard-working and aren't exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky. For them, too, they mostly won't hit it big unless they are lucky. They aren't lazy. But it's just that competitive. One can't work only roughly as hard as the millions of people or products with which they are competing--even if that is pretty hard--and then say that it's just luck no matter how hard one works. There's many in those millions who are putting in that exceptional--maybe insane--amount of work to achieve exceptional results.

The fact that many people choose to leave it to luck doesn't mean that overall it is based on luck. Of those who work exceptionally hard and are exceptionally dedicated, only the exceptionally unlucky don't succeed.

One might say it's just too much for a person to put that kind of work and sacrifice in to sell 10,000 copies of their book. That's why I wrote a book with a guarantee to sell 100 copies, not a million. My 10 Step Plan doesn't suggest someone works harder than you have already worked. You've sold 100 copies; we agree it's an achievable goal that doesn't require an unreasonable amount of work.

I can easily write a book that guarantees one sells 1,000 copies. But the bigger the goal, the more work and sacrifice it requires to make luck play an extremely low role, and thus the less people are willing to make that sacrifice.
You think E.L.J. worked hard on her Shades series
I don't know about that one case, but if not her than I'm sure there are lucky people out there. I'm not saying that some people don't win the lottery. If we only look at people who don't work exceptionally hard, then among them luck will probably be the primary decider.

But, no, luck is not as important overall. Exceptionally hard work and dedication is much more important than luck.

Does that mean that people who don't work exceptionally hard at specific goal like selling a lot books or becoming a millionaire are failures or doing something "bad" or "wrong". No, of course not. They might be choosing to invest their time and money in something else.

Thank you,
Scott
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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