Why Do Great Books Get Ignored?

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Lolo Skyooz
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Why Do Great Books Get Ignored?

Post by Lolo Skyooz » 20 May 2018, 21:12

I listen to lots of podcasts by authors who talk openly about their experiences with trying to sell their work and watching friends do the same, and while it seems there are many things that these, and other authors do to make sure people know what they're working with and that their books are available, still so many wonderful books just never get "discovered" by the mainstream. They say luck has an awful lot to do with it--luck and timing. But when I see a novel like Christopher Moore's Bloodsucking Fiends--a fantastic vampire book that's part of a series--get relatively ignored since it came out in the 90s, and even during the "vampire craze" of a few years ago, I have to wonder just how significant a role luck actually plays in the marketing and promotion process. Books just like this one, but less well-written, less funny, less everything, have sold like hotcakes, but still it seems like Moore's series never got the attention it logically should have. What are your experiences with luck in selling your books? Have you done literally everything you can to sell a work only to see it sit there for years? :eusa-think:

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Post by teacherjh » 20 May 2018, 23:05


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Post by love_b00ks » 25 May 2018, 21:05

I haven't started selling books yet but I am planning to. I got some great tips from Smarshwords and I am planning to apply them when I begin making my book. Maybe authors just jump into publishing without really understanding the whole process and are not able to identify their niche yet that is why some great books just get ignored.

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Post by Jennifer Fernandez » 12 Aug 2018, 16:06

I've always wondered the same thing. I think it has to do with luck. I've heard of authors who don't get recognized until very late in their careers. Look at the Game of Thrones series. It wasn't until 15 years later that it became really famous. Then you have authors like J.K. Rowling who had fame almost from the start. Maybe it has to do with marketing? I don't know much about that area.
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Post by Harley-Panda » 13 Aug 2018, 05:26

I definitely think luck has something to do with it, but also timing.

I had been playing with the idea of a dystopian young adult novel years ago, but since books such as The Hunger Games this genre has just boomed and so many writers have released books with this theme. So either a new book of this genre may sell, because many people are reading these sorts of books currently, or it could go unread because there's so much competition now. It's a bit potluck about which way it can go.

Marketing could also come into play with it. But I feel like making something different from the norm may help a writer to get noticed more. It's almost as though you have to predict what the next big craze could be and jump on the bandwagon before too many other writers do!
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Post by LisaGreen » 14 Aug 2018, 12:17

Sometimes it took time to understand things that was in the article or book. Or it must be because things that got includes in the books will be in hard language which is not easy to understand.

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Post by DATo » 15 Aug 2018, 04:20

Case in point:

John Kennedy Toole wrote A Confederacy Of Dunces when he was a very young man. He wrote it before, during and after he was in the Air Force. When he attempted to publish it he only got refusals. After his death his mother took the manuscript to Walter Percy personally, threw it on his desk, and demanded that he read it. Percy said that he knew it would probably be no good but he knew no other way of getting rid of the mother so he started to read knowing that after a few pages he could honestly tell her that it was crap and wouldn't sell. As he began to read he found himself appreciating what was before him. After a few pages he was hooked and couldn't stop reading it. Not only did he publish it but he personally edited it. A Confederacy Of Dunces went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. If you get the book you can read the entire encounter with the mother as told by Percy himself in a forward to the book.

Sadly, John Kennedy Toole committed suicide before this encounter took place, perhaps in part because of his book's rejection, and he never knew how famous this masterpiece was to become. Personally, I consider it one of the funniest and best "reads" of my life.

This sort of thing happens every day. Write a story about a dystopian society with a female heroine today and the publishers will be knocking down your doors to get to it ... write War And Peace or East Of Eden and they won't even talk to you .... it's all about what will sell and how much money they can make.
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Post by Dave » 07 Sep 2018, 18:22

Some of it must be luck, or bad luck. Timing, I guess. A wonderful case in point is The Black Flower by Howard Bahr, and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Both were published in 1997. Cold Mountain was the go-to novel for anyone wanting to read Civil War or historical fiction. I remember the hoopla surrounding it and all the talk/publicity it got. I personally didn't care for it that much. It was just okay, sort of clichéd in my opinion.
The Black Flower won quite a few accolades from reviewers, but I guarantee the public at large never heard of the book. Cold Mountain just sucked all the oxygen out of the room for that sort of fiction. Black Flower was very compelling, with great writing and great characters.

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Post by RGraf » 21 Sep 2018, 15:19

I've asked the same thing. I think a big part of it is few people with clout chance new authors. They go with the bestsellers. Not many try to read the newer authors and help promote them. I try to do that, but I don't have the million of followers people like Oprah has. Think of what would happen of Oprah branched out to include new or self-published authors. It could change the entire publishing industry.

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Post by JordanKSmith » 24 Dec 2018, 11:31

I think that there is an element of chance. However, the odds can be changed by making smart and persistent moves. You can keep changing the odds until your goal is nearly a sure thing.

Someone that puts a hundred hours per week into an adapting and concerted effort will be much more likely to achieve goals over the masses that put 20 hours into a half-hearted effort with a YouTube page opened up on the side.
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Post by Victor Mrigo » 25 Dec 2018, 05:26

I think its because of repeating topics. Many great writers fail to promote new ideas instead they repeat what has been written by several writers(story scripts). This leads to decline in number of readers instead prefer watching movies

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Post by Louanne Piccolo » 26 Dec 2018, 04:21

I'm not sure if it's luck or just someone important in the book business picking it up and running with it. There's a lot to be said for advertising and media attention. Look at "Fifty Shades of Grey". Everyone has their opinion but, frankly, I tried it to see what all the fuss was about and couldn't get past the first 20 pages. Absolute waste of time for me, but look at thy hype! People loved it and millions of people can't be wrong - maybe it's just what the masses wanted at that particular time or what the media convinced them they wanted.
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Post by lisalynn » 14 Apr 2019, 08:47

Luck has a tremendous influence on success. So does guts. Bill Gates wasn't the only person to envision and produce computer software, but he was the lucky one to get it out there at the right time. As for the 50 books mentioned above, once you get the sheep mentality going in the masses, quality doesn't matter.

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Post by lucia_kizas » 19 Apr 2019, 03:03

I think it has a lot to do with the way authors market their books, especially, if they self-publish. Youtube has lots of channels created by authors where they give writing tips, share their opinions, etc. and in between it all, they mention their own books :) unfortunately, one can write a masterpiece, and due to lack of self-confidence, keep quiet about it, and with numerous new books, it may never be discovered.

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Post by Eclecticmama » 19 Apr 2019, 14:52

lucia_kizas wrote:
19 Apr 2019, 03:03
I think it has a lot to do with the way authors market their books, especially, if they self-publish. Youtube has lots of channels created by authors where they give writing tips, share their opinions, etc. and in between it all, they mention their own books :) unfortunately, one can write a masterpiece, and due to lack of self-confidence, keep quiet about it, and with numerous new books, it may never be discovered.
I agree. Websites like this one, and Pinterest as well, really help spread the word about books I would never even know to exist. I think the readers can help their favorite authors by posting on social media too. It doesn't matter if you only have two followers. That is two more people that will see the book, and if they are interested, they might even read it themselves.

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